There’s a feeling you get when you first walk into a place that’s all important. It’s evident from the outset, the vibe that can make or break the experience. You experience feelings on a continuum from tense and overwhelmed to relaxed and at ease.
Walking into SOMM, short for ‘sommelier’ (because it’s a sommelier-like experience that you will get), there’s an ordered ambient tranquillity that quietly whispers ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ The voice isn’t drowned in a cacophony of visual stimuli. On open-faced shelving that can be viewed in one sweep of the room, Somm’s display is peaceful and sedate; boutique marketing at its best.
In fact, there are many reasons why this Nobby Beach wine store works including the reason it’s there in the first place.
“I always wanted to work for myself,” says Joe Caruso, who owns the shop with his wife Natalie. So, after more than twenty years in the wine and hospitality industries and years of planning, Joe and Natalie took the leap into small business in June 2021.
“Wine is a passion and part of our Italian cultural heritage,” he tells me. With the shop open seven days a week, Joe says “It is not just a job for me. I love coming to work.”
Joe’s gentle but enthusiastic passion shows through in both his client relationships and his wine store. The collection is carefully curated, handpicked to include local Queensland wines especially from small producers with a focus on sustainable, organic, biodynamic and minimal intervention wines.
The range includes hard to procure wine, some from limited vintages, new releases, including some by sought after wineries such as By Farr and Mt Mary.
Yet, there’s value at every price point, including some $12 bottles. There’s a wine for every occasion and a reason why each bottle is there.
Where the first part of the ‘sommelier’ experience is knowing about and choosing the wines, the second part is the recommendation, or fitting the wine to suit the customer’s need.
To Joe, it’s important to taste every wine before it goes on the shelf.
“I like to establish relationships with customers and give personal tailored service,” Joe says. “Whether it be pairing a wine to a dish or choosing a gift, I can help you achieve the best match for your purpose.”
“A customer recently told me, ‘Every time we come in here, we learn something new’,” Joe tells me. “There’s a lot of learning through incidental conversation around the choice of a wine. It doesn’t matter how much the customer knows, we can tailor the conversation and service to them.
We run free tastings on Saturdays from 2pm – 4pm and we will also start classes in 2022, from beginners to wine masterclasses,” he tells me.
Personally, Somm is a great place for me to choose wine. I make better choices when my senses are uncluttered and I’m unhurried in my decision-making. A guiding hand and some expert knowledge also make the decisions so much easier.
From wine accessories such as glassware and decanters to gift hampers, many extras have their place beside the bottles.
Yet nothing detracts from the wine itself, some bottles lit by halos of light in their own display.
Some of the best wines in the world are here, yet in a way every bottle has been chosen. Best of all is that special bottle that you choose to share and enjoy.
That’s Somm Wine Store!
Somm Wine Store, 2245 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
Ph: 07 5647 6057 Open: Sun – Tues 10am – 7pm, Wed – Sat 10am – 9pm
NOTE: Photos by Brooke Darling Photography.