5 things you only know if you’re… a certified wine sommelier

It’s not all about tasting 
Delivery day can be quite a workout! Most of the deliveries come on the same day, so when you have a few hundred bottles to put into the cellar, then distribute to the right place for the restaurant service, you can work up quite a sweat. Lots of people say they would love my job – but not on delivery day!

Geography is very important 
I was terrible at geography until I found a love of wine; I couldn’t point out anywhere on a world map before that. Now, if a country makes wine, I know exactly where it is and the soil types found there. However, if it doesn’t make wine, sorry, but I still have no idea where it is. If only you could have studied wine at school, I might have done a bit better…

It’s not just about the wine 
The word sommelier to most people will mean wine expert; however, as part of the exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers, you have to know all about spirits, production and provenance. You also have to know how to make a vast repertoire of classic cocktails.

There’s a secret to the mystical art of food and wine pairing 
Lots of guests are amazed and ask, “How do you know how to do that?” The first thing is to know what wines will taste like and their character profiles – each grape has a typicity which gives me a starting point to work from. We think of wine pairing as a seasoning to the food: like how chefs know what food ingredients work with each other, sommeliers have a knowledge of wine and some basic rules to follow for the best. Occasionally we like to break this to find a surprise success.

We don’t always drink fancy wine 
In fact, a lot of the time I drink beer. Expensive wine has its place and time, but truth be told, midweek I am as happy as the next person to crack open a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon… and more than occasionally a beer. You can’t take Sheffield out of the boy…

Alistair Myers is co-owner and manager at Sheffield culinary institution Rafters Restaurant, situated at 220 Oakbrook Road. Experience the venue’s famed food and hospitality for yourself by booking at raftersrestaurant.co.uk or calling 0114 2304819

Have some interesting tales from your trade or know someone who does? Drop a line to joe@exposedmagazine.co.uk and we’ll feature them in an upcoming issue.

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