Sommelier Talks: An Interview with a Sommelier Giorgio Scarsella
Have you ever wondered what’s it like to have a career in wine industry? Or maybe you’re just a dedicated wine lover, who wants to know more? We put a spotlight on professional sommeliers and asked to tell us about their background, funniest stories and failures.
A few words about you, what do you do?
My name is Giorgio Scarsella, I am a sommelier at The Stafford London.
What was your background before you became a sommelier?
I have actually started pretty early working in the hospitality business and as soon as I have reached the minimum drinking age ( well maybe a little earlier than that) I fell in love with wine and kept on studying it, before that I was actually digging pipes as my step-father had an excavator workshop.
Did you know what is it going to be like when you just started? Do you remember your first day?
As I said I was already working in the business so I knew I was going to work for long hours and skip most of the festivities. Nevertheless, I think it is a marvellous job as you get to know many different people and culture, and you get to drink the best wines on the planet everyday, so I can’t really complain.
I cannot forget my first day, I was a commis sommelier (trainee sommelier) and the wine cellars used to be underground. Therefore I had gone up and down for every single bottle about 250 times, I remember changing 2 shirts in 4 hours.
Have you had any failures so far and how did you get over it?
Well, I think that every time I cannot please my customers is a failure for myself, thankfully it does not happen that often, at least that is what they say.
What is the funniest story ever happened to you at work?
A few years ago over the Christmas period I was so tired that I remember pouring some water in a white wine glass, fortunately it was still empty so everybody just started laughing and a gentleman offered me a glass at the end of their lunch, a glass of wine obviously.
Any practical advice for people who are considering to become a sommelier?
I would advise them to be ready to work week-ends, do lots of hours and study hard as the wine world keeps on changing and it is getting bigger and bigger, which I personally find fascinating. And obviously to be ready to drink a lot every day! (drink responsibly)
Bonus question: If you could only buy one bottle to drink in October, what would it be?
Well as October is the season of truffle and mushrooms in the Northern Hemisphere, I would definitely buy a bottle of an elegant red Burgundy. Most probably it would be a Gevrey-Chambertin 1er cru Lavaux-St-Jacques 2005.
Do you want to learn how to pair mushroom dishes with wine like a sommelier? Download Wine Picker, a food and wine pairing app for Android and iOS, that will help you to find the perfect wine for your meal and budget!