Interview With A Sommelier – Leonard Lievin

12th February 2024

Interview With A Sommelier Leonard Lievin

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 Leonard Lievin, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself & What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“I fell in love with hospitality and service since my young age by my parent running a restaurant in Alsace in France. I went to university to study informatics and coding but quickly come back in a restaurant. Alternatively, I was 21, and I wanted to discover the world and traveling. I spend two years in Canada as a waiter, then come to UK and slowly move to be a sommelier. I realised that wine was a deep source of knowledge and I wanted to jump in it, for that I came for 6 months in France to do an MBA in wine and spirit, following by WSET 3 in wine, spirit and sake to have a larger knowledge possible. I’m actually continuing with Diploma. In other way, I was also certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommelier of London and finalist best sommelier junior of UK 2023.

Through my life and my study, I was inspired by some of the best sommelier (and sometime teachers or mentors) of the word such as Romain Iltis, Serge Dubs, Édouard Oger, Isa Bal, etc…”

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

“I like this question because it means a wine by memory rather than by quality. Some good memory increases the quality of the wine, even if the product has nothing special.

I will always keep in memory, my parents drinking Lambrusco Amabile in hot summer, low in alcohol like flavoured lemonade and sometimes on ice.

I come from Alsace and the crémant is very important in my culture that I always try to find the best to compete with the neighbour Champagne. Wolfberger, Mure or Cave du Vieil Armand are good example of my first bubbles bottles.”

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

“The most interesting and challenging in the same it’s to adapt our speech. Indeed, some sommeliers are very into study but it’s very important to keep contact with your guest. Some know well, other just want to enjoy the best pairing. It’s very important to understand and to adapt ourselves for the best service. With connoisseurs, we can go more in details and take more time, whereas young couple who want to enjoy their evening, we need to be more briefly and describe precisely with easy words”

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

“As mentioned, before, Alsace will always be my place. However, with experience I was positively surprised by high quality Australian sparkling wine from Mornington peninsula and Tasmania, such as Ten Minutes By Tractor or By Farr. I really enjoy them and see a beautiful winemaking like Champagne come so far away, meaning that the passion of wine doesn’t have border.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“To become a sommelier, you must be passionate. A lot of work and time spend on it. An old friend of me, previously my assistant head sommelier says that the most important is not to pass an exam but to learn. And if you learn with this mentality, you will grow anyway because all your studies are made with love and passion.”

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

“I am in UK for long time now and I must admit that the quality is beautiful with pure and elegant chalk soil. I have the chance to visit and do tasting with the winemaker of Coates and Seely in Hampshire, Gusbourne and Balfour in Kent, Ridgeview in Sussex. Every tasting with exceptional with warm welcome. I advise every wine lover to directly visit wineries to have a full experience.”

Thank you, Leonard, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Photo Credit belong to Leonard Lievin, 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.