Interview With A Sommelier – Marco Di Gregorio
26th September 2023
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 Marco Di Gregorio, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I’m a curious guy from Italy, sporty and a lover of healthy and fresh food especially traditional from all the countries of the world. This attitude to discover the traditions of all the places of the world started on my first trip in December 2013 for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia.”
What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?
“The Working Holiday Visa in Australia was a 2 year trip that inspired me to understand all the cultures of the world. This country is really rich in worldwide visitors interested in nature and living in harmony with it. During the last months of this long journey, while in Fiji (like the movie The Truman Show) an astonishing island, quiet and surrounded by beautiful beaches I was thinking about what I really wanted for my future and after some Kava relaxing ritual sessions, I took a flight back to Brisbane. Once on this flight, I drank an OZ wine at a high altitude, It was particularly astringent …at that time I thought ” Why is this wine so mordant !? ” on the flight that sensation opened me up to the idea. I also had a nice experience with the wine and meeting with a young producer of Brunello di Montalicino ‘Val Di Suga’ as well as many other Asian friends passionate about our Italian traditional drink.
So on this flight, I thought once I’m back in Italy I’ll study as a Sommelier because enology courses are too long to achieve at the age of 28 and I had the willingness to work in this sector soon.
AIs Italian Sommelier was a good introduction to the wine world, but I wanted to know more about the production so I jumped more into the production sector in New Zeland (Blenheim) by doing a long trip as a winemaker and vineyard operator between Switzerland, France, Italy and finally in 2020 I became a Sommelier starting from the ‘vines roots’.
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I was really surprised, especially this year, about the many styles of wines around the world you could make following and understanding the tradition of the places. The Sommelier sector opens up a huge culture that you need to feed it, always reading and understanding this complex sector and having other keywords to speak with the professionals of this sector. For example, in ‘The Arts Club’ my background helped me to gain more info from the famous winemaker and marketing manager that came there for the masterclass.”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?
“In this year and a half in ‘The Arts Club Dubai’, I always use English to explain all the characteristics of the wines on the list and try to get feedback from the members and learn from them the flavours and try to orientate him through a nice wine pairing.
I like it when the people after my presentation keep speaking about wines on the table”
In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?
“I think both are good sparking wines that should be matched always with food or alone if you like during a conversation. Prosecco with its bit bigger perlage could be paired easily with most dishes from an Italian kitchen, and that intensity of bubbles can easily clean the palate and give a great minty/green pear sensation aftertaste, especially with fatty foods (e.g. Polenta al Baccalà Mantecato clear the sticky sensation of fish/ Cotecchino Lenticchie with the fatty and salty sensation) that our Italian gastronomy present around the peninsula.
The Champagne with its fine bubbles a Magret de Canard’s high freshness could be paired more with the traditional French dishes starting with oysters … magre de canar which is not too fatty and really tasty and watery from raw internal protein”
What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?
“Don’t stick too much to the big brand or acclaimed wines, try to discover all the wines of the world and try to speak with producers or friends and people from the wine region that can give you extra knowledge that you won’t find in the book sometimes.”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“I think there is not a specific wine or a specific food that drives you in a good vibe dinner… Everything will be matched nicely if you do it with good energy, you will see every dish will be paired well if the company vibes are good, that will be the fuse to enjoy the food.
Nice food for me will be traditional food matched often with traditional wine, that you can otherwise bring to the table a finer wine that can enhance the food sensations without overwhelming them”
Thank you, Marco, 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 Marco Di Gregorio. 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.