Wine has a bit of a nose-in-the-air reputation. The glass swirling. The smelling. The “How am I supposed to order this if I don’t know how to pronounce it?” fear that so often pairs along with it.
Thankfully, though, Charleston has Cappie Peete Chapman on its side. And while we should absolutely feel more intimated by her than the pronunciation of that rosé we have our eye on (she’s the youngest Advanced Sommelier in the city of Charleston, after all), Cappie’s approach to the world of wine is fearless and approachable, just like her.
“Wine has a bad reputation, but it doesn’t need to be that way,” Cappie admits.
The University of South Carolina grad has always loved details and thought catering and events would be her career path. But after a wine course in Northern California, Cappie soon found herself knocking on McCrady’s door, ready to soak up as much knowledge as possible.
Her advice for those of us looking to follow their dreams? “Just ask!” she laughs. “Be willing to do the nitty gritty because that’s how you learn,” Cappie explains. “Even just counting wine at inventory, you learn the labels. Be willing to do every job. It’s all learning.”
As the Director of Beverage and Education for Neighborhood Dining Group, it appears the days of job shadowing and label counting have paid off. Currently, Cappie wears many hats ranging from educating staff on ever-evolving beverage lists to continuing her own education with the new wines that hit the market each day. Also in the works? Cappie is working toward becoming a Master Sommelier when the next exam rolls around in 2017.
As for advice for us restaurant goers, Cappie wants to nudge diners and drinkers to use the same “just ask” attitude she did when she first knocked on McCrady’s door. “It doesn’t matter what wine you enjoy, it’s just knowing what it is,” she says. “A Som is one of the best resources in restaurant if you just ask for their help.”
Words by Evans Craddock
Photo by Leslie McKellar