Name: Victor Jardim
At the moment: Portugal
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
I started as a sommelier when was 18 years old, (More like a wine waiter than a sommelier) It was at the time something that captivated me, more like a passion than properly a job. I took WSET levels 1 and 2 and several courses around Portugal about wine. My Mentor was Américo Pereira – I live on a small island, and believe me that this gentleman is the BEST ”Bible” that we have about wine in here.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with that qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
By the way, i live in MADEIRA, and if you know about wine you know where it is… In my opinion a sommelier should be someone that really understands the concept between Food and Wine, must know and appreciate both, and should specially be completely impartial about any brands.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
At the moment the ”big boom” on the wine and food industry is on, so i think that a young sommelier should start locally but then anywhere in the world at this moment is good to work in the wine industry, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, all ”New World Wine Countries” but with a very good rate around the world, we can not forget of course about Europe… Anywhere in Europe specially in the nordic countries, Sweden is one good example. they have great professionals.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
When a customer asks for some advice we have to be very careful. Try to know at the first sight, what is the guests personal taste, then, what is the guest having to eat, and how much does the guest want to spend on a bottle of wine, and then after that, we try to recommend something in the style of wine that the guest wants. As in our wine list we only have Portuguese wines, it’s quite hard sometimes to get the right wine, but 99% of the times the guest is happy with my choice. It’s probably more important to know your menu and all the ingredients that the Chef is using, so like that its more comfortable for you to recommend some wine that will match the dishes the guest ordered.
What’s your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
Glasses: I’ve been working with RIEDEL glasses for a long time and believe me that it makes all the difference. As they call themselves The Wine Glass Company… In our restaurant we use several shapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling/Sangiovese… I also use some Schott Zwiesel in some wines but mostly I serve Gin on them, but they are also very good…
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
As I said before we only work with Portuguese wines so for 90% of our ”market” the wines are completely new. When people do some wine pairing always follow this rule, light wines (red or white) with light food and full bodied wines with strong dishes, but of course be careful with the exceptions. Ex: Spicy food, sweet and sour. maybe some Rosé wine will work but there is always a but…
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine markup?
I have worked already with several styles of wine lists, some organised by Region, some by Grape, some by style of wine, and some by price. In my opinion the one that includes the style of wine is the best, because it becomes clearer for the guest to know which wine to choose if he doesn’t need any help. ex: light, young and elegant wines; New World style of wine; Reds or whites of excellence… I don’t agree with some prices in some restaurants because i think that should be the producer having all the profit and not the person that contributed less for the wine to be in the shelves… because the restaurants buy the wines at some price and sometimes they sell it 5 or 6 times more expensive in a restaurant… in my opinion a restaurant should sell the wine max. 2 to 3 times the price that they bought it, but that’s my opinion.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
To be on the Top of Changes in the wine industry you have to be very well informed, you have lots of magazines writing about it you have the Internet that gives all you want to know about everything…
How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you to notice their wine and what’s the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
A New vineyard or Producer has to have a really good promoter because nowadays it’s more and more difficult to get in the market. You can promote wine tastings with your ”targets” and really show your wine to everyone, it’s your brand so sell it to me, so I can be convinced that it’s really a good product and defend it everyday in my restaurant to my guests.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
If I was a wine… well I really would like to be Touriga Nacional, because its a really good grape and like humans it groups almost everywhere in the world, so it adapts really well to different countries.
What are the top 3 types of wine (your faves) would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
My 3 types of wine, Champagne, Late Harvest and of course Madeira…
I have a few bottles of wine that I collect specially Madeira.
Well I tend to visit Decanter online,
Wine Terminator is nice as well, (I met the gentleman that runs the site)
Revista Wine, and Revista do Vinho in Portugal.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com