Sommeliers gather for “intimate” tasting

19th February, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Importer JE Fells has hailed its inaugural “Wine Forum” for sommeliers as a success and hinted it will expand the concept to other parts of the trade.

Paul Symington

Paul Symington

The Wine Forum saw nearly 30 sommeliers from some of London’s leading restaurants, including Dabbous and Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, listen to short talks from Thomas Henriot, Miguel Torres Maczassek, Barone Francesco Ricasoli, Philippe Guigal and Paul Symington who also presented just three wines apiece.

The point of the morning’s session was to give a brief outline of each individual’s winery, a flavour of the wines produced and, more importantly, to provide some interesting and amusing insights into the producers themselves and their family histories.

So, for example, the group learned how Torres’ grandfather furthered the cause of Spanish wine by introducing the world to “Spanish Chablis” when real Chablis was unavailable in the Second World War (and that he’s a Barcelona supporter) and how Guigal and his wife are semi-pro ballroom dancers.

The presentations were also meant to prompt discussion and debate and while there was not too much of this there were questions from the floor on the addition of disgorgement dates to Champagne and drinking windows.

Despite the lack of questions, Gerard Basset MS who was chairing the event told the drinks business afterwards that the interest of the audience to all the speakers was palpable because “they weren’t talking among themselves.

“It shows how seriously they took it,” he said.

He stressed at the beginning of the talk that it was important for sommeliers to know “how these people and their wines fit into your wine list” and how personal touches could be used to sell wines.

Afterwards he told db: “I thought the presentations were different, we had some very exciting wines and we learned some great stories which can be used to sell the wines.

Miguel Torres Maczassek.jpg

Miguel Torres Maczassek

“We need stories because all customers are different.”

Steve Moody, general manager of Fells, told db that he felt the tasting was a “different” but also interesting way of getting across the “stories” of the producers and their wineries which was not always possible in larger tastings.

“What we’ve got to try to do as a distributor is connect the trade with wine,” he said.

“Tastings are grander, this was smaller and more intimate. In London particularly we have a big challenge.

Economically big tastings make more sense but there’s less time to focus on the stories of the winemakers which the prestige on- an off-trades need.”

Happy with the overall turnout and result he said that despite the on-trade focus first time around, Fells would “seek to open it up” to other members of the trade in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

ON-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

OFF-TRADE Sales Executive

Roberson Wine
London, UK

Judging Week Runners

Decanter World Wine Awards
ExCel Centre, London E16, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

Retail Commercial Executive

Laithwaite's Wine
Theale, Berkshire

Wine Buyer

Conviviality Plc
Crewe, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
M3/M4 corridor

Media Sales Manager - Hong Kong

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Regional Account Manager

New Generation McKinley
London, UK

Experienced Sales Account Manager – On Trade

Cantina Goccia
London and the south, UK

National Sales Manager – Premium Drinks

Core Recruitment
London based with national travel

Wine Trainee

Stone, Vine & Sun
Twyford, near Winchester, Hampshire

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 24th February 2017

The Prosecco Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th March 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 3rd March 2017

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters

The Global Rosé Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the launch of the Global Rosé Masters 2016.

The Prosecco Masters 2016

Now in its third year, the competition will reflect the growth in popularity of this fresh and exciting sparkling wine from the picturesque regions of Veneto and Friuli.

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2016

After the success of last year’s competition that judged over 250 wines from no less than 16 countries, the drinks business is proud to announce the third year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters

Click to view more