No two days for me are the same, but no matter where I am in the world, there is always a common thread running through my daily life: wine.
Unlike most mornings, today is an especially early start. I’m touching down in London at 7am after a weekend spent in Düsseldorf at Prowein with Hubert Piel of Clos St. Fiacre. With a head full of new ideas, I drop my bags at home in Clapham and I’m off to our office in Chinatown to get a jumpstart on the week.
I arrive to Gerrard Street where our office overlooks the street below packed with delivery vans unloading what will become tonight’s dinner. In addition to running Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in London, I also look after the wine list at Experimental Beach, our group’s seasonal beach bar & restaurant in Ibiza. We’re reopening there in a few weeks, so I’m putting the final touches on the menu, making sure that we have ample amounts of rosé and champagne to serve throughout the season.
For lunch, I’m off to meet Francesco Cali from Sardinian Wines at Palomar. It’s essential that I spend some time in other restaurants, better understanding what other people are doing, and with suppliers, our lifeline linking us to some of the best wines around the world.
As a sommelier, my job doesn’t begin and end at the bar. My eyes and ears are constantly open, looking for new ideas, new finds on wine lists, spending time with producers, suppliers and other sommeliers.
Following lunch, I head to our wine shop, Compagnie Delicatessen, which doubles as the cellar for Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. With the help of our assistant manager Maurine Cailleau and our shop manager Hélène Augustin, we go through our inventory making sure there are no gaps in our stock. I spend about 1-2 hours per day going through our inventory and placing orders. Although it seems a fairly mundane task, I find it strangely therapeutic, knowing that no matter what happens that evening, we’ll at least have some amazing wines to serve!
Today, I’m also meeting our chef, Ilaria Zamperlin. She’s putting together our new spring menu so we’re going through some new dishes that she’s proposing. With springtime finally shedding some sunlight on our terrace, we’re opening up for lunch as well, so she’s brimming with ideas.
I’m fortunate to work with an amazing team of women at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels. Although some working alongside men is great, it’s refreshing for me to have a team made up of nearly all women.
Afternoon quickly turns into evening and I have to prep for a wine tasting in our private tasting room above Compagnie Delicatessen. Tonight, Geoffrey from Androuet Cheese Shop in Spitalfields Market is serving and presenting five cheeses alongside five French wines I’ve selected.
Since we opened the private room, we’ve received loads of requests for wine tastings, so much so that we started hosting monthly wine tastings for the public, with a new topic each month. I’ve always been fascinated by the history and anecdotes of each wine that we serve, so for me, the wine tastings are an excellent avenue to wax poetic about stories I’ve learned along the way.
Tasting done and dusted, I leave our guests to enjoy the rest of the wine we opened and head back to the wine bar to make sure all is well. On most evenings, I stay until closing, but today has been particularly long. I make my way back to Clapham, stopping to see a friend along the way for a quick cocktail. Tomorrow is another big day so it’s off to bed at a reasonable hour.