Name: Frank Schulte
At the moment: Germany
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
My first contact with the wine industry was about 1986, when I took the opportunity to learn about hotel business in Wiesbaden, Germany.
My short travel to the Rheingau valley opened up my mind an I found it quite interesting.
My mentor at that time was an Italian guy, who was running the show in the michelin star restaurant, at the 5 star hotel I learned.(Hotel Schwarzer Bock, oldest Grand hotel in the world/opened in 1486.
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?
The most important skill has to do with empathy in the people. Wine business is always people business. When you get to know during your consultations with the guest or client
what is the access to the people, than you know it all. Of course tasting skills are also very important but nothing as much as the other.Secondly wine is always
an emotional thing to do with. If you can carry out the emotion of the wine to the customer, than you are 100 %.
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?
The question about where to find a good place to center your ass on for a while is very complex, because it depends on yourself and your abilities. The first years working domestically would be highly recommended and then go international. In 90 % the best learning is after your apprenticeship, for settling everything.
It is also recommended to see the production part of wine, as well as the service part as a sommelier. Only complete knowledge of the two sides brings you forward. Concerning glasses I worked partly with names but names are not the common case in the customers everyday life.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
When you get to know the customers taste within a few moments, then you can get very close. Important is to meet the customer at the same level as he is. Then everything is very simple. When somebody is very experimental, then it is easy. If not you get it by questioning quite quick. Wine and food pairing can be very exotic and depends on the experience of the client, if he is willing to select……
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
If it is appropriate at the very time then I would give it a try with the guests wine, but only if…..
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?
An excellent wine list does not necessarily indicate you have to have everything. First of all domestic winerys should be recommended most, then others. People get fed up with international wines, because identity is to be regional. Time has passed away where you have to go to a wine country outside.
A good and pricy calculation on the wines is a must. Please, people should have the possibility to choose more than one glass at a time.
Calculations up to 300 % or so is not necessary. It does only make the customer angry.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
To stay on the top you have to get the experience of all sides of the wine industry. Grower, service, customer/trend. To stay on the top does not necessarily mean, do everything what others do. That is mostly not recommended and leads to endless variations.
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?
Mostly I have my 3 month every year, where I get to know many new wines. I pick and choose. I stay in the area for a while to get all the benefits.
Listing is a good thing but does not bring you the variety you like for your job.
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?
At the moment I have no favourite pick, because it changes on my mood and situation. One of my favourites would be some wines from the Chateau Neuf du Pape area of course because I like complexity.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Finally to say, I’m not the online guy to follow everything. Networking on a high level is much more effective.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com
Dominik Kozlik e.U.
4020 Linz, Austria