Interviews 2016



  • Interview with Nilesh Bootun, SEA Underwater Restaurant and Wine Cellar

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2016 and for receiving a three star award for three consecutive years. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    I feel very proud and also somehow accomplished by achieving such a prestigious and internationally highly recognised award for 3 years consecutively. I’d like to thank the WOFW team for the great job that they have all been able to put together and by keeping trend along with the current changes and evolution within the wine industry.

    I’d like seize this opportunity to thank the panel of senior judges for taking time analysing thousands of wine lists and having been able to recognise the selection made for SEA UNDERWATER RESTAURANT AND WINE CELLAR at Anantara Kihavah Villas...

  • Interview with Michael Sager of Sager + Wilde

    Michael Sager’s two Sager and Wilde establishments – Paradise Row and Hackney Road – are both recipients of a prestigious three star award, having them ranked as two of the top 350 wine lists in the world in 2016 – an outstanding result for a wine bar and restaurant in the competitive London hospitality industry.

    Sager, owner and wine director at Sager and Wilde, spoke to The World of Fine Wine about the business and his love of wine, with a “no bullshit” brashness we’ve grown to love. Finding the balance between finesse, quality and character, it is no surprise Sager and Wilde (both Hackney Road and Paradise Row) has been a success in the World’s Best Wine Lists since its debut entry in 2015.

    Balanced, concise,...

  • Interview with Michael Maller, Vin Rouge North Carolina
    Three star award winner – 2016

    Michael Maller, general manager and beverage director at authentic French bistro Vin Rouge in Durham, North Carolina, discusses re-designing a wine list in 30 days; daily wine tasting at Gramercy Tavern; mentoring under Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections in Spain, where he discovered an undying love for Sherry; and an unforgettable birthday in Chateau-Chalon.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2016 and for receiving a top-tier three star award for the Vin Rouge wine list – a debut entrant into the Wine List Awards as well! The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Thank you! It’s quite an honor. For many years I have taken a lot of pride in our wine program. It’s exciting to know that esteemed industry...

  • Interview with Mr. Paul Lo, Robuchon au Dôme at Grand Lisboa

    The World of Fine Wine talks to Food and Beverage Director Mr. Paul Lo of the renowned Robuchon au Dôme at Grand Lisboa, this year’s recipient of the World’s Best Overall Wine List.

    Congratulations! Robuchon au Dôme has been awarded the Best Overall Wine List in the World in The World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine Lists 2016. How does it feel to be recognised in this way?

    We are delightful for the result and we will constantly deliver an upscale dining experience focusing on quality product, wines, service and atmosphere.

    Where does your love of wine originate from?

    From the period of wine apprentice, exploring the extensive wine world makes me feel so excited.

    What do you think has influenced your taste in wine?

    Mainly from procurement as to sample a large range of wines for wine list selection....

  • Interview with Richard Healy, Rockpool Bar and Grill Sydney
    Best By-the-Glass Wine List-2016

    Richard Healy, Head Sommelier at Rockpool Bar & Grill, talks what has influenced his taste in wine, what makes his wine list stand out, and which young sommelier we should watch next.

    Congratulations! Rockpool Bar & Grill has been awarded three stars, the Best By-the-Glass Wine List in the World and the Best By-the-Glass Wine List in Australasia in the World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List 2016. How does it feel to be recognised in this way?

    Flattered and humbled frankly. We take a lot of pride in the wine list and the wines by the glass is a snapshot into what the team is interested in so it is humbling to be recognised in this way.

    I always think that if you have an interesting by the glass list that is diverse in styles, regions, prices and so on then guests will always want to keep coming back to see what is on offer. Hopefully this award piques the interest of all wine lovers who would...

  • Interview with Marinela Ivanova, Beverage Manager at The World

    Luxurious yet unconventional, The World is the largest privately owned, residential yacht on earth, boasting 165 opulent residences. As well as offering a diverse range of expeditions since 2002, the lavish ship also provides a diverse exploration of the palette through its six restaurants. Winner of the Best Cruise Line/Ship Wine List award, Marinela Ivanova, Beverage Manager at The World, tells us more.

    Where does your love of wine originate from?

    Wine has always been part of my life. I grew up on a farm in Bulgaria. Where I come from almost everybody has a small vineyard and makes their own wine; so did my father, my grandfather and their fathers. Wine in moderation has always been, and still is, part of the fabric of everyday life of our people.

