Sommeliers are on the front line of customer service and profit generation in first-class restaurants where the price of a bottle of wine can easily dwarf any sum spent on food. Below is the secret language of some of New York’s finest “Somms.”
Sommeliers use a range of words and phrases to describe diners, based on their spending on, or interest in wine. For example:
WHALE · PLAYER · BALLER · DEEP OCEAN
A serious drinker who will regularly DROP more than $1,000 on a single bottle. When on a furious spending spree, a WHALE is said to be DROPPING THE HAMMER. BIG WHALES – or EXTRA BIG BALLERS (E.B.B.) – can spend more than $100,000 on wine during a meal.