Sommelier ready to talk wine, sake during Taste of the New South


Wine is her first love, but sake isn’t far behind.

Sara Guterbock, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, will share her knowledge of both beverages during Taste of the New South.

She’ll join Chef Dan Lewis, oyster educator and owner of Coastal Provisions, to present Wine & Brine, Oysters and Wine 101 on Saturday, Sept. 5. Guterbock said Lewis will share his extensive knowledge of oysters, including information about why they are a green food source and which types to eat raw versus baked.

Lewis will prepare five different oysters on the half shell for the audience to enjoy with a wine selection.

“We’ll discuss the science behind oyster and wine pairings – what makes it work, what makes it more difficult,” Guterbock said.

Guterbock said the two have selected a good variety of wines.

“Most people feel you’ve got to go with very classical pairings with oysters,” she said. “We’re going to do a couple of those, but we’ll also pair a raw oyster with red wine. I think it’s going to be pretty fascinating for people.”

On Sunday, Guterbock will lead A Somm on Sake, Sake 101.

She was one of the first in a small group of people in the United States to become an International Sake Sommelier. Growing up, Guterbock’s family placed emphasis on learning and experiencing the Japanese language and culture. Those values were further cemented when she lived in Tokyo for a year.

After Guterbock was named Mutual Distributing’s Japanese Portfolio Manager, she began to learn more about sake and completed studies at the Sake School of America.

During her session, Guterbock will discuss what sake is and how it’s made, the decisions brewmasters make to influence the final flavors and the vocabulary associated with sake.

“I’m also going to focus on dispelling some myths about sake,” she said. “One of the biggest myths is that all sakes taste the same, but there are really dynamic, different styles.”

Participants will get a chance to taste eight sakes during the session.

“Even if you’ve never tasted sake before I feel pretty confident that you will find something that you really like,” Guterbock said. “People don’t have to feel intimidated; I’m going to make it fun and interesting.”