Name: Carlos Alberto Medina Dorta
At the moment: Spain – Canary Islands
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
Despite I’m from Canary Islands, a vergel of pre phylloxera vines and volcanic soil, it was on a trip to Porto when I realized I wanted to be a part of it. My career was based on graphic design and marketing when i felt the call of the wine. She may not be a mentor but a partner. My girlfriend (now my wife) shared with me this passion, although I was the one who followed a professional path. As a mentor, one of my first customers, who later became a friend, is the person who I’ve learned the most from. He is a taster for a couple of DOs.
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?
There must be passion. You need a lot of time to learn and keep learning every minute. When you study wine you learn about geography, chemistry, geology, and general culture. I admire everyone who puts passion on what they do, from the people who harvest to those who design labels or the sommeliers. This is not just another industry. Customers prefer to listen about regions, and the stories behind the wine, betters than tannins, acidity, or structure.
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?
Try to sell yourself the same way you sell wine. Show your passion.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
I always try to find out what they are used to drink or what they like but not to give them more of the same. Their satisfaction grows when they taste something new. It’s important to detect if they’re really up for something new.
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?
I’m working with several models of Riedel. The choice is not only made by its quality, it’s also a matter of reputation.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Be open minded, but choose something you like. A perfect pairing is nonsense if you don’t like the wine that pairs perfectly.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Depends where you are. Every place has a different culture and habits. Here in Canary Islands we don’t tend to taste it unless the guest ask for it. Of course I love when they do.
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
First off, get into ‘the scene’. Meet people from the sector, go to events… My case is funny. I was interviewed for marketing purposes and I took advantage to get the Sommelier position.
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 mark ups?
It’s obvious but the style of cuisine is important. It’s a must to know what customer is the venue targeting to set a mark up.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
Social media is the greatest tool to keep in touch with producers and all the industry.
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?
Getting samples is always the best way, but again, the stories of the people behind is a great selling tool.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
This is a hard question. I think about myself as a Renaissance guy, so I prefer to be a blend of several varieties.
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?
In my collection you will find always some oaked whites. I like to take them to the limit. I’ve had great surprises with some bottles that weren’t expected to last more than a couple of years. As Well some sweets such as Port or Canary. My desert island wine today is ‘Marba Tinto Barrica’ (DO Tacoronte-Acentejo, Canary Islands, Spain), but maybe tomorrow I change my mind.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
The whole Internet is a gold mine.
Carlos Alberto Medina Dorta
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommeliers.at