Moor Hall Meets

Ben Robinson, Head Sommelier

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14 Mar 2020

Talk us through a typical day for you at Moor Hall.

A typical day would start with some office time in the morning. Catching up on emails to suppliers, updating the wine list etc. Then lunch service would begin. During service my main role is to make our guests feel at ease. Often wine lists and sommeliers can seem a little daunting to some people. My aim is for guests to feel comfortable and have an enjoyable experience. This involves talking to the guest, but more importantly it’s about listening to their response. At the end of the day it’s not about what I like to drink but about what they like to drink. After lunch there is a little time to organise the cellar and put away deliveries. We have our staff meal around 5pm before finalising the dining room ready for dinner service. After service we would clean down and finish off any paperwork due before heading home.

How did you first get into wine?

I fell into it really. I went from working as a kitchen porter at a local country pub on the weekends for some pocket money and before I knew it I was a waiter.  From there I went to work at a local 4* hotel with a fine dining restaurant and that’s where my interest truly began.

What are your top three highlights from your career to date?

1) Representing the UK at the Gaggenau International Young Sommelier of the Year in Vienna 2) the lifelong friendships I have made from working in amazing places & competing in some of the UK’s best competitions and 3) working with Magnus at Fäviken Magasinet, as well as the amazing closing party that we had!

What’s your favourite wine of the moment & why?

At Moor Hall, Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2014. This a new listing for Moor Hall and has become our house ‘champagne’. I truly believe that the quality rivals that of some of the best champagne and we want to support and showcase the best the UK has to offer. Over at The Barn I’d recommend the Soave ‘Otto’ from Prà. A wonderful bright and fresh wine from northern Italy. Notes of honeysuckle and pear make this a perfect wine for spring.

Top tips for guests when choosing wine?

Pick wines that you enjoy. People get too hung up about the perfect match. A general rule of thumb, an eye catching label will generally be a tasty wine, it’s not always the case though! Try to buy wine from your local independent wine merchant. They will often have things that the major suppliers wont have and always ask for advice. Any wine merchant will love to share their knowledge and stories with you.

Best thing about working at Moor Hall?

Amazing food in a beautiful property and a great team both in the kitchen and front of house.  Also being back up North!

Favourite way to spend your day off?

Riding my bike, going for a run, a swim or playing ice hockey.

If you weren’t a sommelier, what would you be?

I honestly do not know! I’ve never really given it any thought. When I was young I thought that being a pilot would be really cool.

 


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