    What do you think has influenced your taste in wine?

    Many factors; my upbringing, the sommelier school I...

  • Interview with Carlin Karr, Frasca
    Best Design/Most Original Wine List-2016

    Frasca’s Carlin Karr tells us about her love of fine wine, new trends emerging in America, how her recent trip to Austria inspired her, and what is next for herself and the Boulder-based restaurant.

    Congratulations! Frasca has been awarded three stars, the Best Design/Most Original Wine List in the World and the Best Design/Most Original Wine List in North America in the World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List 2016. How does it feel to be recognised in this way?

    Thank you! Our whole wine team at Frasca Food and Wine - Bobby Stuckey, Matthew Mather and Myself are all incredibly humbled and honored to be recognized in this way. We share a great love for wine with our guests each night and hope to continue do so for many years to come. For us, it is less about building a great wine list, but rather just about having thoughtful wines in our restaurant that can appeal to a wide range of our guests while paying...

  • Interview with Cheryl Wakerhauser, Pix Patisserie
    Best Champagne and Sparkling Wine List-2016

    Cheryl Wakerhauser from Pix Patisserie tells what being featured in The World of Fine Wine for the third year running means to her, her fundamental philosophy on food and wine, and what is next for her.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2016. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Well this is the third year I have won, the first year I was in shock, the second year I was amazed and this year, I feel proud – all the hard work that my staff and myself have put in, to be a part of this list and the fact there’s a publication that recognises all the hard work we put together is just awesome and I feel really proud of what we have accomplished.

    Where did your love of fine wine originate...

  • Interview with Andy Chabot, The Barn at Blackberry Farm
    Best Hotel Wine List-2016,Stamp of Excellence with Eleven Madison Park-2016

    The Barn at Blackberry Farm is a two-time James Beard Award Winning Restaurant, offering renowned food and wine that wanders the line between refined and rugged. Andy Chabot, Food and Beverage Director and Head Sommelier, tells us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2016. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    We are honoured to be recognised by such a distinguished group of industry insiders. We are a very intimate hotel in Walland, Tennesse, so it’s great to receive such recognition on an international level. It’s very exciting and I am incredibly proud of our entire Blackberry Farm team for their dedication and passion for quality.

    Where did your love of fine wine originate...



Interviews 2015



  • Interview with Raj Vaidya, Daniel

    Chef Daniel Boulud's world renowned Michelin starred restaurant boasts an elegant ambience with a delectable menu. Since joining Daniel in 2009, Head Sommelier Raj Vaidya has helped to develop the stellar wine list ensuring guests can expect the very best in the heart of Manhattan's Upper East Side.

    Where did your love of food and wine originate from?

    My love of food is hereditary, my entire family is obsessed with food and the table has always been the setting of all our great memories. I fell in love with wine organically, working in great restaurants and tasting more and more great stuff early in my career.

    Was it always your intention to work with fine wine?

    Absolutely not! I expected I'd work in either Law or Finance, and actually left the restaurant business to work in the corporate world. But the pull of great wine and food was too strong and I...

  • Interview with Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park

    Having worked in the kitchens at the age of 14, Chef Daniel Humm has earned an abundance of awards and recognition for his work. Now, as Head Chef/co-owner at Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad, he boasts three Michelin stars, six James Beard Foundation Awards, four stars from the New York Times and has been recognised by our panel as the Global Winner and winner of the Best Overall Wine List in North America. We caught up with Chef Humm who told us more.

    Congratulations on winning Best Global Winner at the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Thank you very much. It's very humbling to receive such an honor and it's meaningful because it recognizes the hard work of our entire team. Everyone in the...

  • Interview with Cedric Nicaise, Eleven Madison Park

    “To me, eating and drinking wine are things that can’t be separate from each other; a great meal is always complimented by a bottle of great wine” Cedric Nicaise tells me over the phone from New York. With both sides of the family being huge wine enthusiasts, drink has always been an important part of Nicaise’s life. Now a member of the esteemed Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York, Nicaise ensures that the wine list is just as spectacular as the food by developing a stellar selection to perfectly compliment the award winning dishes.

