Unfiltered: Stephane Giornal, Vinoteca

Stephane Giornal is the wine shop and warehouse manager at Vinoteca’s Kings Cross branch – part of a chain of wine-focused restaurants, each with their own personality and menu, that started in Farringdon in 2005. Prior to joining Vinoteca, Frenchman Giornal was in charge of the bar at Bistrot Bruno Loubet, attached to The Zetter Hotel, who he counts as one of his greatest gastronomic inspirations.

What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?

A pint of cold beer.

What’s your most embarrassing front-of-house moment?

Dropping a bottle of wine in the middle of the floor during service.

If you could give your younger self advice when starting out as a somm, what would it be?

Spend more time trying wine and attending as many wine tastings as possible.

Has a wine every given you an epiphany? Which one?

Yes, Montagny 1er Cru ‘’Cuvee Les Grapes d’Or’’ Dom. Feuillat Juillot.

Which customer habit annoys you the most?

When they pretend they know more than you just to impress friends that they are with and what they say is completely wrong.

Who is your inspiration in the gastronomic world?

A French Chef I used to work with, Bruno Loubet.

What’s your ultimate food and wine pairing?

A nice glass of heavy, full-on red wine and a cheese board. I’m French!

Where would your fantasy vineyard be?

On a little hill on a tropical island.

If you weren’t a sommelier, what would you be doing?

An architect – that’s what I studied.

Which wine (grape/style) do you find it impossible to get along with?

Beaujolais wines.

Who is the most memorable customer you’ve ever served?

A customer that took my recommendations from food to drinks, and was so happy and wrote an amazing review about my service.

What else would you like to achieve in your life?

To open my own business.

What would be your desert Island wine?

A nice bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.

What is your life motto?

Life’s too mysterious to take too serious.

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