Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm
When he was 24, Jason Wedner, general manager of Rare Steakhouse in Milwaukee, tasted a wine that changed his life: a 1983 Bertani Amarone. Now 40, he can still recall the flavors.
“It’s so beautiful,” he said. “It’s so rich and decadent. It’s like a deep, garnet-red in color. The aromas are cherries, sour cherries, vanilla, a little bit of spice; it’s definitely a dry, full-bodied wine. The lush, velvet tannin. Brown sugar, a little bit of fig, maybe. It was just so well put together. Acidity, tannins, really just balanced well. One of the most enjoyable wines even to this day I’ve ever had.”
Until that point in his life, Wedner had been a fan of wine. It was a part of his family culture. On his mom’s side, his grandparents were from Italy, and on his dad’s side they were from Poland. He started tasting small sips of wine at a young age.
But after he tasted the Bertani Amarone, wine became his passion. Wedner is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, an organization formed to improve beverage service standards, particularly when it comes to pairing wines with foods.
Wedner is on the second of four levels of wine expertise with the organization and plans to obtain certification as an advanced sommelier this spring, on his way to one day becoming a master sommelier. It’s a distinction only 230 people have achieved since the organization was formed in 1977.
When Wedner is not helping restaurant patrons find the perfect wine to pair with their meal at Rare, he’s tasting his own wine at home. Wedner has amassed 200 bottles in his private cellar.