Last time, I had the opportunity to introduce you to three of the more than 200 sommeliers at the Disneyland Resort. Today, there are two more cast members I would like you to meet, both Advanced Sommeliers and both servers at Napa Rose, Kristofer Stewart and Dondi Balisalisa.
In describing his job as a server and sommelier, Kris explained: “I think of my role as an ambassador to the wine world for the guests dining at Napa Rose. I am able to use my experience to help guests enjoy their wine experience.”
Dondi is thankful for the training opportunity: “I started from scratch and I compare it to starting in kindergarten – now I feel like I’m in college. Michael Jordan (Master Sommelier and former manager of Napa Rose who began the sommelier education program in 2001) organized the vast material to help us understand the exams administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. Because of that level of training, I have successfully passed my Introductory, Certified and Advanced exams.”
Kris concludes: “You won’t find anything that provides this level of training as part of your job. The education and training give me the tools I can use when serving guests. It allows me to help guests with a wine recommendation and allows me to speak with confidence and authority about the wines I offer. The training helped me learn on my own, to travel and discover. I have tried many wines that I may never have tried before, and I have learned that every bottle has a story to tell that I can share with our guests.”
Kristofer and Dondi have made the commitment to a lifetime of education, and they take pride in the opportunity to help our guests discover the joy that can be found in every glass of wine. We wish them well as they study for their Master Sommelier exams.
Next time, I’ll introduce you to the cast member who leads our wine education, Advanced Sommelier Joy Cushing of Napa Rose.