Life of a SOMM: #4 Matteo Montone
Updated: Apr 12
A weekly interview series about the work and dedication of sommeliers from all around the globe. After winning the World best young sommelier 2019 Chaine de Rôtisseurs award, Matteo graduated as Master Sommelier in 2021. Matteo shares his experiences working as a wine director at Edition, London.
Matteo Montone : ‘’Every time I achieve something important, I first try to convince myself that I have arrived somewhere. However, as you said, the outcome is the opposite. The achievement will actually fuel my next goal! It is a permanent learning process, never stop. ”
Matteo, your Court of Master Sommelier journey is quite unique. You started your WSET studies in 2013 and obtained your Master Sommelier degree this year. How did you manage to study and learn during COVID?
When the Covid pandemic started in the UK and we all ended up 24 hrs at home (especially in the hospitality industry) I took this opportunity – despite inevitable stress due to the uncertainty of the moment that we were living – to continue studying and investing any spare time on it. For this reason, I decided to buy a good amount of wine samples so that I could do tastings on a daily basis.
I also attended as many Zoom masterclasses as possible (we all received so many invitations at the time!) and continued training with other sommeliers remotely.
You are the perfect role model for young professionals; being a wine specialist and a dad. Do you have tips for parents who also starting the court of Master Sommelier Degree?
First of all, I must say, my wife’s role was fundamental. We need support throughout the journey. It might sound harsh, but this was my only focus along with family and children. I didn’t have any spare time for anything else. My advice, focus on your goals.
You’ve worked with Tobias Brauweiler. What key knowledge did he share with you?
This answer is naturally following from the previous one. Tobias had himself a family and one of the things I certainly learned from him is focus and dedication, but not only.
Tobias showed me how everything starts from the floor – many young sommeliers rush to become buyers or ambassadors in 6 months, but first, you need to lay the foundations and this is a long process. My experience with him at the Ritz made me an impeccable sommelier, wine service became one of my strengths.
Congratulations on your new job. Where do you work now?
After 4 years at the Edition, in May 2021, I took on a new challenge which I am very happy with. I am now a 365 Wine Consultant, I really enjoy doing wine judging, wine education, wine tastings, and masterclasses.
You won the World best young sommeliers competition. Did this competition fuel your motivation to go for the master's degree?
Definitely. Every time I achieve something important, I first try to convince myself that I have arrived somewhere. However, as you said, the outcome is the opposite. The achievement will actually fuel my next goal! It is a permanent learning process, never stops.
What’s your secret regarding blind-tasting wine?
My secret regarding blind wine tasting is, do not taste blind only. If you only taste blind you miss the foundations which comparative tastings can offer. My advice, do as many comparative tastings as you can in order to understand and make yours all the different wine’s characteristics.
Can you share a few new wine trends for 2021?
Non-alcoholic wine is one of those. Most importantly, Etna wines have become a big trend amongst the somm industry and are striking its consumer target too.
When borders open, which wine country would you like to visit?
I haven’t been traveling during the pandemic, at all. I do miss my vineyards, I miss meeting wine producers. The first region I will visit again is Langhe (Barolo and Barbaresco) – I am actually flying to Italy in two weeks' time.
Source: Matteo Mantone
Do you like to pursue another wine dream any time soon?
As I said, it is a permanent learning process, and I am always keen to embrace new challenges. Yes, I am working on a new achievement, I hope I will be able to share it soon.
Which MS should I interview next?
Kathrin Larsen, has been supporting my journey since the very beginning.
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