Somm’s Table: Perfect Pairings from the Other Side of the Equation

Food and Wine, Wine and Food …

We love a great meal. (Who doesn’t?). And for most diners – whether cooking or eating out or late-night snacking – food decisions come first. Followed by: “What do I pair with this?”

Then there’s that other group of us. The wine list usually comes our way at dinner (fine, we’ve  probably already checked it out anyway). Major grocery purchases depend on what we want to serve with that 2010 Brunello. “Instagram” is synonymous with “labels.” And so on. You may know the type … that’s us.
After three-plus years of suffering studying wine and spirits in the WSET Diploma program, we decided to start this site when we realized that the thing we love most about wine is the moments it helps create. It sets off the food and the conversation around the table. A well chosen wine has the power to bring out the best in your food, spark lively discussions, and foster new connections that always seem to quickly become friends. A good wine can inspire new travels and even transport you back to the time and place you bought the bottle–after all, it’s captured right there in your glass. Et voila, the Somm’s Table.

About that word…
Som• me • lier, noun, A waiter in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service : a wine steward.

That word, or abbreviation, “somm,” has million connotations. Silver cup necklaces; documentaries; stiff, stuffy snobs, hipsters … everybody has an opinion. The world of certifications – where you’ll find lots of hard work, but also different approaches – adds a whole other, mind-bending level.

Admittedly, neither one of us currently works in a restaurant. Ok, you got us there. If you want to be a purist. However, we’ve both spent more hours with our nose in a glass or in a wine book than we can possibly count, with thousands of flashcards and finally (thank god, finally) all-important pins to show for it .

Anyway. Let’s consider the latter part of definition for a minute—a wine steward. If you want wine advice, serving tips, recipe ideas, and people who want you to enjoy the best glass, that’s definitely us. We want to pour you something good, because frankly, we want to drink it too. We don’t expect you to be as geeky as we are, but maybe we can inspire you to think about it a little more, or to have some brilliant “ah-ha!” wine moments at your own table.  

The world of wine is delicious and it’s best shared with friends.



Nicole Ruiz Hudson (Editor, co-creator) is a food and drink writer and educator currently living in Oakland, California. She loves everything wine, food, and travel–from taco trucks to tasting menus, and dive bars to craft cocktails...and Champagne. It’s always time for Champagne.

After graduating from Harvard University, she moved to Los Angeles to work in the Entertainment Industry. However, eventually thoughts of food and wine got the better of her. Upon moving to New York City, she took the plunge and made the switch, graduating from the International Culinary Center's Classic Culinary Program. She then spent three years at Wine Spectator’s Tasting Department in New York, and is now happily living in California once again. She wants to travel everywhere and is at her happiest when nibbling, sipping, and hiking her way through new places.

You can find her recipes with wine pairings on WineSpectator.com, plus more food and travel adventures on her other blog, NibblingGypsy.com. Nicole was also one of four original organizers of Bâtonnage, a day-long forum to stir up the conversation on women in wine in Napa Valley, and also helped organize the Della Donna Wine Festival in Oakland. She has also contributed to TheSixfifty.com, BayArea.com, and other outlets. (Please find a complete list of articles here.) She holds a WSET Diploma and is Certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers.


Greg Hudson (photographer) doesn't work in wine, but he's a very enthusiastic consumer. He's been along for Nicole's entire journey through the world of wine and has learned quite a bit himself along the way. (He'd even pour blind tastings for Nicole's WSET study group while she was studying for her Diploma.) They've also done quite a bit of wine travel together, and pairing discussions are a part of their everyday feasts.  

Greg has loved photography since high school, and Nicole now puts his skills to good use on her blogs and for the 8 & $20 series on WineSpectator.com.  He loves all the great meals, but he does wish she'd prepare more dishes during the day so he could use natural light. (Nicole takes full responsibility for the late hour of their photo shoots.)


Bridget Stankiewicz (contributor, co-creator) has done A Good Amount of Stuff in food and beverage, writing, marketing and sales, zigzagging her way through various combinations of these areas for the last two decades. She earned WSET’s flagship credential, the Diploma in early 2016.