Interview With A Sommelier – Stefano Barbarino

2nd April 2024

Interview With A Sommelier Stefano Barbarino

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 Stefano Barbarino, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“I’m Stefano Barbarino, originally from Sicily in a lovely town called Enna. Becoming a Somm was a dream in the drawer that I shared with nobody. I wanted to get into the army, but I didn’t manage as on two occasions I didn’t reach the minimum points required. I thought it wasn’t what I was meant to do. In March 2013 I moved to Milan where I started my studies with the Association Italian Sommelier by doing Level 1 until February 2014 when I got my Level 3 Diploma. Just after, my goal was to learn English and I moved to London in April 2014 where I started working at La Trompette Restaurant in Chiswick, where I spent two years as a Somm. Then I moved to Galvin at Windows in Hilton Park Lane and after one year, in 2017 I worked at Chez Bruce Restaurant as Assistant Somm for two years. And all the way up until now.”

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

“Yes absolutely, it was in 2014 at La Trompette Restaurant in Chiswick (1 Michelin Starred) where in one of the many wine lunches we hosted a guest brought a 1996 Clos des Goisses by Philipponnat, and since then has been one of my favourite Champagne producers.”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“It all started with a TV program every Sunday lunch. There was a Chef and a Sommelier, the Somm had to pair some wines with the dishes the Chef was making at that minute, but he was also given a decanting as well as a blind tasting task. This is what inspired me, how someone could discover what’s in the glass blind!”

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

“Until now, the most beautiful discovery has been the Coravin, wine preservation system. What an incredible invention by Greg Lambrecht. Having the opportunity to work so closely with it at the Coravin Wine Bar in Mayfair taught me a lot about both timeless and sparkling. Who would ever think to drink a glass of wine without opening the bottle.”

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

“As a wine lover and Sommelier Champagne is my first thought and what I drink however, I don’t forget about Franciacorta, there are great things happening there.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“I will always recommend having their favourite wines, but these cannot be a rule for the guests. Think of how many countries are making wine, for instance, look at South Africa. How many great wines are coming from there nowadays? Think outside of the box.”

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

“In Champagne, in Maison Philipponnat.”

Thank you, Stefano, 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 Stefano Barbarino. 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.