The Wine World’s Never Been so Convenient

light up wine sign in bars
Photo courtesy of Brett Sayles

Telesomm: the app you never knew you needed

Picture this. You’re having the in-laws over for dinner, but this time, you really want to impress the family with a nice wine and dine experience. Problem is, you aren’t exactly sure what pairs best with what and all the other fancy details that go into a “Taste of Italy” kind of night. But, you don’t want to hear it from your mother-in-law again so you call on a sommelier to help you pick a couple of wines that complement what’s on the menu and schedule a zoom call for the somm to walk you and the family through a nice wine tasting. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s actually quite simple thanks to the fine folks at Telesomm. Pairing you and sommeliers to help your wine needs. When you want them, how you want them and where you want them. Also adds a nice buffer to dinner with the in-laws. Might want to brief the somm on the family drama before they walk into that one. 

Not sure if you remember, but earlier this year we put on a little something called The Lemonade Stand. We encouraged those with a side hustle or passion project or something that could maybe become one of those things to tell us about it. With a kick-ass panel of judges, three of those ideas were chosen and given advice, resources, and a couple of dollarenos to help that dream become a thing. A real thing. And Telesomm was one of those things. 

Telesomm is a new app that creates custom wine experiences, matching your wine needs with wine experts. From private events to wine pairing selections and pretty much everything in between, the app allows sommeliers to continue to do what they love on the virtual, and far more convenient level. 

To get to know more about the sommeliers behind the app, we opened a bottle with five of Telesomm’s wine gurus to get a little insight into what got them into the wine world and a few of their best recommendations for the right wine for the right time. Think this is cool? The app allows you to connect with a sommelier one on one, getting you the exact wine experience you’re looking for. No vineyards close by, no problem. 


Chris, Sommelier, enjoying red wine

How you got into the wine world

Throughout college, I worked in hospitality. I was pursuing a degree in Music Business Management and was heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. The first upscale restaurant I worked in was Farenheit in Charlotte, NC. Fahrenheit was owned by a well-known chef, Rocco Whalen, and garnered a lot of attention. As I worked there I started noticing people ordering (what at the time I thought was) ridiculously priced wines. I had experience selling wine but not at $125- $1,000 a bottle. I was intrigued by how a wine could garner those price points so I was on a mission to understand. I started asking questions to the best servers there, found information online & started watching a lot of food & wine shows on Youtube. After college, I moved to Atlanta. I had a goal of becoming a Sommelier and I’ve been on that path ever since. 

One thing I remembered from my childhood as I got further and further into the wine industry was that my Grandfather made his own wine. He had a couple of vines in our backyard, a few vessels, and the ambition to make it. This is the spirit I carry with me today.

A wine recommendation for someone just getting into the wine world:

I would recommend a domestic Pinot Noir. Pinot is a great starting point not only for drinking but also a great place to start studying wine. Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara is a great idea under $25.


Lourdes, Sommelier, picking wine from shelf

How you got into the wine world

My entry into the wine industry was by chance! I came out of college with a BA in French Language and Literature during the recession of 2008/2009 and like everyone else, had a hard time finding work. Fortunately, I was able to get a job at a BYOB French bistro in Jersey City and the same owners of the restaurant were about to open a wine shop in the neighborhood. 

Admittedly I knew absolutely nothing about wine but loved French culture and wanted to keep learning, so I asked if they needed help. Our setup was more boutique—no commercial wine labels, but a heavy focus in French regions/grapes while still being affordable and ranged in price point. What really intrigued me is how most customers preferred to be guided in some way, so in the early months at the shop, I enrolled in WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) classes and my mission was to help people find wines they loved and learn a little something as well. It was a great way to start in the industry. Tasting a ton of wines with different folks and making friends along the way.

A wine recommendation to bring to a party:

Bubbles! I always bring a dry Lambrusco (sparkling red) to a party. Usually a crowd-pleaser, decently priced, and a good conversation starter.


Brielle, Sommelier drinking wine

How you got into the wine world

My journey into wine was inevitable. Growing up, my suburban New Jersey home was nicknamed “Grand Central Station,” which is how my parents’ landline is saved in my contacts list even still. There were always people beyond our nuclear family—friends, colleagues, cousins—swimming in the pool, spending the weekend, joining for dinner, or stopping by for a quick happy hour on the porch. My mom has always been the hostess with the mostest, so there were always enough accouterments to pull together an impressive cheeseboard and plenty of wine to go around. I think it’s been ingrained in me forever that when you want people to feel welcome, it’s helpful to have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge. 

