Mr. Giancarolo Marena – Italy (Head Sommelier)

May 4, 2018

Name: Giancarlo Marena

Giancarlo Marena

Nationality: Italian

At the moment: Italy

Head Sommelier


Please tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular at that time?

When I started to work in the restaurant many years ago I was a  waiter in a nice Agriturismo near Avellino in a big winery where all the philosophy was focus on the Taurasi docg wine , I remember so good when the guest was asking me about the wine I did not answer because i did not know the  world of the wine ,and since then for not permit them to find me unprepared I began to study the wine and step by step I loved more and more this world until become sommelier today.

In that time I was following the sommelier courses and I took as my example of professionality “Fiorenzo Detti” my first great Teacher.

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?

I think all things you do you need to do with passion if you follow this  each things are more lovely to make .For my humble opinion the skills that each sommelier must posses are:

Humility (possessing it can learn all and have the knowledge you need)

Sense of sacrifice (it ‘s not an easy Job, much work and little time for yourself and the people you love)

Communication skill are very important because the sommelier is the ambassador of the wines that suggest

And remember that “you never stop learning”

Many sommelier are source of my inspiration and is not too easy choice someone but I need to say thanks to the sommelier that  allowed me to deepen my knowledge about wine as Virgilio Gennaro His was my Head Sommelier to Locanda Locatelli and Giuseppe Vaccarini author of many wine book that help me to learn many things.

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?

Have experiences in different places abroad where to learn to know the different international tastes and work with good sommelier who can pass on their skills, do not be discouraged by the difficulties .

When you are an Important sommelier please remember to transfer your knowledge to the young sommelier.


When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?

It’s very important to understand what the customer ask you , all the customer are different for the taste ,nationality and culture and we need to try our best for help them also thanks to our skills gained from experience .

What’s your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well know brands or are you considering new brand sas well and how do you determine?

Certainly the well know brands are a security because have a lot of experience in the production of high quality ,but  in the same time I am open to try the unknown brands ,the important things is to have a high standard quality.

What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?

So before I try to understand the taste’s people how ask me advice about ,then there are many philosophy about pairing wine and food ,I follow the mine wich is not to be too rigid the most important thing is the enjoyment of the people.

Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine

Not always ,I think just if is necessary ,that is if I have doubts about the integrity of wine or If the guest ask me to enjoy together and sharing our passion.

Where would you suggest a young sommelier(e) start searching for sommelier position on the internet in your country?

I think direct with the website of the good restaurant (michelin starred is much better because the service of wine must be high level),send the own CV and try ,try and try….

Or there are many jobs ads on websites of associations of sommeliers.


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 a tips on how to determine markups?

My opinion about, is that when we make a wine list we need to know  which kind of customer we cater ,give the priority to the area of origin , follow the seasonal, the kind of food we propose and the budget we have for buy the wines, but the most important thing is the sommelier philosophy. There are too over prices wines and to low cost wines , the important  is be consistent with what we do.

How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?

It’s very important stay up to date and embrace changes as an opportunity for revival.

How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you notice their wine and what’s the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?

They need to let us know that there are, by wine fairs events or must come in our restaurant and let us taste them wines or invite us from them winery and tell us about them wines.


If you were a wine,which variety would you be,and why?

Surely a Pinot Noir,because we are very similar at begin we are wary and nervous but with the time we became  kind and we give the best of us.

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?

Certainly you will find  a Barolo, a Red Bordeaux from medoc and a White Burgundy. Instead in a desert island I’ll  bring with me a Red wine from my Area, is it a Taurasi Docg.

Any interesting suggestion about magazine or online platform?

Sure , I love wine searcher platform because it’s a good help for find each kind of wine and ,but I think there are a lot of good magazine for my subjective opinion I love follow Decanter Magazine because reflects my thoughts about wine.

Giancarlo Marena

@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions –

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