Name: Nacho Ribera
Nationality: Catalan (Spanish)
At the moment: Brazil
Head Sommelier & Wine Consultant
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
My first encounter with wine, (serious encounter) it was when I was 20’s and I lived near Vila Viniteca, in Barcelona, a nice wine shop, where they did tasting day with Priorato and Rioja wine.
Quim Vila is the owner, and he’s one the best wine professionals in wine industry that I know.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with that qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
The only thing that I can say is try to be honest and modest. Wine was invented long time ago we were here. We had a lot to learn about it, all the people who works with wine.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
With wine you must go step by step.. after one door is open then another is coming, never stop learning.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
Try to put myself in the position of the customer, not thinking on my taste. What I think is good and I like for me, not always work with the others.
What’s your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
Glasses are important, but sadly 95% of my customer doesn’t know about glasses, so a nice red one and a nice white one, is all about that matters here in Brasil, sadly. Many of my colleagues, doesn’t know that you can have a Syrah glass, for example..they never saw it..
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
For me is all about delicate harmony rules and try to be comfortable with wine and your food and don’t invent fairy tales..
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine markups?
The key for me is to be realistic with the menu, and try to be fine, harmonious and work beside. The ridiculous prices for me are killing the habit of drinking wine in a democratic way.
How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you to notice their wine and what’s the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
New vineyards must see the tradition and the new food reality that are making trends in the world.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I would like to be a Pinot Noir.
What are the top 3 types of wine (your faves) would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
A Riesling from Alsace, Pinot from Bourgogne, and a Barbera from Piemonte.
Any of this three wines could be my desert island wine.