    While its multi-course tasting menus focuses on the agricultural bounty of New York, Eleven Madison Park’s wine list takes inspiration from Spain, Italy, New York, Germany and France just to name a few, ensuring the wine list is varied and vast. But most importantly, the wine list is balanced. “I think you have to be able to satisfy all of your guests. It’s very easy to focus on the high end wines only, but it’s...

  • Interview with Raphael Rodriguez, Fera at Claridge's

    Michelin-Starred Fera is Claridge’s take on modern British cuisine inspired by the changing seasons. While Head Chef Simon Rogan proudly uses the finest organic ingredients, Restaurant Manager and Wine Buyer Raphael Rodriguez sources some of the rarest wines, ensuring that every meal at Fera is perfectly paired. In this interview he tells us where his love of fine wine originated from, trends he is seeing in London at the moment and the secrets to his success.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    It feels great to be recognized by experienced professionals who traveled the world and dined in the best restaurants. It gives us a thrill, acknowledges our hard work...

  • Interview with Jordan Salcito, Momofuku Ko

    Since opening in 2008, Momofuku Ko is arguably one of New York's most talked about eateries. Under the direction of David Chang, the tiny yet prestigious restaurant located in the East Village serves a set frequently changing multi-course tasting menu using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Beverage Director Jordan Salcito tells us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    It's an incredible honor, and on behalf of the beverage team at Momofuku we're very touched to be included this year. Thank you so much!

    Where did your love of fine wine originate from?

    I would say it began with my father's love for wine (his...

  • Interview with Deniz Hardman, Royal Mail Restaurant

    Located within the Royal Mail Hotel, Royal Mail Restaurant serves high quality locally sourced nature-based cuisine. The vast wine collection which has been developed over the past 40 years is overseen by Head Sommelier Deniz Hardman. The wide selection and ideal storage conditions in the hotel's temperature and humidity controlled cellar sees the wine list regularly awarded internationally. Deniz Hardman tells us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in The World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    I'd like to thank the WOFW for recognizing the hard work and dedication of our team. It is always nice to be recognized for the efforts to maintain a list of this size and it can't be done alone. It's...

  • Interview with John Shuttleworth and Barry Scholfield, Rust en Vrede

    Often recognized as South Africa's premium wine estate, Rust en Vrede has stood peacefully among the vineyards of Stellenbosch for over 320 years and is the first to specialize in the exclusive production of red wine. The last 32 years have seen Rust en Vrede focus on Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot, with many accolades being bestowed upon the estate. Chef John Shuttleworth and Sommelier Barry Scholfield take pride in ensuring that the experience at Rust en Vrede is one you will never forget. In this interview they tell us about their philosophy on food and wine, current trends in South Africa and what they believe makes a good wine list.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?...

  • Interview with Joshua Skenes and Mark Bright, Saison

    One of San Francisco's most compelling restaurants - famous for its 22-course menu - allows guests to marvel at Chef Joshua Skenes' passion while working in the open kitchen. The wine list, carefully selected by Mark Bright, perfectly matches the cooking style. We caught up with them both to discuss their favorite wines, San Francisco's latest trends and more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Joshua Skenes: Great! Thank you.

    Mark Bright: It's always fantastic to receive these honors, especially from industry peers who know how hard it is to create such programs. But, we do it for the love of it, not for the rewards.

    Where did...

  • Interview with Thomas Pastuszak, The NoMad

    Located in the heart of New York, Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara's The NoMad is rooted in the same traditions found at the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. Its menu draws inspiration from Chef Humm's time spent in Switzerland, California and New York City, while the wine list celebrates great winegrowing from around the world with a wide selection of classic and innovative drinks. In the following interview, The NoMad's Wine Director Thomas Pastuszak discusses how he developed an interest in fine wine, current trends he's seeing in New York and what he thinks is the most important element of a good wine list.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    This is...

  • Interview with Nathaniel Dorn and Victoria Kulinich, The Restaurant at Meadowood

    This three Michelin starred restaurant takes pride in celebrating the past, present and future of Napa Valley. The food and drinks reflect the clam, tranquil ambience of Meadowood, taking inspiration from the world renowned Napa Valley and beyond. Restaurant Director Nathaniel Dorn and Sommelier Victoria Kulinich answer our questions about their 1,200+ wine list and tell us what they believe makes Meadowood so special.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    We are incredibly grateful for this nomination. It is a particular honor to be recognized by our peers. A big thank you to Neil Becket and the team!

    Where did your love of fine wine...

