Champion of brands: Gerard Basset

“Some people want originality and some want something different. As sommeliers we need to understand that not everyone is the same.” 

Occasion is another important consideration. “Sometimes you are in the mood to try something new and sometimes you are not.” 

In the same way the sommelier needs to know its audience, the brand needs to ask pertinent questions. “The brand must not try to please everyone. Some brands are funky and some are more traditional. Brands need to identify the segment and those who they aim to please. You can’t please everyone. People who are truly successful understand that.” 

Basset is very honest about his own hotels and its segment and audience. “We try to understand these things as much as possible. My hotel is mid-market, not high luxury. Everything we offer is that. We know that we are not entry level or very high end. We have to accept that.”

For wine and for his own company Basset says: “It is about originality, diversity and consistency for the consumer and the sommelier. Imagine if you never changed, it would be boring.” 

At his California Wine Country Restaurant, Terra Vina, change is an important consideration. “We constantly change our wine list. Not a big chunk, but we change it every week and bring in new ones.” From January to April expect to see a 25% change in the wine menu at the New Forest establishment.   

Basset confesses this change is as much for the sommelier as it is for the patron. “It is exciting for the sommelier to discover new wine.”

When asked if he is excited about any wines right now, Basset declares: “Always.” 

He wasn’t about to say which ones but did cast his three votes in this year’s most admired list. Unsurprisingly, they all made the top 50 in The World's Most Admired Wine Brands 2015.