Name: Aziz Hathout
At the moment: UAE-Abu Dhabi
Head Sommelier/Assistant Manager
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
I was around 15 years old and it was Pinot Noir. Love at first sight ! Wine Industry came later in my career after my graduation .
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?
Passion first and foremost. Knowledge of the intricate relation between geography , traditions and History .A great memory, patience and a personality. Yes so many but I don’t want to make anyone jealous.
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?
Find the country first that suits your personality . Write a proper resume. Lower your expectation and focus on the establishment and how it could benefit your future career. Google your potential Head Sommelier !
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
Fairly simple follow first your instinct and ask the guest what he feels like drinking . You need to read your guests and most of the time I already have a clear picture of what the guest is looking for .
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?
Mandatory. Specially when it comes to premium Bordeaux/Bordeaux Blends. Riedel all the way for me .
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Taste the dishes first, try them with different wines from your wine list. Then combinations are countless! It s all about experimenting. get to know your palate, your own perception that can be very different from the person sitting next to you
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
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 mark ups?
First know what kind of product you will deliver as a restaurant . Second is the market . Third is to follow the basic rules that we were taught at school. The ratio , the structure etc… I base my prices on the usual GP vs Cost / Ladder. I’d rather keep that opinion for myself . Dubai is a very small city ! A website that I enjoy a lot is winesearcher.com Check it out
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
Studying, reading googling , travelling
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?
Attend the worldwide wine fairs to get as much exposition as possible. Approach your local sommeliers and get them to taste your wines. Then the World is yours
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I’d a be a blend because I m too complex
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?
The Pinot-Gamay-Trousseau alikes
The Aromatic and crisp whites
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Read as much as you can !
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com