Name: Romana Echensperger
At the moment: Germany
Master of Wine – Wine Consultant and Journalist
Interesting link: click
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
It all started with my apprenticeship at Königshof Hotel in Munich. They were famous for their wine list and had a great sommelier. He let me taste great wines. I was immediately impressed.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with those qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
I think it is 1/3 wine knowledge and knowledge about economics, 1/3 psychology & humor, and 1/3 physical condition to survive the hard-working time.
In Germany I admire Marco Franzelin, Gerhard Retter and Marie Helen Krebs – but there are so many great sommeliers.
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?
It was never so easy to get a good job in gastronomy. In Germany, there are many open positions.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
I would ask what he normally likes to drink to get an idea. Then I would look at what food he and the guests get and
then I would test the price sensitivity by pointing to different wines in different price categories.
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 appreciate a nice and thin glass. However, I never made such a fuss out of it.
I think you need 4 different types of glasses: Champagne, fresh White wine, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
The glasses should be relatively robust.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Have fun, don’t take it to seriously, and just try.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
I know that there are platforms like a rolling pin but also very good headhunters like walnut careers.
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?
The wine list should fit the food style of the restaurant. When you are working in a classic French restaurant, you may not sell so much Mongolian Orange wine… For me, it should be a good mix between classics, new kids on the block, and personal recommendations of the sommelier. Don’t make too many wines on the wine list – better to switch. And pricing is always difficult. Depending on where you work. It has to be economical.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
Good question. Since I am a mommy it has become more difficult. However, for me, it helps to read magazines, Social Media, tastings and of course trade fairs such as ProWein
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?
In the end, you have to taste the wine. It helps when the winery is listed with a retailer you trust and that is already delivering wines to you.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I would be a Grüner Veltliner. Grüner wants to have it cosy in the vineyard, he wants to have enough nutrients and water and he brings cheerful wines that are lovely and easy to drink with friends.
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?
Silvaner – I am from Bavaria – and I love Silvaner. For me one of the most underestimated variety in the world! This is our „house wine“. Chardonnay – some good Burgundy and great stuff from the US…
Bordeaux Blends – I just bought some great wines from Israel. Enigma and Cabernet Franc from Yair Margalit but I also like Bolgheri, Californian Cabs, and of course Bordeaux itself.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
I like Meiningers Wine Business International. For me a great magazine to get information about the business side of wine.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – www.sommelier-jobs.com
Dominik Kozlik e.U.
4020 Linz, Austria