Mr. Zareh Mesrobyan – Bulgaria / UK – Head Sommelier

July 26, 2019

Name: Zazeh Mesrobyan

Nationality: Bulgarian

At the moment: UK


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 was when I was working as a commis waiter on a cruise ship. It was an Italian company so there was a nice Italian wine selection and my headwaiter at that time, showed me how to open and serve wine.

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?

Definitely the inherent aptitude to learning, but being humble as well. You shouldn’t show off with your knowledge in front of the guests. Ronan Sayburn is the perfect example, he knows so much but is so down to Earth.

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?

Definitely a big wine market, so a commis sommelier should choose places like London, Paris, NYC just because the exposure to the wine market there is huge. There are tastings almost every day so they get to experience the wines they are learning about.


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

First to ask them what they usually drink and trying to narrow down the style and very importantly the budged. I wouldn’t like to embarrass customers in front of their peers.

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?

Zalto is definitely the leader at the moment. However I am currently working with Spiegelau which offer amazing quality.

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

Don’t be scared to pair red wine with fish. Some light German or English Pinot noirs have done it for me in the past.

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

Yes, definitely. Not only it prevents faulty wine being served to the guest but also lets the somm be more familiar with their wine and they can make better recommendations later.

Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?

In the UK for sure Caterer. The most responsible employers post their ads there.

Wine list:

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?

Most important ingredient is the food. The wine list needs to be built around the food so it maximizes food and wine pairing. The markups are determined by the sommelier’s ability to negotiate a good deal with the supplier and his consistency in controlling the costs and wastages.

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

Subscribtions to magazines and reading everyday about the development of the wine world. Speaking to my peers as well.

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?

A new vineyard should find the right supplier who can market and sell their wines . Obviously quality is essential for the supplier to be able to do so.

Favourite pick:

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

Arneis cause I am a little rascal

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?

Californian Pinot noirs. I think that’s the future

Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?, there is no better source, for sure

Zareh Mesrobyan

@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers –

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