Welcome to OuiSomm

I’m Jenn Knowles and after 25 years in the restaurant and luxury hotel industry as a Wine Director and sommelier, I decided to branch out on my own to offer my experience to a broader audience. My goal is to provide in-person and virtual wine and hospitality education to those who have just started the adventure as well as aficionados and professionals. From having a wine pairing party and learning to blind taste wine or organizing your wine cellar, I can customize and create a unique and memorable experience for you!

I also offer in-person and virtual industry training for both restaurant management and staff which can add enormous value to your guest’s experience. Please see the ‘Professional Services’ tab for more info.

Throughout my career I have recognized that many people have been conditioned to believe that if there is an ‘expert’ around to speak about a subject then we must defer to that expert empirically. However, there are no experts when it comes to tasting wine and finding foods you love. Sure, there are people who know more than you might about wine regions and production, but they can’t smell or taste what YOU do. Only YOU can be an expert on that.

WHY OuiSomm?

OuiSomm is a play on the phrase ‘Oui Chef’ which means ‘YES CHEF!’ and can be heard far and wide in restaurants of all calibers throughout the world. It can be used for a sundry of responses such as- yes, I heard you,  I’m sorry, I will work faster, please don’t throw that pan at me, etc., but it is ubiquitous in our restaurant language.

When I was the Wine Director at The Inn at Little Washington, the Chef Stephen Lyons liked to respond to my questions or requests with a hearty yell of ‘OuiSomm’ and I would holler back ‘OuiChef!’ and thus the moniker was created. Somm is short for Sommelier, which is something I have been proud and lucky enough to be for over 20 years. So why ditch the pretty title now?

Who is OuiSomm?

Jennifer Knowles, OuiSomm’s Founder
  • 30 years in the hospitality industry- this is the career I have dedicated my life and studies to and is my true passion

  • Over 20 years focusing on wine education- I’m an Advanced level sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers

  • Worked from being a hostess to running some of the most highly acclaimed wine and beverage programs in the country from San Francisco to Washington DC

  • Traveled to wine regions throughout the country and around the globe to better understand varying wine making processes, grape growing practices, and wine styles

  • Experienced in winemaking techniques from picking and sorting grapes, creating custom blends, finishing wines and designing unique labels.

  • Recognized by clients and press for always listening to my guests and for my open and judgement free style of service

  • Kind, caring and thoughtful hospitality professional with clients’ best interests always at the forefront

Who Else is OuiSomm?

I am a wine drinking, good food eating, sometimes silly person who loves sharing experiences with guests/colleagues as well as those in my personal life.

  • After living my dreams for my career, I want to share the passion, joy and knowledge of wine and food and how much fun it can be when the intimidation associated with wine professionals is taken away

  • I believe that the path to enjoyment in any profession is by being kind, caring, attentive and confident and surrounding yourself with like minded people

  • Story sharing is the blood of the business; it’s how we learn, grow and build our education and it’s an amazing way to learn more about both the people we work with and our friends and family!

  • While speaking with groups, whether it is one on one or with large groups, I believe engaging clients/guests with relatable information builds comfort and trust. I do not believe in fancy pants (unless you need me to wear them)

  • I believe that knowledge and humor can go hand in hand, when appropriate, to create lasting bonds and relationships as well as setting the tone for open dialogue

What Somms Do…

just a small sample