Name: Bikram Gautam
At the moment: UAE-Dubai
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
After my hotel management study I started my Internship in a hotel in Dubai there I learned some basics of wine and I got my passion into wine. Then I started reading about wine and other beverages and never stopped There is not any specific mentor, I chose myself this profession because of my interest into it.
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?
Customer service skills, passion to learn new things, and passion for hospitality, knowledge these are the most important things. There are a lot but if I have to take name: Gerard Basset, Ronan Sayburn, and Brian K Julyan.
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?
If you really want to be a Sommelier then read whatever you get about wine, about food, about other beverages. Taste lots of wine and invest for yourself as well, like take WSET courses which is the best platform to learn about wine then CMS and all.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
I always go to the table and ask few questions like; what they or don’t like, what are they having and I normally ask what they normally drink with that food and suggest the best wine.
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 are most important especially for wine. I am currently working with Riedel & Schott Zwiesel in different outlets. Glasses can make big different on wines aromas and flavors like temperature. Same wine tastes different in different glasses.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
I would say follow the classic pairing but it depends everyone is different and everyone’s taste and palate is also different. The pairing I enjoy others might not. Most important thing is what your guests like and they enjoy according to that you can do the pairing.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
The Restaurant where I used work before, there we used to taste all the wines to confirm that wine is in good condition before it goes to the guest. But now I would say if a guest ask for it we can taste otherwise it is better not to taste.
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
Actually, in Nepal there is not huge market of wine and Hotels and Restaurants normally they don’t hire Sommeliers and I believe there are not lot Professional Sommelier in Nepal. For international job; sommelier-jobs.com is the best.
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?
First of all you should know your guests and then location & concept of your restaurant, according to that you can decide your wine list and mainly wine by the glass which is very important. Try to look for wines which are very good value for money. List the wines from new world and old world. There are lots of wine which are great but not so expensive.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
There are lots of web sites and magazines like Decanter, Wine Spectator and so on. Try to read those things because they will give you lots of updated information.
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?
Here in Maldives normally we work with supplier rather than producer and suppliers are very limited here. But producers along with supplier they frequently visit the Resort and they do promote their wines and it’s the best way. Organizing some wine dinners, wine tasting and wine trading will help.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Cabernet sauvignon. Grows everywhere, can tolerate everything, big & bold.
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?
Tignanello, PX, & Alsace Riesling. On a desert island I like to drink very chilled dry Alsace Riesling.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Decanter, Wine Searcher, GuildSomm, Wine Spectator etc.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – www.sommelier-jobs.com