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At just twenty-one—the age when most people are just starting to drink—Victoria James became the country’s youngest sommelier at a Michelin-starred restaurant. James reflects on her tumultuous rise through the world of wine, drawing from her book Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier. She offers us an exhilarating and inspiring memoir—from the highs of selling bottles worth hundreds and thousands of dollars, passing sommelier certification exams with flying colors, and receiving distinction from all kinds of press, to the lows of groping patrons, bosses who abused their role and status, and a trip to the emergency room. James shares her powerful, personal, and deeply moving story of breaking free from an abusive and traumatic childhood on her own terms, and offers us an ethnography of the glittering, high-octane, and notoriously corrosive restaurant industry. Join James for a love letter to the restorative and life-changing effects of good wine and good hospitality.
Victoria James has worked in restaurants since she was thirteen. She was certified as a sommelier when she was twenty-one, making her the youngest sommelier in the country. She is the Beverage Director and partner at Cote, a Michelin-starred hotspot in the Flatiron district in New York. She is the author of Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé, which Harper Design published in 2017.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.