Salvatore Castano: ”A great wine list needs to be easy to read”

Salvatore Castano.
Andreas Grube
Published 22-December-2021
Interview

Sommelier Salvatore Castano has a lot going on in his career: In November, he won Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa, and he is working as a buyer and consultant for Friarwood Fine Wines in London. He is also joining the Star Wine List top sommelier jury for the upcoming UK Wine List of the Year event.

UK Wine List of the Year will be held live in London on Feb. 21, in partnership with The Buyer and with a top jury including, besides Castano, Ruth Spivey, Arvid Rosengren, Rajat Parr and Raimonds Tomsons.
Read all about the event here!

Venues in the UK, enter Star Wine List of the Year UK here free of charge before Jan. 23.

“I am honoured to be part of this important event together with many of the top professionals in this sector. I just cannot wait for it,” he says.

In November, Salvatore earned the title ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa in fierce competition with a group of talented sommeliers.

“I still don’t realize what happened back in Cyprus, but of course, it feels amazing achieving such an important title after putting in very hard work,” he says about the victory.

What were the most difficult parts of the competition?
“One of the hardest parts was the theory, with more than 30 pages of questions. It seemed more like a book than a questionnaire.”

Salvatore Castano after winning Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa, with fellow finalists Nina Jensen and Suvad Zlatic.

How does it feel to join the Star Wine List jury for the upcoming UK awards?
“I am honoured to be part of this important event together with many of the top professionals in this sector. I just cannot wait for it.”

What are you looking forward to the most?
“I am very curious to see which are the best wine lists in the UK and to discover producers and restaurants that I don’t know that well yet.”

What makes a wine list great, in your opinion?
“In my opinion, a great wine list should have different styles of wines, with a great selection of wines by the glass to accommodate every type of palate. And, most importantly, it needs to be easy to read and to understand.”

How’s the situation on the wine scene in London right now?
“London for me is the best place to be for a sommelier because you can find any style of wine, producer and restaurant. Unfortunately, the hospitality sector is crying for staff right now, and thanks to Brexit and Covid, the situation has become even worse.”

I have also noticed that vegan, organic and biodynamic wines are going really well too

What are the most exciting new openings in the city, in your opinion?
“Some of the most exciting openings are The Peninsula in London and 67 Pall Mall around the world. This lets you understand how important the wine world has become.”

Any specific trends you can see at the moment?
“In the UK, top sales are Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for whites, and Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, for reds. I have also noticed that vegan, organic and biodynamic wines are going really well too. It seems like going back in time to how our grandfathers used to make wine many years ago.”

Apart from Star Wine List of the Year UK and your job at Friarwood, what’s up for you next year?
“Next year already looks very busy for me. I have been invited to many important wine fairs around the world, and I look forward to being there!”

Read more:
UK Star Wine List of the Year – save the date and enter the competition.

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