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Q & A with the Sake Samurai and Master Sommelier: Alexander Koblinger

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07/09/2022 We got in touch with Master Sommelier Alexander Koblinger for a quick rapid-fire round and asked him about the role of a sommelier.

Master Sommelier Alexander Koblinger is the Head Sommelier and Quality control manager at the Döllerers in Golling. Born in Styria, Koblinger grew up as a landlord in a cider region in Upper Austria. He gained his Master Sommelier title in 2011 and currently is the only active Master Sommelier in Austria. He has diverse experience working in the wine industry in the UK, US, and UAE for more than two decades. In addition to his achievement with the Court of Master Sommelier, Koblinger has been Austria’s “Sommelier of the Year'' nine times and has been awarded the title of “Sake Samurai” by the Japan Sake Brewers Association. Consistent hard work, his interest, and his curiosity to learn more about the wine world have driven him to where he is today. We had a moment with him for a quick Q & A round to know his idea of Sommelier’s business.

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What questions would you ask the restaurant owner before you plan your wine sales growth strategy?

What kind of food do you serve? Who are your clients? 

How can suppliers work with you to drive sales?

By introducing me to interesting wines

What are the three main things you focus on daily in your role?

Continuity, Standards, and Focus

If not a sommelier, what else would you have been?

A race driver

What are the points you look at when selecting a new wine for your wine program?

The grape, vintage, and area it comes from.

Define a good sommelier 

Enthusiastic, willing to learn, able to sell, and a team player

What do you look for when you have to evaluate a wine program?

Biggest sellers and turnarounds.

If you had to pick one wine as your personal best, which wines would it be?

Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Domaine D'Auvenay

Wine involves a lot of storytelling, what’s your go-to wine story?

The story of me tasting and exploring really aged Champagnes with Richard Geoffroy at Dom Pérignon.

What’s a value for money wine that you would recommend.

Bouzeron Domaine de Villaine 

The best and worst part of your job

Best - Tasting wine with interesting people

Worst -  Inventory 

Any favorite food and wine pairing suggestions

Lamb shank with aged Blaufränkisch

Header image source: Alex Koblinger

Interviewed By Tushar Anand, Junior Writer, Beverage Trade Network

A unique opportunity to present your wines to America's top sommeliers. The wine scores are benchmarked for on-premise channels by top sommeliers, master sommeliers, wine directors and restaurant wine buyers. Enter Your Wines Before March 15, 2024, To Save.