{ #WCW }: Sommelier Cristie Norman :: Wine Professional, YouTuber, & NPC Bikini Athlete!

It is no secret I love instagram! By being more social on social media, it has really started a ton of friendships.

Enter Cristie Norman.

If you’ve stalked my ‘sup it’s shannon page {aka my about which I hope you’ve done!!}, you’ll know that I am a Certified Sommelier, hence the name Champagne at Shannon’s. You can read my 2015 two-part interview on champagne here & here!

I spent the early part of my career studying wine, working in restaurants, taking tests… you get it. I no longer work in the industry but the wine world is something I have a MAJOR love & respect for – always will.

On instagram when the sliders first were introduced, I’d use them to post recipes & wine pairings! Check them out here, here, here, here  { ps should i bring these slider recipes back?! } To promote each post, I always use related hashtags – especially wine. I try really hard to engage with anyone engaging in my pictures – likes, comments, you name it. It always piques my interest whenever I see somm in the instagram handle… & Through that, I met Cristie.

I was actually sitting with Erik as I was scrolling through her profile & I even told him: I freaking LOVE this girl.

She is also a certified sommelier {& testing for her advanced!} & I really loved her fun approach to wine – she makes it relatable & fun while still appreciating the story each glass tells. I also love her insta-wine tips – they are spot on & a really cool way to use instagram as a somm – check them out here. I had to give her a follow. We instantly connected & just really vibed with each other.

As I’ve gotten to know her, she really blew me away with her professionalism, knowledge & passion.

I hope you enjoy meeting Cristie as much as I did!!

Now without further ado-

Meet sommelier, Cristie Norman!!

Introduce yourself & let’s talk your somm journey!

Hi everybody! My name is Cristie Norman, I’m a certified sommelier working in Beverly Hills and creator of the YouTube show “Adulting With Alcohol”.

I was a food runner at a steakhouse and realized that if I ever wanted to become a waiter, I needed to learn about wine. I was twenty-years old at the time, I studied for months and passed level one a couple weeks after I turned twenty-one.  I took the next level six months later and passed. I’m now working at Spago in Beverly Hills under the guidance of Phillip Dunn and Rina Bussell, studying for the next level.

What is your favourite part of being a sommelier?

My favorite part about being a somm is showing people new styles of wine that they’ve never heard of, or had a bad experience with in the past and converting them into a huge fan.

You also model part time! How do you balance both working as a sommelier, studying for your tests & modeling gigs!

I’m definitely not a model! Way too short at 5’2”! I did do an NPC bikini show, which is the lowest level of women’s bodybuilding, though.

I lost a lot of weight (about 80 pounds) in the past few years and doing one of those shows was always something I wanted to do. Working out and studying are just a part of my everyday life now.

It was difficult at first, but just like taking a shower or brushing your teeth, you just start to forget about it being a chore. It’s just something you do. {<<< love this! It was very hard for me to balance in the gym when I worked in hospitality so mad respect}

What are some of your goals?

Short term, I’d like to become an Advanced Sommelier {<<< for those unfamiliar, this is a VERY challenging test & the last one before master, which you may be familiar with from documentaries like SOMM} and finish a few more seasons of Adulting With Alcohol. The show is a combination of wine education and humor. I was always searching for dynamic wine videos, that kept me interested as a millennial, but still explained concepts thoroughly. I realized the person who could make that happen was actually me.

Favourite books?

Pride and Prejudice and Zraly’s Windows on the World, which is my favorite book for wine-beginners! {<<< this was my first wine book too when I started in 2007! That & The Wine Bible!}

What are some of your fitness / diet tips?

Never punish yourself with more exercise to justify drinking more. If I have an extra couple glasses of wine, I never go to the gym and do extra time on the treadmill the next day. {<<< love love love}

Exercise should always be something positive and something that makes you feel better, so I always encourage people to disassociate occasional indulgence and fitness.

OK & biggest Style / Beauty Secret? Spill!

Black never gets stained from wine. HA! No seriously, I always wear black to tastings cause I am ridiculously clumsy.

I also use regular mascara as the first coat, then waterproof on top of it so it’s easy to get off at the end of the night, but won’t smear on my face when I’m crying cause the brunello was so good. {<<< #TRUTH}

What are some of your favourite wines & why?

That fluxuates hourly, but right now I’d say the ‘99 Ciacci piccolomini d’aragona Brunello di Montalcino. Why? Because it made me start dancing. Barolo is on my radar right now too.

One of my favourite things to talk about:  go-to pairings?!

