Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Billy Wagner
German well respected top sommelier Billy Wagner is the next sommelier I would like to introduce to you. Billy Wagner owns and is sommeliers of the Michelin star awarded restaurant Nobelhart & Schmutzig in Berlin that is described by Michelin as “a 'food bar' that offers its own special mix of trendy, urban chic and relaxed but professional service”. It is Billy’s life mission to show ever guests that visit his restaurant the ‘real’ Berlin Flavor by selecting the best regional products (preferably from the Berlin area)
Billy’s career in the Horeca business already started a young age by working at Hotel Herzogs Park in Herzogenaurach during his studies in restaurant administration. Although his passion for wine was ‘unleashed’ during his time at the Nürnberg restaurant Essigbrätlein or better by his director Ivan Jakir. In 2008 he made his move to Berlin where he worked as sommelier/host for restaurant and winebar Rutz that obtained 17 points in the Gault Millau wine guide in 2010 and 1 Michelin star. In the years that followed Billy was also awarded ‘sommelier of the year’ (2011 and 2012)
In 2015 he opened Nobelhart & Schmutzig where together with his chef Micha Schäfer they try to share their passion for food and wine as much as possible with as keyword ‘terroir’!!
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
Difficult to make a choice, but Mosel, Jura and Piemonte are on top of my lists
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
Know what YOU (not others) really like and then adjust this to your guests.
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
NOT IN MY WORLD!! :-)
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
I love to be drunk, so really early in my life ;-).
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
All Sommeliers I worked with.
Ivan Jakir (Essigbrätlein, Nürnberg)
Frank Hildebrand (Zur Traube, Grevenbroich)
Marcel Helbig und Claudia Stern (Vintage Weinbar, Köln)
Sebastian Bordthäuser (Monkey’s West, Düsseldorf)
Christoph Geyler (Rutz Restaurant & Weinbar, Berlin)
Johannes Schellhorn (Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Berlin)
What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with
Food in the mouth, wine or other beverage on top!
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
Again here Mosel and Jura present themselves, but I must also add Douro - all so beautiful…. If you visit these regions you understand why wine is so hard to make.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or
I never studied. I drink!
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides
have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?
Drinking a good beer after having too much wine!