Name: Franz Schafelner
At the moment: Austria
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
My first encounter with wine has been the Austrian Wine-scandal in 1986.
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?
My mentors: Heinz Reitbauer sen. (Steirereck), Rudi Kellner (Altwienerhof) and Klaus Wagner (Landhaus Bacher ).
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?
A Sommelier should have the right feeling for the guests and off course he should recommend the perfect wines for his dishes. The perfect sommelier i know is Adi Schmid from the Steirereck in Vienna.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
The best approach if a customer asks you for advice on selecting wine would be to see what he get to eat and recommend him the best wine to his dishes.
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?
In my opinion the best glasses are Zalto, Riedel and Gabriel. Also i think that for the most wines you can take the Universal-Line ( even Champagne). But for special Bordeaux or Burgundy you should prefer the bigger glasses.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
My advice on pairing wine with food is that you have to speak to the customer if he has any preferences which wines he loves and then to recommend the perfect wines for his dishes.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Yes i think a sommelier should taste the guest’s wine.
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
In my country Austria it is not easy to find sommelier positions in the internet but they can contact the Austrian “Wine Marketing – Company”.
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?
Very important for creating a wine list for a restaurant is that you have to know which customers you like to welcome in your restaurant. Then you can search the wines for this people. I prefer to present the wines from the country where i stay.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
I travel a lot around the world of wine and so i know what’s going on in the wine industry. My wine and gourmet journeys ( about 6 – 8 every year ) keeps me informed.
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?
New vineyards should be present on the best wine-fairs and even they should organize wine-dinners in the restaurant.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
If i would be a wine i would stay on a certain point of Terroir, dry, fruity, mineralic. Because this is the way winelover prefer.
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?
My top 3 Types of wine: GV / Bordeaux / Barolo and my Desert Island Wine: 1961 Chateau Latour.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
My favourite magazines are Falstaff, A La Carte, Revue du vin de France, Vigneron, Vini d’Italia, Wine Spectator, Decanter. Online plattform i prefer “Wine Searcher” and “Robert Parker”.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com