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  • Loïk Tavernier – France/Switzerland – Chef Sommelier/Sales Manager(current)

Name: Loïk Tavernier

Loik Tavernier

Nationality: French
At the moment: Switzerland (Suisse)

Chef sommelier, Sales Manager

Prerequisite: 

Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Anyparticular mentors at that time?

I got my sommelier diploma in 2002 and I started my career in the five star hotel Dromoland Castle in South of Irland.
One evening a Guest offered me a glass of his Pétrus 1998 that I served him.
I took a moment for myself after the service to savour this wine and I will never forget this taste.

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 wineindustry?

A Sommelier must be able to transmit his knowledge and adapt himself to all kinds of people.
I would like to pay tribute to Philippe Faure-Brac for whom I worked as Sommelier in Paris between 2003 and 2005.
He won the title of Best Sommelier in the world 27 years ago and he is still very involved with the new generation of sommeliers .

What would be your advise to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?

My first idea before entering in Catering business was to travel and I have worked in 7 different countries .
It made me learn different ways of working and allowed me to get my first position as Head Sommelier for a 3 Michelin stars at only 26 years old.

Now I have been settled with my family for 10 years and I do recommend to young sommeliers to make their own experience traveling across the world .

The best website is definitely https://www.sommelier-jobs.com/ !

Active: 

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

Many people have a lot of pleasure with wine and food pairing and I practice it a lot in my restaurant.
The problem is that for each person the taste is different, even more if the people are not from the same continent.
My experience teaches me, that what really matters for your guest is to give a good experience of your restaurant by respecting his own taste and adapt yourself to his mood.

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?

I have been working with Riedel for many years and now I am with Spiegelau glasses. They are both very good for restaurants because they have a nice shape and they are strong enough.
I also work with Chef & Sommelier glasses to give courses to students, they are very efficient for describing the aroma.

What advice would you give people on pairingwine with food?

Their are 3 classic ways for wine pairing :
– harmony
– opposite
– regional
If you try several wines during your meal it is better to start with the lightest and finish with the strongest.

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

If you are working in a Michelin star restaurant and the guest orders a specific type of wine from a special vintage you must take time to  make sure the bottle is in perfect condition before you serve it .
Nowadays the sommeliers aren’t only working in gastronomic restaurants, our profession is becoming more and more
popular and you can not always spend so much time for each bottle. If you have enough experience you can detect most of the defects by smelling the corks and then you can try it if you have any doubts .

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

The first step is to contact the ASSP « Association des Sommeliers Suisses Professionnels ».
Then you might get in touch with one of the 3 regional associations of sommeliers.
On the French Swiss part we have a  WhatsApp group « Swiss Sommeliers » with 150 people and we are able to share job ads.

Wine list: 

What are the key ingredients for creating a winelist for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine mark ups?

When you arrive in a new restaurant, you don’t really create a cellar, you take over the stock of wine that has been left by the sommeliers before you.
It gives you a base that the regular customers like. Then you have to make your own decisions but the goal is always to satisfy your guests !
For example if you are looking for young customers then you might have to follow the wine trends !

The new generation of guests  are using applications by scanning the label of the bottles .
It takes them less time than you to know everything about the wine even the cost and the closest place to buy it.
It is now dangerous for a restaurant to charge disproportionate prices on their wine list.

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

Unless there is a big change in the quality, I am faithful to the wine makers I’ve been working with in previous years.
I’m used to meet the wine makers and the suppliers in the morning before I start anything else.
Even if we don’t try wine we are able to share news and it allows me to be aware of the future wine they are making.

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 ?

It’s never easy to choose a new reference on the wine list that already counts more than a thousand.
For me the best way is to have a sample and organize a wine tasting with other sommeliers. We will select 10 to 15 bottles that might be interesting and we try them on blind tasting.

Favourite pick: 

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

If I were a wine I would like to be a Heida from Visperterminen at 1100m altitude. This grape variety better known under the name of « Savagnin blanc » in France makes amazing quality in the mountains of Switzerland !

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?

I was born in Brittany and I spent my first 14 years living in Africa. This explains why I am not really attached to one vineyard and it also gives me the flexibility to love any wine from the world.

As a white wine :
Sauvignon blanc and Muscat « Loup dans la Bergerie » by Domaine de l’Hortus, Languedoc, France

As a red wine :
Cornalin / Merlot / Cabernets « Clos Tsamphéro » , Valais, Swiss

As a sweet wine :
Petite arvine, « Grain noble » Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, Valais, Swiss

If I had to choose only one bottle to take with me on a desert island it would be a nabuchodonosor of Côte Rôtie by « Rémi Niero », Rhône Valley , France

Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?

We have been created our own YouTube channel « Sommeliers Suisse » to be able to transmit our knowledge about Swiss wine.

For the second year we are organising the « Swiss Sommelier Challenge » and it’s really exciting to see this vidéos of sommeliers of every age and from all over the world, showing their skills and their approche of the wine

You can watch them on :
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChb9MafxsRoDP1r0sbPmX2g

This shows very well that through the network, the community of sommeliers from around the world is able to communicate and to federate very easily into common action.

Kind Regards

Loïk Tavernier

 

@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – www.sommelier-jobs.com

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