Interview With A Sommelier – Sean Crosby

1st July 2024

Interview With A Sommelier Sean Crosby

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 gentleman working in London, from the USA, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Sean Crosby, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

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

“Thank you so much for interviewing me, Oliver! I grew up in a very small coal-mining area in Northeast Pennsylvania, and lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life, until very recently. I started working in education as a teacher of theology and philosophy after graduating from college. After teaching for a number of years, I found myself leaning more and more towards hospitality. I would say my perception of working in restaurants had shifted from a placeholder for careers to seeing it as a worthwhile and exciting career in itself. From my days in teaching, I loved being able to break down complex ideas and make them digestible for my students. I always like to make the joke “If I could make my students understand Plato, I can make you understand Burgundy.” Being able to make guests feel comfortable about wine and approaching new varieties and regions with curiosity and enthusiasm is what makes this job so worthwhile. Now being in London with the team at Restaurant Story is a dream come true, especially with a team that is always growing and learning.”

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

“I wouldn’t say that I can remember my very first sparkling wine experience, mainly because it was more likely than not a glass on New Year’s many years ago and I hadn’t paid much attention to the moment. However, English sparkling wine had been and continues to be, an exciting area that drove me to move to the UK to see it first-hand.

While I was working in Pennsylvania, my Wine Director had placed an English sparkling wine on the list, and at the time I had barely begun my career as a sommelier. I remember hearing about England making sparkling wine but hadn’t tasted it, let alone seen it in any of my local wine shops. After a guest had ordered it, I had a taste and was instantly blown away. The bottle was the 2016 Ridgeview Estate ‘Bloomsbury’. I remember standing in the wine cellar in the back of the restaurant and thinking “This is exciting! I need to look into this.” Ever since I tasted that bottle, I’ve been hooked.”

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

“There are plenty of things that I’ve picked up during my career and I’m sure it would be universal among the community to talk about constantly learning about regions and new varieties. For myself, it was learning patience and collaboration. Being with such a skilled team of chefs, you’re always seeing how wines play with textures and flavors in new and exciting ways. Seeing the relationship between food and wine, how they transform each other is something that truly never gets old.”

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

“England absolutely holds that place for me. Seeing the innovation and new ways that these producers are honing their craft is such a joy to witness, and tasting some of the new projects they’re creating gives me so much hope for the future of the English wine industry.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“Approach this industry with passion and curiosity. There will always be good and bad days, and it’s not about being the sommelier with the most facts or the best ability for blind tasting. At the end of the day working together with your team, making the guests feel welcomed, and growing consistently is the best advice I can give. Once those have been achieved, everything else follows through.”

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

“When my old restaurant had closed, on the final day of service, I remember the whole staff gathering in the kitchen and bar area with our owners. It was a late night with a lot of emotions and memories being recalled. We had brought out a few bottles of Dom Pérignon & Louis Roederer Cristal, said our cheers and went through those bottles quicker than I had wished. I still miss that old team and cherish those memories made around those bottles.”

What’s The Oldest Vintage Champagne You’ve Tasted? Asked on Behalf of Champagne Collectors

“When we went through those bottles back in Pennsylvania, one of the bottles I remember serving was a Louis Roederer Cuvée Cristal 2009. Absolutely amazing bottle, but I always am happy to try more aged Champagne!”

Thank you, Sean, 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 belongs to Sean Crosby, 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.