They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s exactly the case for two Lodi oenophiles. We thought it would be fun to sit down with this talented team from Bubbles N’ Birds and find out what goes on in the mind of a sommelier. Meet Toby Devore, owner of Bubbles N’ Birds, and a level three advanced sommelier with a keen eye for fabulous wines. And his trusty sidekick, Wes Kurz, a level two sommelier, who works weekdays as a wine educator and weekends at Bubbles N’ Birds.
How long have you been a sommelier?
WES: Six years.
TOBY: Since 2004. It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years.
What piqued your interest in wine?
WES: When I was 21 years old and living in Las Vegas, I worked at a wine bar and it lit a fire inside me I didn’t know existed. But it was when I worked for Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg that I developed a passion that couldn’t be ignored.
TOBY: Growing up in the beautiful Lodi appellation certainly played a role. How could it not?
What do you love about wine?
WES: I love that wine brings people together! Wine is also an art and once you understand that, wine is a beautiful experience.
TOBY: Wine is travel in a bottle. I can mentally put myself in a wine region with a single sip. It can transport me to a memory or a specific place in time.
Coolest bottle you’ve ever tried?
WES: When I was working at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, I had the chance to taste a 1972 La Tache, Domaine De La Romanee Conti (DRC) from Burgundy
TOBY: Undoubtedly, an ‘82 Lafite Rothschild
How has your sommelier background impacted the wines available at Bubbles N’ Birds?
TOBY: My wine list has most of the worlds’ wine regions represented. I like that you can enjoy our beautiful local wine alongside wines from around the world and taste the juxtaposition of the new and old world.
How does your day job enhance your time at Bubbles N’ Birds?
WES: I get to go in and teach people about different styles of wines every single day. I take people on a journey every time someone walks through that door! But more importantly, wine should be fun. It’s not meant to be stuffy.
Bubbles N’ Birds
117 W. Elm St., Lodi