Where do you work?
I am an Independent Sommelier Consultant & Wine Teacher.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a French sommelier consultant, holder of the WSET Diploma since September 2017, Certified Wine & Spirits Educator for WSET Level 1 to 3, and MBA Candidate at ESCP.
I teach wines and spirits for WSET, and wine & business at the Vatel Hospitality management School. I also offer consultancy to various restaurants, and I am responsible for the wine acquisition of NumberWine, a wine import company based in Bucharest that I founded in 2013.
Finally, I am also an author and I have published Le vin pour ceux qui n’y connaissent rien in 2019 and collaborated on several publications and events as a guest speaker.
What drew you to the world of wine initially and how did you first get started in the industry?
I was about 19 when I felt a real emotion while drinking a Burgundy at Christmas with my father. Since then I decided to learn to understand what I like - and pick the good bottles (smile).
I entered the world of wine by setting up my own import business and studying at WSET, then learnt on my own by tasting - a lot (smile) - and got really interested in the history of wine. Today this is the topic that interests me the most!
What are some of the most important skills for a Sommelier to have?
First being humble and modest, because when you taste blind, you can be excellent, you can never be sure you're right, so staying humble is the key. Then, being curious and open, the rest is all about work driven by passion.
What do you look for when buying wines for your restaurant?
For my business, I'm always looking for great wines at decent prices. When you taste blind, you realise that some wines are overtly overpriced, and really are not worth their price. I personally spend a serious amount on wine per month, so I am not against spending more when the wine deserves it, but not because the bottle is famous! I drink wine, not fame!
Tips to make a good wine menu that sells more wine?
Offer diversity, balance your price, find a good equilibrium between volume and margin, and make sure people are happy, so that they will come back.
What wine trends do you see in 2021 and 2022?
So far, we observe a continual growth for organic and sustainable agriculture wine, so I do not seethat going down in the next coming years. Maybe the Covid crisis will slow down the price increase of the top Châteaux and most prestigious wines, but on the other side, the weather of spring in France will increase the price due to the low volume of production of more common wines.
In terms of consumption, quality wines at decent prices will keep on growing and entry level wines will have to improve their quality if they want to stay in the competition.
What's the best part of your job?
Tasting champagne in the morning... (smile)
What's HOT in Paris these days? What are Parisians drinking these days?
Natural wine! I have to confess that I am not always convinced by some samples I had, but some of them do not betray their terroir when producers are working well, and these wines can be really outstanding.
If you had to pick one wine as your personal best which would it be and why?
Champagne. You can drink it anytime with anything and anyone. It is the quintessence of elegance.
Any tips for new sommeliers?
Taste everything, drink only what you like, and do no not judge others’ tastes.