UWR Interviews Mauro Cirilli - the Wine & Beverage Director at Sidecar Hospitality

20/09/2018 See what Mauro Cirilli has to say about his experience in the wine industry so far.

Mauro CirilliUpon arriving in San Francisco, in 2001, Mauro spent four years as lead sommelier at Aqua Restaurant before opening Perbacco as Wine Director in 2006. With the Perbacco team, he also opened Barbacco Eno Trattoria in 2010, implementing the first interactive wine list on iPads on the west coast.

In 2011 he partnered on forming the North American Sommelier Association, affiliated with the Italian Sommelier Association, creating the first "Italian Wine Specialist" certification program recognized throughout the world and endorsed by the WSA (Worldwide Sommelier Association. He has been responsible for developing, coordinating and teaching wine seminars, wine classes, wine trade events, master classes, certified courses and full Sommelier certified programs. Mauro has been quoted and featured for many wine-related articles in Wine Spectator, San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Country, Tablehopper, Food & Wine Magazine, Bloomberg, 7x7, as well as other smaller publications.

UWR recently interviewed Mauro Cirilli and got some important insights worth sharing.

What’s a wine trend that you’re currently excited about?

Mauro: Sparkling Wine is the one I am really excited about. Also, about the restaurant’s beverage menu, new bottles, high-quality Sparkling wine from Portugal, England, Australia, Uruguay excites me a lot. I have been fascinated by wines since I was 5 years old.

Where and what do you like to drink when you’re not working?

Mauro: I go to good local bars and prefer to drink Sparkling wine, Italian wine, European wine. I am really very fond of a new collection.

What are some challenges you face as a wine buyer or a sommelier?

Mauro: Personally I feel that rise in wine prices is a major challenge.  Be it domestic or not, wine prices are getting expensive every day. Prices are changing from $15 to $30 within six months. I want my customer to pay that much amount only if they are comfortable. A good wine should always make a customer feel comfortable in terms of taste and cost.

What you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business?

Mauro: I always buy it for my customers, so my perspective on selecting a good wine  1) how that wine is doing currently, its history, origin etc. 2) Most important is its cost, whether it will make my customer feel good and comfortable 3) And also, my relationship with that distributor or importer.

What’s your typical day…like what do you do in the mornings, afternoons and evening and after the guests are gone

Mauro: My routine changes every day. I start my day by checking the messages, emails and daily setup tasks.  I check whether the order is placed by my assistant or not, I check a number of reports like payment reports, delivery reports etc. I spend a good amount of time in my day to taste the new wine, participate in trade events. Also, I train my staff; update them with new information or new lists. I love to spend time on the floor. I make sure that my staff and customers are satisfied.

How has the role of the sommelier evolved in the last 20years?

Mauro: A LOT. I have an experience of 22 years and I have seen it getting change drastically. Before 20 years it was more like a profession or like related to a position. People used to consider it as a wine expert. But nowadays it has changed completely. There are so many aspects added to it like a sommelier can go into wine teaching, wine tasting events or competitions. The options for a sommelier have changed practically. Now you see designations like Manager – sommelier. That speaks a lot.

Which varietals or countries are in demand these days for your business?

Mauro: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and pinot noir.  Countries more in demand due to its grapes are Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

Mauro: From last two years I am not finding good wine experts. The new attitude of “we know everything “with this new generation is hardest for me to work with. I want people in the wine industry to be more humble, people who want to learn more, evolve more.