Champagne and mornings. {<<<!!!} Chablis and pizza. Sweet Riesling and spicy food.

When you’re not drinking wine, what are you drinking?

Probably some kind of whisky. Nikka Japanese whisky is ridiculously good {<<< ONE OF MY FAVES}. Dalmore. Ardbeg. Knob Creek. It never upsets my stomach!

& finally: what is your advice for anyone wanting to become a sommelier or to enter the world of wine as a career?

I would say start reading a lot; not only about wine, but hospitality and service. Sommelier means “butler” in French, after all. Also remember that the guests come first and they are always right, even when they’re oh-so-very wrong.

I’d tell them to never be afraid of pronouncing things wrong and not to drink too much on the job. You gotta learn to love working in a cold cellar and moving boxes all day long.

And never, ever, EVER make anyone feel stupid for not understanding the fundamentals of beverage. Be an approachable resource for others and sometimes the BEST answer is “I don’t know”.

Follow Cristie

website || instagram || youtube || facebook || twitter

:: Some of my favourite wine books ::


  • Brie Watson

    Really enjoyed reading this! I wasn’t even aware of Sommeliers before this. Christie is beautiful and very interesting! I love her cosplay pic! Also congrats to her for losing 80 pounds!!!

    • I loved the cosplay too!! I am so glad you enjoyed this interview, Brie! Next time you’re out to eat, talk with the somm & see what they recc for you! x Shannon

  • AH I love girl wine bosses! It’s can seem like an industry full of the same kind of person but Cristie is such a good example that’s not true. I’m taking my WSET Level 3 at the start of next year and am super excited. I only know about the retail side of wine but have mad respect for the service side. Brb, going to stalk her Insta asap.

    🍍 Pia
    http://gymbagsandjetlags.com

    • Pia, that is SO cool!!! Congrats to you & I had no idea. Always love connecting with fellow wine babes. The service side is NO JOKE & def an area I think gets overlooked. Keep me posted with your test progress – I know how rigorous these courses are so sending you all the good vibes I can!!! x Shannon

  • Chérie Renee

    Love these posts and your women empowerment!! I’ll need to stop by Spago’s now to visit Cristie! We could do it together next time you are here 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Cherie!! I totally agree! I’ll be in LA next month so a wine date will be a MUST! x Shannon

  • Minnelle K

    Love this post!

  • shannon shipman

    this is my new idol!!! she’s got it all!!!!!

    • I totally agree! So glad you loved, Shannon! x Shannon

  • This is such an amazing interview! She’s a wonderful person and I can totally see why she was your choice for #WCW! I love that she says to disassociate indulgence from fitness. How many people indulge and then joke that they’re going to have to go harder that the gym that day/week? Who cares if you have one extra taco or just really need some chocolate.
    I also love her tip on wearing black to wine tastings! I’m headed to a tasting this weekend and am already preparing for how clumsy I’m going to be.

    xoxo,
    Dannie
    http://www.stilefotocibo.com

    • Dannie! Thank you SO much for your sweet comment. You totally made my day! I cannot agree more – that was one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever heard. It’s something I am guilty of doing & changed my mindset thanks to her. How was your wine tasting?! I hope you had a great one! LMK any wines I should check out!! xx Shannon

      • My tasting was amazing! unfortunately, the winery I visited keeps things super local since they essentially keg their wines. I’ve never been somewhere that keeps vino on tap but it was so cool! But I always have wine recommendations. Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, CA, has one of the best Syrahs I have ever tasted. Their Cab is also superb!

  • Morgan Jorgenson

    You know I am loving this! She is stunning and has great tips! Going to follow her now! Thanks for this!

    http://www.proseccoandprojects.com/

    xx, Morgan

    • Thanks Morgan! She is so up your alley – so glad you enjoyed babe!

  • Missjoanaxoxo

    She is so inspiring, loved this post! Xo

  • Ianne Cabangon

    It was nioce to get to know you from this post
    Xo, Christianne
    http://simplychristianne.com

    • Thanks Christianne! Loved having you & so glad you liked Cristie’s interview. x Shannon

  • This was so interesting! I’ll definitely be checking out her youtube!
    http://www.simplynancyblog.com

    • She makes wine so fun! Thanks for reading, Nancy! x Shannon

  • This is so neat, I have always wanted to get more into wine
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

    • Thanks so much, Laura! Let me know if you ever have any wine questions too – happy to answer! x Shannon

  • fashionistha

    Your smile is beautiful girl, nice post!
    Nistha
    https://www.fashionistha.com/workwear-essential-pencil-skirt/