When I started dating my partner when I moved to back to the NYC area years ago, I gifted him Chelsea Market’s (then) “passport to wine” which granted us both admission to as many of the shop’s classes as we’d like to attend for a month; we went to all 19 that were offered. Soon, I was enrolled in WSET through the International Wine Center and teaching classes downtown at New York Vintners. Since then, I’ve started my own company, Viva la Vino, started consulting with brands I admire, and hosting public and private wine tasting events, including those I market through Telesomm.

A wine recommendation for celebrating a special occasion:

Canihan Exuberance Syrah. It won Double Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition the first year it was made. When Bill learned that my partner and I were placing an order to celebrate our recent engagement, he added an extra bottle to our shipment as a surprise gift with a kind note. It’s truly one of the best wines I’ve tried. We celebrate everything with it.


Sean, Sommelier, standing in vineyard

How you got into the wine world

I’d have to say it all began when I got the chance to study abroad in Argentina for half a year in 2009. I was 20 years old in Buenos Aires trying to learn the culture and the dialect. What I realized was that wine was such a mainstay of the culture—it was served at almost every meal, just like water. It didn’t hurt that it helped you feel a little less inhibited, which honestly made speaking Spanish a lot easier. (My Spanish is infinitely better after a few glasses of wine). Being abroad in a wine-centric culture was really the jumping-off point for my love of wine, and only increased when I was able to study in Spain for a summer in 2013.

 I tried teaching Spanish, interpreting and translation, and a few other things before coming to the conclusion that I wanted to be in the food and wine industry. I had served and bartended in college, so I started there, managing the bar program at a Cuban restaurant. I came into contact with a lot of wine sales reps, so I did some research. I found VinoVi & Co, a Spanish and French wine importing company based in Detroit and owned by a Catalan woman named Núria Garrote-i-Esteve. I emailed her begging for a job, and she was able to secure my first wine sales job with her distributor. That was five years ago, and since then, I have worked for importers, distributors, wine bars, wine shops, wine marketing, and started my own wine business, The Spanish Wine Guide, doing guided wine tastings with a heavy focus on Iberian food and culture.

A wine recommendation to bring to a party:

I miss parties! But Vinho Verde—it’s in the high acid realm. I don’t really want red wine at parties. I want a really cold glass of something zippy that will match my enthusiasm for the party (but you have to be careful with this one, it’s dangerously easy to drink).


Kelly, Sommelier laughing with glass of wine

How you got into the wine world

I grew up in Minnesota, but I spent a lot of time traveling to California’s wine country with my family. Wine was always part of our family gatherings, dining adventures, and yearly travels. It was also often a topic of conversation, the basis of a history lesson, or a reason to explore geography. 

Even though I was surrounded by a culture of wine at home, it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Argentina during college that I realized how much knowledge I had already acquired that could connect me to people in the wine industry. Knowing about wine was a way for me to become even more engaged in a foreign culture by sharing an appreciation for something that was part of daily life and every meal. The opportunity to tour iconic vineyards and meet winemakers throughout my early 20s was a huge catalyst for fostering my passion for wine education. 

When I completed my master’s degree in Exercise Physiology, I wanted to take a little break from academics and happened to be living right in the heart of Virginia’s wine country. I picked up a part-time job at a nearby winery pouring wines for guests in the tasting room and giving tours of the production facilities. I never expected it to last more than a few months, but after being mentored by the winemaker and being offered a winery management position, I was hooked. A hobby became my passion, and a passion became my profession. Now, A Cork in the Road, LLC is my way of providing wine education and exploration to clients.

A wine recommendation for someone just getting into the wine world:

I like to introduce people to signature wines from a variety of regions as they are beginning to explore the world of wine. Try Chardonnay from Chablis, Zinfandel from Sonoma, Gamay from Beaujolais. It’s a great way to spark a conversation about what makes each wine-growing region unique. It also connects wines to geography and history—it’s these types of conversations that seem to really draw people into further exploration.

The experience you’re looking for is far easier than that trip to Napa. From family affairs to corporate events to birthday parties. Maybe for no real reason at all. Just a few taps and clicks away. Pop the bubbly.