How to pitch to a sommelier

Jan Konetzki, head sommelier at several Gordon Ramsay restaurants, has outlined the dos and don’ts of pitching wine to sommeliers.

Speaking at last week’s International Sparkling Wine Symposium, Konetzki said his buying time is limited: “I have around 2-4 hours a week to talk to someone who wants to sell me something.”

Konetzki said there are right and wrong ways to contact a sommelier. “Do not send me twenty emails," he said. "It will not make me want to buy your product more. Two emails is enough and keep them short. Do not try to befriend me on Facebook.  Usually I know the person I am buying from.”

Konetzki described sommeliers as "geeks”. “We love to learn and we buy from people that are the same – they have to have a lot of knowledge,” he said.

He outlined the worst and best ways to pitch.

Worst pitches

-        Having no appointment for a tasting

-        Booking a table to sell wine

-        Offering out-of-condition wine

-        Having no knowledge of the wine

-        Criticising the quality of the wines already listed

Best pitches

- Having an appointment

- Showing three-to-four wines per appointment

- Knowing your wines

- Showing wines that are good quality at a good price

- Showing wines with good packaging

- Leaving the samples (unless they are very expensive wines) for the team to use for future tastings or training

-  Sending a short follow up email with the agreed terms