Interview With A Sommelier – Antonio Polise
2nd August 2023
The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.
In this feature, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Antonio Polise. Let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I define myself as an ambitious and a willing guy from Italy, with a strong personality, always ready to solve any problems life puts me ahead of, I like to take risks when it is worth it and take responsibility if my choices are wrong. I have always been taught by masters, and I want to teach to make masters. I have always thought that to make a strong man, it needs a strong team, and one of my important points to have a strong one is to trust in people giving them responsibilities, especially the youngest passionate people.”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“I became a sommelier for a personal challenge at the very beginning, my father has made wine since forever, and when I started to work with him, I understood that I really liked the wine, and the first thing I thought was to become a sommelier at a higher level and show him that I could do this job in the best places in the world, so I started to study wines, and I got my first diploma as a sommelier with AIS ( Association Italian Sommelier). Then I moved to London. For the first six months, I started as a pizza chef to learn the language, after I started as commis sommelier at the Savoy grill of Gordon Ramsay, I was there for 4 years until the position of deputy head sommelier, I reached a lot of objectives like WSET, best UK sommelier ’16 and ’17 semi-finalist. After I moved to The Square, a Michelin star restaurant in Mayfair as head sommelier, my first experience as head, after a year I moved to Italy to try the experience in Italy, precisely I was working in Positano at the Sirenuse hotel for 2 seasons, then I moved again to London starting again as a head sommelier to Nusret and after six months I moved to this company the LSL Capital, a company based in Mayfair which currently own 5 restaurants, and at moment I am looking after the new opening Socca, a French restaurant with Claude Bosi.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I started as a sommelier in 2015, and from the first day until now I am still learning, every day is different and every day something happens, positive or negative. An important thing that I learned so far, is to treat the customer in the way you wanted to be treated to deliver an outstanding experience, many time is not easy to understand that and it’s easy to get frustrated, but of course, every customer is different and it is important many times to be as flexible as possible, always in the limits of course.”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?
“I would say quite often, nowadays with these changes of temperatures and the new wine techniques they have nothing to envy from many top Champagne and Franciacorta.”
In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal
“I think that a good job is made by the varieties of Cremant all over France, made also in different methods, as well as some Cap Classique from South Africa, some of them make very complex and interesting wines, which can complement a meal even without the most classic sparkling wines.”
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?
“In every place, I have been so far, I have always made myself a question: what can I learn from here and the people working here? Today the hospitality industry has changed a lot and is not easy to find a mentor or a place that can give inspiration like in the past years, what I can suggest, if someone is very passionate and wants to start this path, is to find a place and people that are still able to teach and inspire the art of the wine. Because at least in my case, beyond my passion about wines, I have always been inspired by the places and people working in it.”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“A match that I am in love with is the Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc by Taittinger with grilled lobster.”
Thank you, Antonio, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Antonio Polise. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.