Francesco Marzola, previously Head Sommelier at Park Hotel Vossevangen and Nordic Sommelier Champion 2018, moves to Oslo to build the wine cellar for Fredensborgs Hospitality – the old American embassy that now will turn into a conference centre, brasserie and wine bar that will open in first half of 2023.
"It is a very exciting place; the last designed building of Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, a piece of art of itself! My role will be Head-Sommelier in the main restaurant, as well as cellar master for the whole building," says Francesco.
Francesco Marzola has worked at Park Hotel Vossevangen for five years, and he says that it has been "a blast":
"I am very proud of what we achieved. I think that the biggest thing I will remember is the organizing process, as well as, of course, the prizes we've won. Besides the gratification of prizes and so on, I enjoyed the process of teaching a new generation, the 'twins of Park' – Reidar Rosales Johansen who will be wine director, and Robert Rosales Johansen that will be head sommelier – that will take over after me."
What has been the most exciting part of working at Park Hotel?
"Definitely the variation you can have at work, with such a long and varied wine list, as well as the feelings that wines from the cellar woke in the guests here. There is something special when you are a part of a milestone for a guest, when it comes to their voyage in the wine world, to be there when they finally can check off the bucket list."
"Last weekend, for example, I was there when a guest for the first time tasted a Romanée-Conti Monopole so that when in the future he will talk about it to others I will always be a part of that. The same weekend it was almost moving to see the reaction of a guest when I poured him a bottle of Leroy, after that, without me knowing it, he said to the others around the table: 'I don't think I will ever have the possibility to taste a wine from Leroy again'."
Tell us about your new project!
"I am moving to Oslo to build, together with Jefferson Goldring, the cellar for the new project of Fredensborg Hospitality in the former US embassy in Oslo. It is a very exciting place, the last designed building of Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, a piece of art of itself! My role will be Head Sommelier in the main restaurant, as well as cellar master for the whole building."
Variation, depth and reasonably priced wines, that for me is the core to a great wine list
Tell us about your philosophy around the upcoming wine program?
"The focus will be to have a deep, interesting and sympathetic wine list, with a variation of wine from both classical and up-and-coming regions and producers. Partially due to the history of the building, an area that will be developed is, of course, US wines, but we aim to have a complete selection so we will buy wide from all over the world. It is important to underline that this will be a long term project, and 'Rome was not built in one day', so part of the strategy will be to store as much as 1/3 of each line so that in the medium-long term, we can have verticals of wines, which I believe is important in a project like this."
"Apart from that, you know my preference for young up-and-coming producers, so I will say that a fair amount of the producers represented will be in that category. In the wine bar that Jefferson will have responsibility for, there will be a focus on Champagne as a region, as well as a focus on pairing Champagne with food, something I find really exciting and something I believe is missing in Oslo!"
What is a great wine list, in your opinion?
"Variation, depth and reasonably priced wines, that for me is the core to a great wine list. Personality is also important as long as it doesn't cross the line into a wine list built for your, and yours only, taste.
Anything you want to add?
"We aim to spread the knowledge of wine so we will have a sympathetic price policy and focus on the wine. And to underline that, I think it's a good sign that, for once, the wine people have been chosen before the choice of the Head Chef. Not that we are going to focus only on wine, but that underlines the project's idea of spreading knowledge of wine."
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