Reality a long and wining road


Woodlands Winery hosts 15 Jack Mann cabernet vintages.
Woodlands Winery hosts 15 Jack Mann cabernet vintages.

THE life of a wine lover in the wine industry appears idyllic to those passionate wine people who are not in the industry.

The reality is – for someone who retails seven days a week, has a comprehensive tasting program, uses databases and social media, is a sommelier on the floor five nights a week (with regular tastings to keep up to date and 250,000 personal tasting notes) – quite different.

For example, on Monday, May 15, and Tuesday, May 16, I hosted four tastings on Burgundies and the Rhone Valley’s premiums with two visiting international Negociants.

I started in the office at 7am and finished as the sommelier on the restaurant floor at Lamont’s in Cottesloe between 10-11pm on each of Wednesday, May 17, Thursday, May 18, and Friday, May 19.

I completed Saturday evening’s regular eight-hour Sommelier shift before doing Sunday’s 12 hours with Moss Wood’s 56-person 4pm masterclass and 70-person 6.30pm dinner.

I flew to Melbourne overnight and then, with little sleep and while working remotely, visited the marvellous new Kisume Japanese (with Burgundies up to the 2010 Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin) for lunch and Chin Chin for dinner, before off to Sydney for a Lucio’s (Paddington) dinner (including the 1990 Hill of Grace.)

On Wednesday, May 24, we visited the wonderful and relaxed China Lane for lunch and then Neil Perry’s Spice Temple for dinner.

Up at 5am, back to Perth and finished as the sommelier at 10pm.

I was at work before 6.30am on Friday and hosted Heather and David Watson’s 15-vintage Jack Mann cabernet luncheon before being the sommelier in the packed restaurant until 11.30pm.

Then it was up at 4.45am for Lance Parkin’s 9am 42-wine Premier and Grand Cru White burgundy tasting in Margaret River before being ‘the wine man’ at a 5.30pm-midnight serious wine dinner party for 46.

Monday, May 29, saw a 7am start and 11pm finish – including a 12 burgundy tasting (mostly over $250) of Humbert Freres Premier and Grand Crus.

Exhausted? Yes. All too much? Yes. Love it? Yes. Idyllic? Perhaps.