Interview With A Sommelier – Daniel Mwangi
9th February 2024
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 from Kenya, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Daniel Mwangi, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I am Daniel Mwangi from Kenya. I am a Sommelier for Celebrity Cruises based in Florida, USA. I have previously spent a fair share of my 8 years in Dubai working in various high end hotels and restaurants.”
Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?
“It was in 2017 when I began my hospitality career at Renaissance Hotel in Business Bay Dubai. I was working for an American Michelin star chef and restaurateur; Gypsy Chef David Myers in the former Bleu Blanc restaurant. We used to have regular wine tastings to get ready for the pre-opening of the restaurant and that was the first time I tasted sparkling wine. It was a Taittinger Brut, a Champagne rosé and Prosecco that were wines by the glass. I fell in love with the freshness of the brut, the aromatics of the Champagne rosé and the fruitiness of the Prosecco.”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“It was through the inspiration I received from my teammates while working as a waiter in Bleu Blanc restaurant that I developed a special place for wines. Most of them came from wine producing countries like Spain, Italy and France and they had wine knowledge at their fingertips. The lingo and wine jargon frequently used by our head sommelier Ms.Tara made me fall in love with wine even more. Her wine knowledge and eloquence greatly inspired me to get into wine. The hotel hugely impacted my wine journey as it sponsored my level 1&2 and then I took over to further my wine studies on self sponsorship.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt?
“That wine is as broad as the ocean, the more you learn the more you realise what you don’t know. It begins like a swim in the pool, then you graduate to a river, to a lake and later on you find yourself swimming in the ocean the deeper you venture into it.”
What Sparkling Wine Producing Countries or Regions Hold A Special Place In Your Heart?
“South Africa’s MCC from my motherland Africa is a great sparkling wine. It has pushed its way up the market over the years to compete with the ‘giants’. Am proud of it!
France also holds a special place in my heart. A glass or a bottle of Champagne for a special occasion is always a great choice especially when paired with the right food.
Italy as well has a special place in my sparkling wine choices, especially with the fresh and crisp Franciacorta from Lombardia which I got introduced to by my former head sommelier Mr Nicola from Italy whose love for Italian wines was unrivalled.”
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?
“To aspiring Sommeliers studying hard and keeping yourself up to date with the emerging trends is very important. There’s always something new to learn every day as far as wine is concerned.
You also need to uplift others by sharing your knowledge. The more you share the more you are willing to learn (Iron sharpens iron!) Always be very approachable and treat others with respect no matter if you become the only master of wine in your country.”
Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?
“The most memorable place I have enjoyed a glass of bubbly is onboard the cruise ship on the open deck in the middle of the ocean at night. The peace that comes with listening to the waves in the middle of the ocean is unexplainable. Try it sometime!”
Thank you, Daniel, 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 Daniel Mwangi. 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.