Recently, Kendra Anderson, aka @SwirlGirlDenver, was the subject of some intriguing news released to the Front Range oenophile community. The woman with ‘Denver’ as part of her personal brand is bringing her sommelier skills to Boulder as the new Wine Director for Pasta Vino.
Over the last few years, Kendra has built an immense amount of career capital, beginning with culinary school, followed by earning her Advanced Sommelier Certification, to wine distribution and running an event business, then eventually writing a weekly wine column for Westword reaching thousands of readers.
With this wealth of experience, Kendra’s asking people to fundamentally change their relationship with wine. “People are simultaneously ignorant and highly opinionated about wine,” says Kendra. “There’s an inappropriate level of fear and intimidation about wine. There’s nothing in wine that’s not referencable by the most basic palate.”
As a long time fan of Kendra, this Boulder writer was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and learn about what motivated her to make the transition to our little foodie community.
In the Westword article, you referenced the Boulder Burgundy Wine Festival and mentioned that Boulder seemed like a more ‘tight knit’ wine community than Denver. Tell me more about what you observed:
I was concerned about how that statement might come off. In Denver, the wine community is strong, but siloed. It wasn’t community based. I wasn’t seeing or hearing wine people conversing on twitter. I believe there’s an audience for wine, but it’s all about an individual’s relationship with a specific restaurant or sommelier, not about an overall community. It’s certainly not like the Denver beer community, which is very strong.
In Boulder, I’m amazed at who turns up for events, pouring together on their day off… they’re supportive and championing each other. It’s not competitive, and I wanted to be a part of it. I’ve tangentially known Bobby (Stuckey) and Richard (Betts) as patrons of their businesses, and this opportunity at Pasta Vino will provide the ability to participate more in the wine community.
At the end of the day, I’m a fan of food and wine. People are serious about it here. I’m excited to continue to bring awareness of wine in the dining experience.
I’m thrilled to hear about the wine education program that you’ll be putting into place at Pasta Vino. What are your goals for the program?
My priorities are two-fold.
#1: Evaluate the wine list, looking at how best to showcase the wines that they have relative to the foods that they have. Fabio (owner) wants the emphasis to be on both food and wine at Pasta Vino. I’ll be considering whether we have the right wines, at the right prices wines and approachability.
#2: Ensure that the staff understands that and knows with confidence how to help guests have ‘that’ food and wine experience. We’re undertaking intensive wine training including regions, winemakers, and service to pairing. We will change the experience in the restaurant.
It may take a little time to get people used to the idea of working with a sommelier at Pasta Vino. For people that are unfamiliar, there can still be an intimidation factor. But it’s like taking out an insurance policy – your chances are greater of having a better experience.
If you look to a year in the future, what will you have accomplished in Pasta Vino and in the Boulder community that will have made your year a success?
Success at Pasta Vino will come in three parts:
Guest experience. We will have created a following amongst community members and certainty that they can come into Pasta Vino and have a fantastic, value oriented food and wine experience.
Facilitate the Development of the Staff: All staff will have knowledge, appreciation and passion for wine.
Optimize performance of the wine program. The wine program will be profitable, logical and appropriate for the restaurant.
To celebrate Kendra’s new position at Pasta Vino, we’ve put together an event to give Boulder foodies and fans of Kendra an opportunity to experience her sommelier skills first hand.
PastaVino & Denver Off The Wagon Wine Pairing Event
Saturday, February 9, 2013
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Experience the magic of regional Italian food and wine pairing at this casual and interactive Denver Off The Wagon tasting event hosted by PastaVino sommelier Kendra Anderson, author of Denver Westword’s “SwirlGirl” wine column.
You’ll enjoy three seasonal, organic small plates from the northeastern Italian region of Veneto, home to a stunningly diverse and delicious cuisine. Each snack will be expertly paired with a regional wine for an epiphany of flavors that will change the way you think about Italian food and wine.
$29/pp all inclusive, space is limited.
Perfect for the novice and aficionado alike – call (303) 955-8791 or sign up on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/