The cold air pressed my face as I was closely scanning the artistic labels before me: west coast IPAs, stouts, Indian Pale Ales, and sours among others- trying to pick a beer that felt adventurous yet a sure bet for delicious. In my contemplation, I was approached by Calvin Peña, a certified Sommelier and a self proclaimed bar geek. He had a friendly smile and upbeat demeanor, and with non threatening enthusiasm he offered to curate a selection for me based on my general interests and tastes.
Peña’s experience in the beverage and hospitality industry is expansive, having started in East Los Angeles when he was sixteen years old working for a catering company and later working as a whiskey ambassador in the bar industry. His personality is well fitted for the service industry – naturally able to socialize and provide a friendly attitude, and described as able to bring levity to his family and friends. He always held a desire to explore the East Coast, and in 2010 he decided to traverse I-40, landing in Winston-Salem.
When working downtown as a bar manager, Peña pursued a certification to become a Sommelier, a multi-level rigorous process including lectures, written exams, blind tastings, and a service module. He now uses that mastery in his job at Buie’s Market, where he is curating a distinctive selection of wine and beer, making sure the best possible products are available for the best possible value. He has curated roughly 100 different wines and 80 different beers, and although you’ll find the beverage that is tried and true to you, Peña is skillfully able to offer a broad range of alternative choices that can help expand palettes. He also hosts a wine tasting every Thursday and has seating available to enjoy a beer on tap.
Peña demonstrates a keen and forward understanding of the market, the trends, the wine regions, the classification requirements, and the global impact on agricultural practices. He enjoys his work, viewing it as a living organism while also being passionate about the transactional process and educating the consumer of the various beverages offered.
January 26, 2022