Jon Yeager is a Sommelier and Comedian in the Washington DC area. We recently chatted with him about his experiences as both a Sommelier and Comedian.
CV: What made you want to become a Sommelier?
Jon: “I’d always liked wine from an early age (that sounds wrong) and was at a crossroads in careers and I had been drinking (that sounds wrong). I also once incorrectly told my father (a German) that wine stolen by a classmate’s older brother was a Red Riesling. Basically I’ve been trying to make amends since.”
CV: How did you study?
Jon: “I worked wine retail where I could be surrounded by wines to try. I was in a tasting group and was lucky enough to be around a few somms who could guide me in terms of study. Flash cards, blind tasting, service practice, lather, rinse, repeat. I highly recommend ‘Windows on the World,’ ‘The Wine Bible,’ ‘World Atlas of Wine,’ and now Sommelier Prep packages on Amazon.”
CV: How hard was the test?
Jon: “It’s extremely difficult. I’ll be honest. I did not think I had passed the theory portion when I took the exam. There is so much information that you are responsible for knowing and with your mind racing to access the right answers, it makes for the most anxious I’ve been during a test. You definitely second and third guess yourself on deduction and your first instinct is usually the right one.”
CV: Any interesting or funny stories from that experience?
Jon: “After the blind tasting exam, a bunch of hopefuls were outside congregating (you aren’t allowed re-entry for test security reasons). We all were saying what we thought the wines were and we had mostly the same answers. One gentleman, who had spilled champagne badly during the service portion, asked about the last red. ‘It’s gotta be Mountain Rhône Franzia,’ I replied. ‘Ah, Franzia, I knew it,’ he said--except he was serious. He did not pass then, but he did wind up working at one of my favorite wine bars in DC. He’s now one level above me."
CV: What’s your favorite wine/wine region?
Jon: “That’s like picking a favorite child. My mom would say my sister.
Domestically, Carneros (southern end of Napa/Sonoma). I love the spice hits of both Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, the richness of fruit and a little oomph from the ABV (alcohol by volume). They are not as hedonistic as Napa, but more approachable by themselves or accentuating food.
Internationally, the Languedoc-Rousillon/Pays d’ Oc region of France. You can find incredible values and really vibrant reds, whites, and Rosès here.
If I have to pick one red overall, it would be Syrah. If I had to pick one white, it would be Burgundy (Chardonnay). Affordability wise, Chenin Blanc is always a good go-to.”
CV: What wine question do you get asked most often and what is your answer?
Jon: “What’s your favorite wine? The one that matches mood and food perfectly for that moment. Plus all above questions. Maybe I’ll print this out and read from it next time.”
CV: How did you get in to comedy?
Jon: “I always was the class clown and I enjoyed making others happy.”
CV: How do you combine wine and comedy?
Jon: “Make sure you’re not drinking as you speak. I think alcohol and comedy have always been a pairing, whether you remember what you laughed at or not. I’d like to do a show again combining stand up acts and tastings.”
CV: Any recommendations for someone who wants to become a Sommelier or Comedian?
Jon: “Don’t do it. You’re young. See the world. Without jest, I’d say to immerse yourself and take copious notes, be around others that share the same delusion and passion as you. Also, make sure you move the mic stand and use a corkscrew correctly.”
If you are interested in meeting Jon, he will be at City Vino from 12-4pm on Saturday, June 23. Also, check out his upcoming performances at https://www.facebook.com/24102783