“I worked as a sommelier for six years before I got into restaurant consulting,” Berumen said. “I was tired of the day-to-day and late-night schedules, so I started managing wine lists for six restaurants.”
He came back to the metro in September 2010 unsure of his direction except that it would still be related to wine. He saw an article about Kamp’s 1910 Cafe, 10 N.E. 10th, opening a wine bar and decided to call Kamp’s director of operations, Missy Dickinson.
Dickinson said she came up with the wine bar idea “kind of by mistake.”
“We loved the building, but it was twice the size of what we’d planned to build,” Dickinson said. “I thought it would be a great idea to have a place where you can stop on the way home from work and have a drink, a small appetizer, and someone to teach you about wine.”
Berumen was perfect for the job.
In December, he committed to stay full-time and take over the wine duties for The Vineyard at Kamp’s.
Since that time, Berumen has slowly tweaked and added to a by-theglass wine list that now incorporates the best of Old and New World wines, although he readily admits his palate tends toward the Old.
above Eric Berumen, sommelier at The Vineyard inside Kamp’s 1910
“We wanted to build a wine list that is exciting, and not the everyday wine list you can find everywhere,” he said. “I also want one that reflects my palate, which is, quite frankly, more Old World, but I also wanted it to be approachable for everyone. Above all, the wines have to be balanced.”
With that in mind, Berumen constructed a list that he said “brings in different areas of the world and different varietals” than the everyday wine lists he sees, not just in Oklahoma, but all over the country.
“Our list is relatively small, but I wanted it to be global,” he said.
To begin the list, Berumen turned to two wines he calls his “go-to” choices: Qupe Syrah and Domaine Diochon Moulin-a-Vent Cru Beaujolais.
“Qupe has the earthy, minerality and acidity of cooler Old World wines (especially of Northern Rhone),” he said, “but still has the fresh, juicy berry flavors of warmer New World styles.”
The Domaine Diochon, meanwhile, “has very good fruit as well some meaty, savory characteristics,” Berumen said. “These wines can age five to six years, and in that time, they develop a more Burgundian (Pinot Noir) flavor.”
His two go-to wines are from California and France, but Berumen’s list is literally all over the map: Germany, Austria, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Australia, Washington and Oregon are all present. The list will eventually include a very good selection of halfbottles of Champagne and sparkling wine, including the relatively new Growers Champagnes.
We wanted to build a wine list that is not the everyday wine list you can find everywhere.
Currently, one of his favorite sparkling choices is Elvio Tintero Moscato d’Asti. “The Tintero has a freshness to it,” Berumen said. “Some Moscatos can be cloying, but this one has a bright finish, the kind that leaves you wanting multiple glasses of it.”
Berumen’s list is also a mixture of some well-known local favorites, like Chehalem INOX Chardonnay, a delicious, stainless steel-fermented Chardonnay, and Stoller JV Pinot Noir, as well as some lesser-known wines like Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc, an Alsatian white, and Bodegas LAN Tempranillo, a dry, juicy red from Spain’s Rioja region.
The Vineyard is open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. General Manager Kim Cordero said the wine is available even when The Vineyard isn’t officially open, so if you’re looking for Saturday or Sunday brunch, the entire by-theglass and bottle lists are available.
Look for Berumen’s weekly wine specials as well, which are a bottle of red and a bottle of white, both at half price.
Most of the wines mentioned are available at Beau’s Wine Bin, 2810 W. Country Club Drive; Edmond Wine Shop, 1520 S. Boulevard in Edmond; Bacchus Wine & Spirits, 17216 N. May in Edmond; and Spirit Shop, 1117 Garver in Norman.