Bohdan Pavliukh: How to Fall in Love with Wine

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Sommelier Bohdan Pavliukh from Lviv

Park. Art of Rest restaurant in Lviv has recently received the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, often called the ‘Oscar of the world of wine’. We talked to Bohdan Pavliukh, sommelier of Park. Art of Rest, the author of ‘Wine is Easy’ blog and the head of Lviv department of Association of sommeliers of Ukraine to find out the latest world trends and learn how to love wine with a spark.

Tell us how your career began. When did you first think about your profession?

My career began six years ago. At that time I have already worked in different restaurants as a manager. That was also a time when wine was becoming more and more popular in Lviv. I grew interested and started researching and reading up on the topic. Shortly after, I realized that I needed to organize my existing knowledge and gain the new one - that’s why I enrolled in Vitalii Kovach sommelier school, which at the time was a traveling school that made a stop in Lviv. The course lasted for two months and after the graduation I’ve steadily entered the world of my profession.

Recently Park. Art of Rest has received an award from Wine Spectator. How did you accomplish this?

Park. Art of Rest received one glass award in the “Restaurant Awards” from Wine Spectator, one of the most influential magazines in the world. It is similar to Michelin stars granted to restaurants for their menu and chefs for their creativity. In the world of wine, we have one, two or three glass awards granted to restaurants and sommeliers for their wine list and the level of wine culture promoted in the restaurant. I wanted to receive the award for my restaurant for several years; and this year I finally succeeded. We worked very hard to get it. Bohdan opening wine bottles at work There are minimal requirements the restaurant and sommelier should meet to be eligible but in reality, you need much more. Sommelier needs to understand and calculate the quantity, type and method of supplying the restaurant with wine. Service, product range, quality, price policy and compatibility with the menu are also critical factors. In my opinion, the most important thing is the passion of a sommelier that prepares the wine list. It’s not likely to make an award-winning list by simply putting it all together without emotion - you really need to love what you do, have that spark and sooner or later it will bear fruit.

Rosé has been a trend in many restaurants and social networks, especially Instagram, for quite a long time. Why is it so popular? Why now?

Rose bottles on the tableIndeed, during the last ten or even fifteen years rosé has become a definitive worldwide trend. There are several reasons. Firstly, nowadays the quality of rosé wines is high as never before. Previously, they were considered a sorry excuse of red wine or a simply a bad-quality wine in some countries. But the situation has improved in the last ten years. Another reason is rosé is a trend among the young people who only begin to explore their wine path. That’s why in order to reach the maximum number of the target audience, many manufacturers around the world produce rosé, which they haven't done before. One way or another, wine is a part of a business that should bring income — that’s why rosé is so popular nowadays.

What wine do you personally like most?

I’m often asked this question and I’m sure other sommeliers are as well. But I doubt anyone ever received a definite answer. The thing is that sommelier never has a specific favorite brand or type - only a style. For instance, at the moment my favorite styles are Burgundy Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Greek Xinomavro. As for white wines, I prefer Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or oak aged Chardonnay from France or Italy.

What would you recommend those who want to attend a wine tasting for the first time? Do you need any prior knowledge?

Bohdan on wine tasting with guestsThere are several foolproof tips for those who grew interested in wine and want to attend a tasting. First, choose a sommelier, who will really help you to fall in love with this charming drink. Then, reading books on the topic are important as well. They give you the needed basic knowledge as a rookie that you can expand later. I’d recommend Wine Folly [Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Justin Hammack and Madeline Puckette], available in English. Translation into Ukrainian will be available soon as well.

Photo sources: Bohdan Pavliukh Facebook page, wineiseasy.blog. All images belong to their rightful authors.

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