Name: Vincent Bakker
At the moment: Netherlands
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
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?
The first encounter i had was when i was at my trainee period worked in a restaurant with a somm, and at the end of service of my first day i was drinking a glass of beer, while the others were drinking some leftover wines like ChnP etc. so i ask the sommelier some wine as well and he said that i first had to drink two other glasses before getting rewarded (one very important learning moment and very good way so you will and shall never forget!!!) the first one was oxidative so there you go half glass full, second a corked wine half glass full and the third was finally the Chateauneuf du Pape all 3 will never be forgotten. the second day he asked me all the questions about all the wines i had to give him, so bring me a bottle of Chateau Dauzac, then looking and finding and when i handed him over he asked; where’s he from, which grapes ? and so on?? at first i felt stupid, but i turned it around in a learning game from that moment i read, and read, so all the days after or i asked him a question about the wine or he will asked me a question i could mostly give a correct answer.
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?
so my advice would be that young sommeliers must work with experienced other sommeliers and the have to find a way to make a good relationship in which they both enjoy. maybe the soft learning like making project or the hard way like i had. according the place to learn make sure it’s inspiring, in every restaurant you can learn about wine, but make sure it’s in your passion street. like new world, old world, italian etc. then make sure the first must be next to a great sommelier but after you can try it alone find your taste and see what people think about your choice
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
first make sure what they are really looking for this could be the kind of wine (white, red new style, old style )or the price range. i always say specially the first wine is important if they enjoy it , they let you pick the next wine
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?
This is questionable; i always find the shape of the glass very important, besides it gives you a way to work with wine you can open a wine by bigger glasses or hide it in. and yes well known brands are far in development but there are some good alternatives who will do the same thing, anyway with a good story why
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
first of all try !!! second when it’s just possible look further you’re nearly there
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 markups?
The best ingredient is stay with your company profile, but always keep a window open. find a connection with the kitchen make sure your wine pairing options are there. make a nice build up pricing some low, big middle and some expenses on the end (best the one you can keep for several years) , find balance in the amount not only white vs red but on country level as well
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
first study on, second make sure you attend to professional wine tastings, and yes you can follow some wine critics etc they profit you the newest dop and ava on the first moment of release
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?
mainly social media is open door , invites about wine travel fast . second marketing by tastings, we can read a lot but the best thing is to taste it !!
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Cabernet Franc, always gives interesting wines, often a little in the shadow but therefore one of the best surprises
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?
German > Spatburgunder
Bordeaux> like the reflexion of the soil
New Zealand > surprise you with or enthusiasm or structured balance
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com