Our terrific group keeps growing with fantastic people and members… That trend continues with our newest member, Catherine Fallis of Planet Grape and also known as grape goddess. She brings her wonderful talent, experience, and knowledge to Summertime in a Glass as our newest member and Resident Master Sommelier. She will be contributing wine reviews, Sauvignon Blanc Regional Tasting Profiles, helping with events, and much more! Learn more about Catherine…
Catherine Fallis, a.k.a grape goddess, Planet Grape
A successful wine and service professional, Catherine Fallis, a.k.a. grape goddess® is an approachable and entertaining wine expert who brings wine down to earth.
While studying Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Catherine Fallis set out to explore the service industry in Europe. She studied elaborate European hotels and was inspired by every detail of what made them exceptional. It was during these travels when she first experienced wine not as an elite beverage but as something interesting and accessible, and has maintained this approach to wine ever since.
Fallis returned to Cornell determined to learn as much as possible and to secure her spot at the top of the service field. Catherine became Chef’s Apprentice at Chef Alain Sailhac’s famed Le Cirque Restaurant and after graduation took a position with Leona Helmsley at the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City, where she managed the award-winning restaurant Villard House. Catherine still knew she could accomplish more and began brainstorming different specialties she could implement into her service repertoire. She came across an article about Kevin Zraly and his wine school Windows on the World and was inspired to focus on wine. Kevin became an important mentor to Catherine, instructing her to take certain wine courses and keeping a close eye on her progress. After much persistence, he confirmed she was ready and named her Wine School Coordinator and Cellar Master. Catherine’s experience as a banquet waiter, server and bartender all contributed to her ability to learn quickly and helped her excel at the job. When she was first introduced to the Master Sommelier program after meeting Fred Dame, she took an immediate interest.
Catherine moved to Hawaii and joined a tasting group to continue her wine education. She met Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, who encouraged her to join the local tasting group. Although she was working as a sommelier at a beachfront restaurant, a wine director at a wholesale beverage group, and part-time in a wine shop, she decided to continue pushing herself to be the best of the best in her field. She began pursuing the exclusive Court of Master Sommelier designation with passion. Her journey took her to California, where she worked as Los Angeles area manager for Seagram Classics, wine buyer at Beltramo’s Wines & Spirits where she perfected her tasting skills, and later served as sommelier and wine director at Michael Mina’s renowned restaurant Aqua in San Francisco.
Catherine passed the Masters exam in 1997 and became the fifth woman in the world to earn the title of Master Sommelier. At the same time, she joined the Master of Wine program and is now a second year Master of Wine candidate. She earned the title of Advanced Certified Wine Professional (ACWP) from the Culinary Institute of America in 2009 and is the only person in the world to be both a Master Sommelier and an ACWP. In 2011 she became a French Wine Scholar and in 2012 a California Wine Appellation Specialist, and joined the adjunct faculty at the San Francisco Wine School.
Catherine is the Master Sommelier at Planet Grape® LLC – www.planetgrape.com, a wine consulting firm providing education, entertainment, content, and sommelier services. Catherine created her alter-ego, grape goddess®, to help bring wine down to earth for consumers as well as those entering the wine industry. She is the only person in the world to hold both the Master Sommelier and Advanced Certified Wine Professional credentials, and is the world’s only Master Sabreuse, opening Champagne with a sword in a dazzling theatrical performance – www.saberingchampagne.com. She is Tasting Panel Lead at Swanky Wine Shop – www.swankywineshop.com and resident Master Sommelier at Summertime in a Glass – www.summertimeinaglass.org.
Fallis is the author of the grape goddess® guides to good living series, including Wine, and Champagne & Sparkling Wine, co-creator of the Portable Wine Tour card set, Contributing Author for Opus Vino and 1000 Great Wines for Everyday, Contributing Editor for Sommelier Journal, CNBC’s Wine Portfolio, Basil Magazine, Examiner.com and Nation’s Restaurant News, and blogger at grapegoddess-mastersommelier.blogspot.com.
Her diverse wine background as a salesperson, sommelier, distributor, and supplier helped Catherine become the well-rounded and thorough expert she is today. She understands all facets of the wine business, and is a frequent speaker, event host, educator, and consultant for corporations, consumers and the wine trade. She is a highly sought after wine expert and spokesperson for the wine industry.
Catherine on Sauvignon Blanc –
“For me, Sauvignon Blanc is like Adam Levine of Maroon Five. His friendly, catchy tunes are enjoyed around the world, and while slightly edgy, there is a sense of polish, of finesse even. He might wear a crisp white shirt or even a suit and tie, but underneath is a wily tatted rocker. From dry, tart, and mouth puckering to rich, creamy, and toasty and even to dessert and sparkling wines, there is a Sauvignon Blanc for every taste, budget, and season. These zesty, zingy, and vibrant wines are easy to recognize, love, and enjoy.”
Tags: advisor, catherine fallis, grape goddess, master sommelier, member, resident master sommelier