Name: Juan Manuel Terceno Macho
At the moment: Spain
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
I started to be interested in wine when I started to work as a waiter in 1998, collaborating to my family in the opening of a bar in the city of Palencia.
In 2001 I made my first tasting courses, in Madrid, teached by Fernando Garcia del Rio and Julio Montejano at “Circulo del Vino Matritense”. They were my first great influencers.
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?
There are some essential skills; psychology, knowledge, humility, spirit of scarify, capacity for teamwork and of course commercial spirit. Many great colleagues have these skills, I personally admire figures as Guillermo Cruz from Mugaritz Restaurant in Spain,Andrés Conde from La Cigaleña in Santander, Manoli Romeralo or José Antonio Navarrete at Quique Dacosta´s restaurants, or Gennaro Buono from Il Pagliaccio in Rome, Andy de Brouer from Brussels…
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?
Going out from our comfort is critical and very necessary, travel, learn from other cultures or different know-how, visit as many countries, restaurants, cellars, regions as possible. Starting with clear and defined criteria at home and work abroad to complement the training is a key factor to become a great professional.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
Ask, ask and ask. We have only some seconds to try to understand what our customer will enjoy; the kind of wine, the price range, etc. A little information before make our suggestions will always help us to hit.
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?
I´ve been my confidence in some well-known brands that I consider quality brands, able to innovate and with a large assortment, in my trajectory at restaurants I´ve work mainly with Riedel or Schott Zwiesel.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Open minds, rules doesn’t exist, try to experience non conventional options to discover what is our individual best criteria. Once known and fixed our subjective pairing preferences we become less open to discover new possibilities, my suggestion is try and discover all the options we are able to imagine.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Could be, or could not be. Depending the restaurant, the culture of customers, the level of service… Many customers feel satisfy if a great and famous sommelier makes a little tasting form them, on the other way some of them feel the sommelier is drinking their wine! But I think is positive this prevail tasting, of course. I´ve taste wines if I had a minimum doubt smelling the cork, or when customers asked me to do it, usually.
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?
The key ingredient should be always the first; a wine list, as the rest of the business units from the restaurant, should be profitable. We have to understand very well the possibilities of our company, of our location, competence, customer culture, etc, before start to think in how to introduce the wines we love. One of the advices I have for the students is be “down to the Earth” first of all.
There are many systems to calculate selling prices, I use the menu engineering to classify and evaluate, is a great tool to discover where can we be a little more competitive in selling prices and where we can earn a better margin. In fact, these is a materia I´m very specialized and I teach about it in some sommelier courses and I some conferences in Spain.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
I try lo read, to taste, to learn and question as much I can. Nowadays changes and tendencies change with an incredible speed, and we need to be very proactive to have information. Internet, magazines, commerces, distributors, winemakers, customer… we can find important information from anybody.
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?
The factors that made a new vineyard interest me are enjoy the taste of the wine or be suggested by someone I trust. These are the faster vehicles to catch my attention. To new producers, I believe more than invest a lot in marketing or waste a lot of time in speak about their wines, be able to open bottles and make the people taste; a mix of effort between the sommeliers, traders and wine writers, could be a good approach to know what could be the strategy to develop to consumers.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I´m very involved in Sherry since I started my career in this business, but of course since I´ve started to work at Gonzalez Byass cellar more and more. So, I would be Palomino Fino. I think Sherry is a summum and the more passionate wine.
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?
In relation with the previous answer, my favourite desert island wine is Sherry. For my favourite types of wine, only three? Is difficult, but dry old sherries (Amontillados or Palo Cortados), a great sparkling (mainly Champagne but also some marvelous Cavas), and in still wines, I love the top range of Burgundy, classical wines from Rioja bottled decades ago and Piedmont.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Read, search, share information, be proactive and alive. Choose the webs, writers or influencers more interesting for you and question anything to anybody. Read and hear are the best compliments to travel and taste to learn and to enjoy.
Juan Manuel Terceno Macho
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com