I met Anthony Mueller, after a long day of working and we started an enjoyable conversation along with a glass of wine, which will take away the tiredness of the day. We talked about many things; about his career, about the important aspects to be a good sommelier, about Inglenook winery, about his future plans for wine tourism and about wines in general. Why don’t you fill your wine glass with your favorite wine and join us in this conversation?
Before entering to wine business, Anthony started his career in the restaurant business. Being close to the food menu quite a long time, he couldn’t stay away from the wine menu. Year by year, with his commitment and hard work, he increased his knowledge and experience with wines. Now, he has achieved many prestigious certificates of wine and spirits: Level 3 Advanced Sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers, Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits from WSET, Certified Specialist of Wine from Society of Wine Educators and Certified Sake Adviser from Sake School of America.
Having all these badges on the lapel of his suit, Anthony does his job with passion; when he tastes a wine, he actually lives the moment, probably travels to the homeland of the wine that he tastes and comes back with all the information about it. He has an impressive knowledge of wines.
You need good shoes to be a good sommelier!
I asked Anthony, what his suggestions are to become a good sommelier. He started with a treat: “Being a somm is a really good profession, but most people don’t realize the amount of work goes in to it. There is a lot of paper work, more than you think!” Then he continued: “It has been 5 years that I have been on my somm journey. It takes a lot time and patience. If you want to be a sommelier, I recommend you a pair of really good shoes!” When I heard this I started to laugh, thinking that it was a joke, but it actually wasn’t! The explanation followed: “Because there is a lot of walking and running around, going up and down stairs, to and from the cellar, so you need a really good pair of shoes.”
Being humble and knowledgeable.
Anthony thinks that one of the most important characteristics that a sommelier should have is being humble. Because when the people come to a restaurant, it is their moment to feel special and they want to convert that moment to an actual experience. “When I work as a sommelier I like to think of the time when I was a child. At those times, I was going to my grandma’s house and she was cooking my special meal or special pie, just for me, I was feeling so welcomed and taking cared of. If my guests in the restaurants could feel the same way as I did; completely loved and completely taking cared of, I think I’ve done my job.’’ Another very important characteristic of a sommelier according to Anthony, is being knowledgeable, because the consumers will trust in your recommendation and make an investment on the wine that you are suggesting.
Tasting the history with Anthony in Inglenook.
As I mentioned in the beginning, it has been more than a year, Anthony Mueller is the Wine Educator of Inglenook Winery. With his own words: “I work in Napa, in this pretty chateau, beautiful wines, great bosses: The man who signs my paycheck is one of the most famous film directors of all time, Francis Ford Coppola, very generous, humble and elegant man. Our winemaker is Philippe Bascaules, the legendary winemaker, very humble man as well. So why wouldn’t I want to work here.”
Anthony explained to me that when the visitors come to the chateau, when he guides the tour, he gives importance to the history that the property has behind, which is one of the characteristics that differentiate Inglenook from the other wineries in the valley. “Our history goes back to 1879, during the visit you will learn about all the history behind, this is not just a nice day and a fun tasting, this is a thing that you will remember for the rest of your life.” And he added: “After the visit, I will introduce the wines and speak about the history behind them. As you taste the wines, I believe that they will speak for themselves!”
Next trip to South America!
Anthony has traveled and tasted through many wine countries, he visited almost all the wine regions of United States, Canada and Mexico, he had been in Australia and New Zeland, and travelled to Europe 9 times. So, I asked him the next destination and the answer didn’t surprise me: South America. “Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay… There is so much going on there. Tasting sparkling wines in Brazil, eating fire roasted meats and drinking red wine like Argentineans and Chileans are the next things to do in my travel agenda!”
I love all types of wines and I don’t discriminate.
Our conversation continued with different topics: Anthony’s special keen on the Sherry wines, the Madeira wine from 1908 that he has been keeping in his fridge for 4 years to make a toast on New Year’s Eve with his girlfriend Susan, and the Georgian wine tasting that he attended lately. In the end of conversation, Anthony admits the obvious truth: “I love all types of wines and I don’t discriminate!”
All images © 2016 by Nedret Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.