Interview With A Sommelier – Suzan Akyun
26th April 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 article, I speak with a woman who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, her name is Suzan Akyun. Now let’s find out a bit about her life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“It’s me Suzan Akyun, 25 years old. I was born in Turkey and raised in Bulgaria. Turkey is a country where alcoholic drinks are not quite popular, that’s why it is so rare to see a Sommelier from Turkey but I was lucky that I spent my childhood in Bulgaria. Our neighbors had vineyards and I was 7 years old when I did my first harvest! I got my certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe. I’ve been working in a contemporary Japanese Restaurant for a while. Nowadays, I’m working in an Austria location. Although we have a huge wine selection, we also have a huge sake selection. Sake, Wine and Japanese dishes are an unbreakable triple..”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“I was already working in a part-time job as a barmaid during college. Once, my manager opened a wine bar and made an offer because I’m a Biochemist, we learned fermentation technology and agriculture biotechnology. So, I was able to talk about grape growing and wine production but It was limited for sure. During that time, I improved myself by attending Sommelier courses and wine-tasting clubs. Then, I realized that being a Sommelier fits me better than being a Biochemist. I already knew the technique and biochemical side of wine but becoming a Sommelier is something different and unique. You are explaining the background of the wine as a storyteller, you are creating sentences which help them to imagine, because wine is a key thing which touches your all senses.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“Actually, there are a lot of things. The most surprising one could be the importance of glassware shapes. There are plenty of glassware shapes designed for individual grape varieties, well-known blends. So, you need to decide which one is giving the best results..”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending Japanese Sparkling Wine?
“Japanese sparkling wine is getting to be a well-known product. If I have guests who are interested in different wines, for sure I suggest them.. Japanese sparkling wine is a really easy pairing with aperativos.. Most of the time guests would like to drink Prosecco or Champagne with their aperativos but everything is with the Sommelier. If you suggest any kind of wine with a good language, It will work.”
In Your Professional Opinion, When Pairing Wine With Food, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?
“Ah… It depends on which kind of Champagne and Prosecco we are talking about. You can kill the meal with them or you can make the king of meal.. If you have a well-balanced Millésime 2008, 2012 Champagne of course it will go better. Prosecco is another thing, If you have Valdobbiadene Prosecco and lighter, maybe some spicy meal It will work. Even though, Prosecco is the rising bubbly star of Italy, there is a reality which is ‘ Franciacorta ‘. I suggest Franciacorta seriously, It is a hidden gem of Italy now..”
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?
“First of all, they need to understand that being Sommelier is a serious thing.. You are creating happy moments for your guests and you need to provide the best service.. You are responsible for the service of drinks and the reasons.. The sommelier needs to know why a drink serves in the exact glass shape, with ice, or without ice.. Also, never give up studying! Studying and consistency is the key! This is what makes us better Sommeliers.. Learning, learning, learning!
On the other hand, you need to improve your management skills. Most of the time, the Sommelier works with the team and building a team or being a part of a team is hard work. However, wine makes us happy and we are making our guests happy..”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“Actually I’m a classic person. I would choose Fettucine Alfredo and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2008… Also, this couple is one of the best pairings of mine.. It’s like a comfort zone. Everyone needs a pairing like this, It feels like home..”
Thank you, Suzan, 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 Suzan Akyun. 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.