Tell us about your journey from Bharti Vidyapeeth College of Hotel Management to becoming a Certified Sommelier?
After getting selected in campus, 2010, Lalit Rane had started my career with The Oberoi, Mumbai as an associate for 18 months and then for 1 year as a bartender post that he worked with Marriott moved up the ladder from Food and Beverage Executive to Beverage Manager and Presently, Lalit Rane am associated with Ministry of Crab, Colombo “ Asia 50 Best Restaurant” as a Sommelier
What moved you to pursue a career in wines, which even today is grossly understood and is rather niche?
During my tenure with Marriott at JW Marriott, Sahar, in 2015 under the guidance of Mr. Stephen D’Souza, then Director of Food and Beverage, selected me for the programme of JW wine ambassador. Our Trainer Sachin Shetty previously worked for La Trompette, London. I believe because of him I am motivated and inspired for doing my specialisation in wine and take it to next level and in the same year I participated in Indian Sommelier Championship and was 2nd Runner up , I personally believe my Mentor Sachin Shetty and ISC have created a platform for me to take my career ahead in the wine business, and henceforth never looked behind!
How has working abroad added to your skills and wisdom?
Working with Ministry of Crab have allowed me to focus on wine more with more exposure on classic producer, understanding the wine programme in more a detailed way by using the principle and applying it. Eg: menu engineering, profitability, and mark ups, gross profit, etc. And, mostly importantly working abroad allowed me to engage and network with international sommelier and increase my social presence in world of beverages
What do you think about Indian wines and what do you see for them in the future?
Indian wines are continuously gaining importance in the domestic market and as well international market through their presence in top restaurant in Europe. The quality of Indian wines has shown a remarkable improvement in the last ten years with more serious producers and their top labels like Fratelli’s Sette, Sula’s Dindori Shiraz, and KRSMA Cabernet Sauvignon are my personal favourites. The world has discovered Indian food; it’s India’s turn now to discover Indian wine. India is wine’s newest world.
What’s that one aspect of sommellerie that you adore the most and one that you wish was to be done away with?
The quality which I adore the most is that sommelier are the most passionate professionals in Food and Beverage dynamics. Curiosity, there is always something to learn, a wine to try, a pairing to attempt, a lesson to learn, a winery to visit and as of now, I’m enjoying my role. There is nothing as of now I have come across which I need to put back
What is your advice to young professionals seeking a career in this field?
Networking and engaging with the professional from beverage industry, attend wine tasting events and sessions, masterclasses, seminars, subscribe to newsletter and magazines, visiting vineyards. Study everyday for 30min which will assist to uplift your knowledge and apply it to practice. One thing I personally put to practice and preach are two qualities “Discipline and Persistence” without these two quality it’s difficult to achieve mastery, So keep on moving!!!