Dedication, Obession – what I learnt from SOMM

I spent the last weekend in Napa Valley, probably America’s most famous wine region. We met some wine enthusiasts, and they mentioned the documentary SOMM. It is about a group of four professional sommeliers who prepare for “the hardest test you’ve never heard of” to earn the Master Sommelier diploma, the highest ranking certificate a wine professional can obtain.

These guys are “maniacs” (quote of one guy’s wife), “some of the most dedicated, obsessed people” (quote of a master sommelier).

But see for yourself:

When I see how they study, how they immerse themselves with wine books, wine magazines, wine people and, of course, wine itself I feel relief and envy.

Relief – because I see that there are other people out there that have a similar passion for these things. Because I feel I am not alone with my interest for a niche subject. I see that it is OK to bury yourself in one field of study. To focus on only one thing – the ONE THING that matters to you.

Envy – because I wish I had friends here in California with whom I could share the passion and study together. One reason why I was happy in Kyoto was that I finally met people who loved studying Japanese gardens. We browsed second-hand bookstores together, spend money on books, special interest magazines and tools, and even in the few hours of our free days dedicated most of our time and energy to the subject. Having fellow passionistas around me helps me justify my own dedication to the subject – it is just easier if you are not alone.

However – until I meet these people here, I will connect to them by watching documentaries about them. About nerds and geeks and all those people who just do their thing. Every minute of every hour of every day.

Two other inspiring documentaries I recently watched. Documentaries about people who are obsessed:

Tim’s Vermeer



If you have more movie recommendation for me, please let me know in the comments!


3 thoughts on “Dedication, Obession – what I learnt from SOMM

  1. SOMM was awesome, Particle Fever was exciting,… I, like you, feel and understand the Relief and Envy you are talking about!

    I spend my extra time, as little as there is, watching these same style documentaries…just gritty my teeth, jealous, wishinng I could find, immerse myself, and hone my true passions…

    My desire has not been without its quest. I have amassed a multitude of interests, jack-of-all, master of none, but included are: Trained Chef, wood working, artists, poet, baker, gardener, techy-fiddling-with-odds-and-ends, browser…

    I have a few Documentaries, also on netflix, which i will have to find the names for. Most of them are food based, BUT some are of other obsessions, no, no…dedications.

    Talk soon.


      • Spinning Plates – Follows three different restaurant families)
        Argh… i wrote them down and now i cant remeber..

        I have enjoyed reading your stories and learning about a beautiful culture….

        What a trip! What an experience…

        When you arent looking for Authentic Japanese cuisine in the Bay, what else fills your time?


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