Interview With A Sommelier – Luigi Conca

17th April 2024

Interview with A Sommelier Luigi Conca

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 Luigi Conca, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“I am originally from the Amalfi Coast, Italy, moving to London eight years ago. I didn’t speak a word of English, so had to start completely from scratch and throw myself into things. My first job here was working as a waiter for a casual banqueting agency, which helped me get up to speed quickly. I began working for the Corrigan Collection in 2017 as a Junior Sommelier at Corrigan’s Mayfair, and am now the Group Head Sommelier.”

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

“My very first experience with sparkling wine was with a sparkling red! I was gifted a bottle of Brachetto d’Acqui by my uncle, it is a sweet, sparking Italian wine from Northern Italy, and no Italian Christmas is complete without it. I drank it with a Pannetone – an unbeatable Christmas tradition!”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“Being Italian definitely helped with always having a passion for wine, but this has still grown over time. My first wine related job was whilst working at the Sky Garden, there was such an appetite for wine there, and I got to sample (and sell!) so much that it shaped my career into what it is today. The amount of work that goes into a single bottle of wine is so fascinating to me, and how it differs from grape to grape, region to region, producer to producer.”

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

“Pretty early into my career as a sommelier, I was always surprised by the difference in how sparkling wine is viewed and enjoyed in the UK, over how we drink it in Italy. Sparkling wine back home, it is primarily drunk for celebrations, or as a digestif after a meal. Over here – anything goes! Any occasion, any weather, at any time – thankfully it makes my job a lot easier!”

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

“My favourite sparkling wine producing region? Franciacorta, without a doubt. An underrated gem, particularly in the UK where Prosecco reigns supreme for so many people. Of course, I am still a huge Champagne fan, it’s hard not to be when there are so many fantastic producers out there!”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“My main tip for aspiring sommeliers is that people often forget to focus on what your guests actually want. What you want them to like, and what they actually want, can be very different things, and whilst it can be hard to not share a fantastic new discovery with people – not everyone wants that. It’s like a chef training themselves to hone the most important skills of seasoning, cooking, etc, rather than focusing on the next big trend.

Listen to people – if you have something similar, or a fantastic upsell that you know they’re going to like, then share that passion. If you’re just looking to push a big sell, that’s not a great sommelier.”

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

“It goes without saying that Bentley’s Oyster Bar is the best place to drink a glass of Champagne! Perfectly paired with a native oyster, there’s little better for me.

There’s also a perfect wine bar I found whilst touring Reims – Le Wine Bar by Le Vintage. It had truly every bottle I could ever want to try, and topped off a perfect visit to Champagne.”

Thank you, Luigi Conca, 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 Luigi Conca. 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.