Interview With A Sommelier – Dylan Johnstone-Morris

1st April 2024

Interview With A Sommelier – Dylan Johnstone-Morris

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, England, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Dylan Johnstone-Morris, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“I was born in Plymouth in the South-West of England, and I’m currently the Head Sommelier at Blue Jasmine, a South-East Asian fine dining restaurant in Southampton’s Ocean Village. I’ve worked in hospitality, in one way or another, for about half my life. My Dad managed pubs, and so I learned to pull pints and serve drinks from a pretty young age. I’ve been a waiter, a bar manager, a food runner, and pretty much everything in between. Every time I leave the profession I always somehow find my way back.”

Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?

“I definitely cannot remember the first time I tried sparkling wine, but it was almost definitely some sort of Prosecco. I think there was a real boom in Prosecco when I was growing up, so everybody was drinking it all the time. Realistically though, I was probably just drinking it before a night out. I don’t remember particularly enjoying it that much. Some things don’t change, I guess.”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“I was working at a restaurant in Edinburgh as a bartender and remember their wine list being something like 800 wines. I’m pretty sure I found it totally pretentious at the time. Bottles of wine for £6,000 seemed completely crazy to me. Then I remember a customer leaving some wines for the staff to try, and one of them was the 1990 Château Lafite Rothschild. Drinking that was a bit of a revolutionary moment. I’d never tried something so complex and was fascinated by how these ultra-premium wines were so different to the usual two-buck chuck that I was used to. I wouldn’t say I was inspired, but I was definitely interested, and it all sort of went from there.”

During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt?

“I think the most surprising thing is that customers are actually very receptive to trying new things. When I started I was pretty much ready for a life of selling Pinot Grigio and Malbec – and there is a lot of that! – but I wasn’t prepared for the number of customers who say things like “give me something totally new” or “surprise me.” It’s a really great thing, especially where the world of wine is so vast and so multi-faceted, for people to go out of their comfort zones a little sometimes.”

What Sparkling Wine Producing Countries or Regions Hold A Special Place In Your Heart?

“I think it’s hard to say anywhere other than France. I’d probably say Champagne, but then I expect I’ll be told off for being boring. The quickest way to my heart is a nice balance between quality and price, and so I’ll say Burgundy or Limoux. Both are incredible in terms of quality, and both are so reasonable in terms of price.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“I’d probably say “never stop learning.” If you ever meet someone who tells you that they know everything there is to know about wine, then you’ve met a liar. People can study wine for decades and decades, and then a piece of legislation will change or a new disease-resistant varietal will emerge and bang, you’re learning all over again. It’s both brilliant and infuriating that the world of wine changes so quickly and so often, but at least it gives us an excuse to keep enrolling on courses.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“God, there have been so many. I’d probably say the most memorable is drinking Crémant de Limoux, surrounded by friends and family, just after marrying my lovely husband.”

Thank you, Dylan, 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 Dylan Johnstone-Morris. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.