Do you like wine? These days, wine, which used to be regarded as the preserve of the nobility, has become more familiar to the general public. As they become more interested in food and health, their interest in wine is also on the increase.
But when we want to enjoy wine with a meal, we might not know which wine goes well with which food. Which wine is suitable for each case? This is what the sommelier--the individual who needs to know how to match each wine on the wine menu with the various foods the restaurant serves--can help. They also help us to discriminate between wines.
This may sound strange to the general public, but knowing about the sommelier is the first step of learning about wine. The more you taste it, the sweeter wine becomes! Let’s go to the world of wine and the sommelier!
Reporter had an interview with Kong, Seung-sik, the sommelier and manager of Vine, a bar in the Lotte hotel.
Reporter (R): Could you tell me about the role of the sommelier? Mr. Kong (K): The term sommelier originated from the Old French ‘bete de somme’ (a person who drew an ox-cart). And it meant a person who managed the cellars where foods and wines were stored. However, these days it refers to a wine-judgement expert who purchases, judges, and serves wine.
First, I introduce the special features of each wine and any wine related matters to our guests. Second, I recommend wine that harmonizes with particular dishes for our guests. The sommelier takes charge of making a wine menu, buying and keeping wine, and managing a stock list.
R: How can one become a sommelier? K: Unfortunately, Korea has few educational programs for becoming a sommelier. These days, there are 3 or 4 educational facilities, but the contents of the courses are not adequate. You can learn about wine from the job at hotels or restaurants through related experience.
There is no actual certificate of qualification, because discriminating taste is subjective. The sommelier is a common occupation in foreign countries, so they have various books about the work of the sommelier. To study by oneself using those books is one good way. If you have enough money, I would recommend studying abroad.
R: Do you have any particular wine to recommend for those who are new to it?
K: There are too many kinds of wine to enumerate. But I would recommend Bordeaux and Medoc among French wines. They are moderately priced and taste good. Wines produced in Australia, the U.S. and Spain are also good for beginners.
It is said that western business is completed at the dinner table. And thus wine can be seen as the climax of business. Till now, Koreans have been ignorant about wine. But by meeting with Kong, Seung-sik, the Sommelier, reporter could get a chance to enter into this new world of wine. Wine is not just for nobles any more. How about stepping into the world of wine tonight?