  • Interview with Normand Laprise and Maxime Lavellee

    For over 20 years, Toque! has been a leader in Quebec's gastronomy, quickly becoming a landmark in the last two decades. In 2012, the restaurant launched its very first cookbook titled Toque! Les artisans d'une gastronomie Quebecoise, a 400-page book outlining the philosophy behind the business. The locally inspired menu and all encompassing wine list has seen the restaurant earn an abundance of awards, from GQ Magazine, Wine Spectator, Gourmet and Food & Wine. Grand Chef Relais & Chateaux Normand Laprise and Sommelier Maxime Lavellee tell us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Normand Laprise : It's stimulating to know our work is recognized. The team...

  • Interview with Matthew Lamb and Rocco Esposito, Vue de Monde

    Boasting stunning city views, a delicious menu and a stellar wine list, Vue de Monde has long been recognized as one of Australia's finest dining destinations. Head Sommelier Matthew Lamb and Wine Director Rocco Esposito tells us about how their lover affair with fine wine started, what they thinks makes a good wine list, and what they expect to see in the next 5-10 years in the food and wine industry.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Matthew Lamb: Thank you very much! It's a huge honour to receive such recognition from such a celebrated panel of global wine authorities. We put a huge amount of work and effort into the wine list and program, and such...

  • Interview with Paul Lo, Robuchon au Dome

    Robuchon au Dome is located within the Grand Lisboa Hotel and boasts all encompassing views of Macau. The lavish dining room is adorned with Swarovski crystal chandeliers. Equally as impressive is the wine list, boasting over 14,500 labels. Food and Beverage Director Paul Lo tells us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    It is always a pleasure of being recognized, especially with this award.

    Where did your love of fine wine originate from?

    It started at an early stage while I was training around 30 years ago.

    What is the secret to your success?

    There is no such...

  • Interview with Mads Kleppe, Noma

    Run by world renowned chef Rene Red Redzepi, Noma is often recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world, boasting two Michelin stars. Combining the words “nordisk” and “mad”, Noma has proudly placed Denmark on the world’s gastronomic map. Mads Kleppe, the sommelier at Noma, tells us about the latest trends in Copenhagen, where his love of fine wine originated from and the secret to his success.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Thank you very much. It is nice to see that there is interest in highlighting different styles of wine lists.

    Where did your love of fine wine originate from?

    My passion for wine...

  • Interview with Jan Konetzki, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

    Jan Konetzki, Head Sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was born in Germany, where he trained as a baker, waiter and bartender before discovering his love for fine wine. He began his career in Michelin starred restaurants in his native country before moving to Switzerland and Greece. In 2009, he joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. In this interview he tells us more.

    Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?

    Jan Konetzki: We feel extremely proud and happy that the work and love we have invested in our wine program is being recognized by such an esteemed circle of professionals.

    What initially sparked your love for food and wine?

    JK:...



Interviews 2014



  • Interview with Raymond Blanc

    Chef Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant received a three-star rating for its wine list. It now has this World’s Best Wine Lists 2014 award to go with its food credentials. Chef and owner Blanc explains the role wine plays at his Oxfordshire restaurant.

    How does it feel to be recognized for a wine list that judges have described as one of the best in the UK and the world?

    It is indeed an honor to be recognized among the best among so many entries.

    How do you plan to celebrate this latest accolade and award?

    With a glass of Champagne with my team of sommeliers, bien-sûr.

    What is the importance of wine at Le Manoir?

    As important as food. One can't go without the other.

    How are references selected for the wine list? How closely do you work with the wine team?

    We only look...

  • Interview with Eric Ripert

    Chef and restaurateur Eric Ripert is best known as co-owner of legendary New York seafood destination Le Bernardin.

    But it is his restaurant Blue by Eric Ripert on the paradisiacal Cayman Islands that has one of the freshest, most focused wine lists in all of South America. We spoke to him about its brand new three star status.

    Congratulations on Blue Cayman Island's wine list being given the three-star rating by The World of Fine Wine. How does it feel for one of your restaurants to be recognized by such well-established authorities on wine?

    Obviously we are very happy to be recognized and it gives us a good opportunity to celebrate one of the successes of Blue. The recognition is great for the team and especially for the wine department.

    How will you and your dedicated wine team in the Cayman Islands celebrate this accolade?


    With some great bottles of wine!
    ...

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