Name: Corrado Romano
At the moment: Italy
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
Living around Turin was probably the most important factor,I was always attracted by my family’s members attitude to open a good bottle of wine in special occasions like Birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations. I was terribly and strongly hypnotized by that liquid flowing in their glasses,creating a magic atmosphere at table.I understood in some years the value of the conviviality that wine should create.My willingness to deepen the wine world is the result of my choice of inscribing me at the faculty of Oenology at the University.My class was full of winemakers or members of important cellars and I had the possibility to improve my knowledge.I hadn’t any particular mentors at the time but my professional growth at time happened because I’ve worked for a few years in Barbaresco, in two importants wine companies.
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?
A sommelier must be always reserved,informed,ready to satisfy the customer or the guest with the best choice and not the most expensive.Remember the preferences or the choices of a guest for me is an added value for a sommelier coupled with having a deep knowledge of the menu and prepare some differents solutions to suggest.I admire the sommelier that suggest the BEST wine to pair with a meal and not the most EXPENSIVE at any cost.
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?
Considering that I’m still a young Sommelier,my recommendations are very simple and clearly understandable.First of all be humble than be curious,motivated and ambitious.Working with passion and motivation let you work better and tiring less than any other job you do without both.Team work and affinity are very important to do the best.My suggestion is to participate actively at tasting meetings,fairs and other activities linked with the wine world.Taste!taste!taste! Not too much but taste!
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
There’s a lot of informations in a sommelier’s mind when someone asks you for advice.You have to be right, honest and try to understand without asking any question. Then you have to choose and suggest based on your choice on that informations, thinking about pairing and also your personal experience and the pairing rules.
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 should really change your tasting sensibility. Using the wrong glasses will damage the wine first and then the customer’s experience. Based on my personal experience – for the important wines excluding Champagne – the Zalto glass is one of the best and let the customer feel all the aromas in the best way.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
I normally follow the pairing rules but not strictly because the experimentation of new tastings should apport new sensations, new emotions and …maybe some useful experiences for you and your customer. The importance is not to exaggerate – you don’t have to force.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
In my opinion the sommelier has to taste, if the company permits, the guest’s wine for some simple reasons: valuing the evolving wine, the evolving conditions of the cellar and to delete any doubts about the TCA or cork problems a wine might have.
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
Social networks are an useful instrument and many companies recruit and interview by LinkedIn, in some cases with Skype and others. Italy, in my opinion is evolving in this aspect but is a bit far from other countries like United Kingdom, United States or France for specific recruiting in restaurants and hotels. My suggestion, try with social networks but at the same time prepare yourself to deliver your CV and handling in directly to the HR department or at the Administration office.
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?
Location and historical background of a structure are very important, but more important is selling good wines in a correct price range. You just have to be smart, considering also local taxes and the price of origin of a determined bottle or vintage.You can have the cellar full of bottles worth millions of euros, but the goal is to sell that bottle to the customer in the best possible way by giving the best possible service and giving emotions.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
My goal is to stay up to date on new products by attending tastings with professionals but also by tastings with friends or colleagues. Of course one of the most important things is to visit wineries to understand the way they are working and their philosophy, but especially to deepen the secrets that can be behind a bottle.
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 wine producer must always be present in person at all tastings and at all fairs if he wants to be taken seriously. Today, unfortunately you need to be prepared to follow the mood and the trend of market. Internet is a very useful source of information for a winemaker. Being available at cellar door, presenting your own personal products and having salesmanship as well as good prices are very important qualities today.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Definitely I would like to be Pinot Noir, for its elegance and its versatility, its ability to satisfy different needs while remaining itself.
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?
As mentioned above, I can not miss a grand cru of Burgundy Pinot Noir, a Champagne Blancs des Blancs and a wine representing my home country, that is, the Piedmont, and then I choose a Barolo from the Castiglione Falletto area.
On a deserted island I would carry a Barolo Villero by Giuseppe Mascarello
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
I follow many websites and many blogs that talk 360 degree about wine. LinkedIn is a great digital platform for knowing and interacting with experts and professionals in the wine industry. Newspapers such as Le Rouge et le Blanc, for those who are passionate about French wines like me, is very useful but also great newspapers like Wine Spectator and Guides like Parker are very interesting.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com