Masters of WineWith the desire for better appreciation and exposure to fine wine increasing globally, the Four Seasons’ dedicated team of sommeliers has grown. Today, guests can find these experts in each of the hotel’s five restaurants, ensuring an enhanced dining experience, paired with exclusive, oenophile insights.Being a sommelier isn’t easy. Knowing the intricacies of unique and remote varietals, adroitly uncorking a bottle of bubbly, ensuring a guest is never poured a wine emitting fumes of wet, mouldy cardboard… these are not tasks for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, with the palates of new generations of wine drinkers becoming ever more refined, demand for such professionals is rising like a bead in a champagne flute. In light of this trend, and to satisfy guests’ interest in oenology and wine-pairing, the Four Seasons determined that more than a duo of professional sommeliers were required to serve the hotel’s five unique restaurants.
OENO-VATIVE EDUCATIONAt the start of 2022, hotel management, alongside Head Sommelier Savvas Papathomas, began training seven young sommeliers to round out its team of wine experts. During the past several months, this group has been following the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) qualification course led by Yiannis Karakasis, one of two Greek Masters of Wine (MW), working their way up the programmes’ four levels.And their education hasn’t stopped there. On a regular basis, the sommeliers attend presentations by local wineries and their range of labels, as well as Savvas’ weekly lectures on diverse topics, based on team needs, and take educational trips to traditional winemaking regions, such as Italy’s Tuscany, France’s Bordeaux, Champagne, Côtes du Rhône and Provence, and Greece’s Amyndeo and Drama. The hotel’s team of wine experts has also helped organise and run the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale’s (ASI) 14th Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa, which was held at the hotel in November 2021, and crowned the region’s best. All of these efforts have already paid off for the Four Seasons, with Iwona Hereda, one of the team’s brightest stars and a WSET Level 2, placing second at the 9th Best Sommelier of Cyprus competition held in May of this year, an annual event recognising the island’s growing sommelier talent.MASTERFULLY GUIDING PATRONSThanks to the team’s newly-advanced knowledge, hotel guests have also been enjoying the enhanced services offered by the Four Seasons sommeliers. Every Thursday at 4pm, organised tastings are held, showcasing unique winemaking regions and varieties, and teaching customers how to taste wine and what to look for when savouring specific bottles. This experience has allowed the hotel’s new sommeliers to learn how to best interact with guests, while leading a professional yet intimate wine-tasting session.Meanwhile, tasked with guiding hotel patrons through extensive wine lists, representing dozens of regions and terroirs, and providing immaculate wine pairings to complement the chefs’ refined gastronomy, these rising wine professionals are demonstrating the multifaceted expertise upon which the sommelier stakes his or her reputation. The hospitality stakes are high, the excellence called upon, both subtle and profound. And yet the rewards – transmitting a passion for the lore and pleasure of wine from sommelier to patron – are undeniably worthwhile.
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