Julia Sewell

How long have you been at the restaurant?

Since the restaurant opened in April 2018.

What attracted you to become a sommelier?

The idea of training your sense of smell and taste to be genuinely useful; and of course the wine.

Where did you do your training?

Mainly in Australia; the sommelier profession is very much based in apprenticeship-style training, and I was fortunate to have some wonderful trainers.

What would you say were the essential skills required to be a sommelier?

Patience, empathy and confidence.

What wines complement your personal favourite three course meal and why?

I would happily drink a bottle of Davide Leclapart l’Alchimiste Rose Champagne with every part of any three-course meal!

What are your thoughts on the “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish” age-old debate?

My thoughts run much more along the line of “Red wine with the person who wants red wine; white wine with the person who wants white wine”.

How does the choice of the right wines complement the different food courses served?

A really fantastic pairing can be a truly memorable experience; like an artwork that stops you in your tracks. There’s something very particular about how it feels to experience this as a flavour sensation rather than visually; it goes straight to your emotions.

What’s the best part of your job?

Wine!

And the worst?

It’s all best!

What is the unusual wine that you have ever tasted and why?

I suppose technically it wasn’t actually wine; but the most unusual drink in this category was a ‘mandarin wine’ made by my uncle. It tasted like oil and honey.

What is the most money that you’ve ever seen spent on a single bottle?

Over £17,000.

How many wines do you have?

About 6,000.

How often do you find that customers complain about wine being corked and – in your opinion – how often do you think that they are right?

We check every wine before it goes to the guest, so fortunately they never receive a wine that is corked. Once we did have a guest claiming that their wine was corked because there was a small piece of cork floating in the glass. That was an interesting discussion…