Name: Sophie Lehmann –
Nationality: German –
At the moment: Germany
Sommelière @ 100/200 Kitchen – www (click)
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry. Did you have any particular mentors?
My first real contact with wine was back in New Zealand while harvesting. But the professional contact understands more and deeper while becoming a chef.
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?
Of Course, you need to have a good nose and should be able to remember taste and smell. But it´s most important to have a real interest in people, nature, and humans. Understanding the wine and then being capable to sell the right wine to the right person. Gerhard Retter was and always will be a sommelier I admired.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e)? How to find a good position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
Taste as much as you can. Go and dine out. And meet people that get to know you in person and will recommend you to the right place.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what, in your opinion, would be the best approach?
Most of the time I have an idea of what kind of wine style a guest prefers. But normally I start by asking what they normally enjoy and for recommendations from our wine list that match their taste (sometimes classy, sometimes fancy) and our Menu.
What is your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well-known brands or are you considering new brands as well. How do you decide?
I love glasses! Of Course. A very delicate Glass elevates the wine for sure. But also I think you should not go too crazy about the selection. I`m personally in love with Josephinen Hütte by Kurt Zalto right now. Especially the sparkling glass really shows off the wine.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Screw the theory and start exploring. And keep in mind what situation the pairing will be happening in. It might work in some and be totally wrong in another.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on pricing wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine markups?
Be clear about the taste world you are creating the wine list for. There are amazing wines all over the world. Go and find those that fit your style of restaurant and food. And then dig deep and find the treasures. I`m all about fair pricing. People shall enjoy wine, that’s what it is made for.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
Tastings and dining out.
How would a new vineyard get its wine noticed and what is the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
We are working with winemakers directly in most cases. Go and find small sellers or restaurants that fit your philosophy.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Chenin Blanc probably for its deep but still easygoing.
Which top 3 types of wine (your faves would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
Always sparkling. Always Pinot Noir (French or German and quite ripe) and a fancy “natural” like an orange or a pat nat.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Premium Sommelier job portal – www.sommelier-jobs.com