Interview With A Sommelier – Gary Butterfield

22nd August 2023

Interview With A Sommelier - Gary Butterfield

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 Gary Butterfield. Let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“Hi, My name is Gary Butterfield and I work as a Sommelier, I have been working as a Sommelier for the past 8 years and have a background in Fine Dining and Private service, I am currently working my way through the WSET curriculum and have my sights set on beginning CMS later this year!”

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

“I of course remember my first experience with sparkling wine, When I first began my journey in wine I was lucky enough to work with a very experienced Head Sommelier who lead me through many a great tasting, My first time tasting any type of sparkling wine was when I was 18, luckily for me it was Louis Roederer, of course not knowing that this is one of the biggest Champagne house’s I agreed that it was “good” to which I was met with a side-eye look, as my palate eventually became more trained I have grown quite a passion for sparkling wines and I love the challenge of blind tasting them!”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“This is a great question and I feel like most Sommelier’s can relate to this also, I honestly fell into it, I began my Hospitality career in the 5* Estate Dromoland Castle in Co.Clare, Ireland. I began as a waiter and because of my outgoing personality I became very friendly with the Sommelier team and in particular the Head Sommelier, after 6 months or so of having conversations about wine and viticulture my interest grew and grew until he approached me and asked me would I be interested in taking the WSET course. One thing lead to another and 3 years later I was still there but had been promoted to assistant Sommelier after my WSET level 2, so in a way other people’s passion for wine grew to become my passion for wine and inspired me to become a Sommelier.”

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

“For me the most surprising and interesting thing that I have learnt quite early on in my career is the amount of variety on offer in the world of wine, you truly can not comprehend how many grape varieties, wine growing methods, machinery or lack of machinery, weather variables and how altitude affects wine, there is truly an abundance to learn and that is why I love this industry, every day is a surprise!”

What Advice Would You Give An Aspiring Sommelier?

“My best advice for any aspiring Sommelier is to take your time, there is a very big world out there and a lot of knowledge in it, take your time to study, travel as much as you can and taste taste taste, we work in a very hands on industry so try to be as involved as you possibly can, with the right determination and drive you will achieve everything that you want!”

If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?

“This is the kind of thing that keeps Sommeliers up at night and in essence is why we do what we do, pairing food for me is always a pleasure and never a chore, for me I would have a very delicate Lemon Sole with Smoked Leeks, Nori, Samphire, Mussels and a Truffle & Champagne sauce to pair with that I would go with the La Riva Dei Fratti Spumante which is a Rosé Prosecco with high acidity and a great mousse, summer fruits and a hint of apple balance great with the delicate fish, the truffle & Champagne sauce is super rich and the Spumante cuts through that for a smooth fresh finish!”

Thank you, Gary, 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 Gary Butterfield. 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.