Our Sommelier of the month for October 2016 is Elliott Waugh, Hotel Manager at Rothay Garden Hotel. Elliott has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
What is your industry background?
My career started with a simple pub job and I quickly worked up the ranks to manager and also area relief manager for the Newcastle area and a short stint in Cambridge. I then moved into the hotel industry as restaurant manager here at the Rothay Garden Hotel and again worked up to Hotel manager.
Throughout my time at the hotel Chris Carss (owner) has taught me a great deal about wines and the benefits of using excellent glassware to really bring out the best in the wine and enhance the customers experience.
I have achieved level 2 WSET and find myself constantly improving my knowledge through my wine merchant and hotel owner alike.
Assuming you enjoy using Riedel glassware, do you have a favourite glass or decanter? What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in the different varietal specific glasses?
I must say that the Riedel glassware really does give the guest that WOW factor. Those guests who might not have a great knowledge of wine love it when a new glass is produced and it really pronounces that they are receiving quality service. Conversations often arise from this and its always great to share knowledge gained from speaking with John, who is our Riedel UK business manager.
Those guests with a little more knowledge are always happy to see a Riedel glass on the table and again it cements the fact that they are receiving quality serve and glassware that will enhance their wine.
As far as favourite glass goes I love the open wide rim of the Montrachet glass, and decanter wise the Evechen is stylish and modern which I believe fits in with the style of our restaurant perfectly.
What is your best experience in your role to date?
Many fantastic experiences, both professionally and personally. In a restaurant I feel the sommelier has the best job, everyone is always pleased to see the person serving the wine and imparting knowledge, chatting about wine related experiences/stories etc is a great way to start a relationship with the guest.
On a personal level I have been very fortunate to have visited vineyards throughout France and also one in Spain. The visit to Spain was particularly special as, after a tasting in Barcelona we were invited out to the vineyard a few days later. Our host was fantastic and after a tour they booked a table in a local village on the coast. Once fully wined and dined we took a walk along the beach in the sunset and I proposed to my now wife.