Formerly Ukraine’s best sommelier in 2013, Dmytro Goncharuk’s love for the humble grape came at an early age, with fond memories of helping his farther create their own unique blend in their garage. In later life, he headed to the capital, Kiev. There he found himself working in some of the country’s best restaurants. Representing his home country in the World’s Best Sommelier awards, he went on to work in Dubai and Azerbaijan, before joining Hide, Ground as head sommelier when it opened in April of last year.
What or who inspired you to become a sommelier?
My father. It all started with his annual wine making process. It was home-made wine which was made in our garage, but the process of harvesting, pressing and fermentation fascinated me.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
To find and taste new wines and share them with my guests.
What’s the biggest misconception about the role of a sommelier?
Many people, even those involved with the restaurant business, think that we just merely take an order, open a bottle and serve it to a guest. They do not see the hours of study and office work behind it.
What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?
I’ve never been a huge fan of beer, but having moved to London, the end of a working day is normally associated with a glass of lager.
If you could give your younger self advice when starting out as a somm, what would it be?
I would have advised myself to dedicate more time to studying, and take part in as many sommelier competitions as possible.
What bottle sparked your love of wine?
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1993. At present I understand that it isn’t the greatest wine you can be proud of, but back then in 2006 I thought it to be the perfect one.
What to date has been your most memorable wine experience?
It was Haut Brion 1931. Such a combination of flavours and taste was something I’d never experienced with a wine before. And also a Vina Bosconia Rioja Gran Reserva Lopez de Heredia 1976.
Which customer habit annoys you the most?
Those who drink the same wine over and over, and don’t try anything else.
Who is your inspiration in the gastronomic world?
When it comes to wine, Piotr Pietras, for he’s very goal oriented and knowledgable.
What’s your ultimate food and wine pairing?
Peruvian ceviche with Champagne.
Where would your fantasy vineyard be?
Island Vis, Croatia. I would make wine from the indigenous variety Vugava, and in my free time I would sail in the Adriatic Sea in a yacht.
If you weren’t a sommelier, what would you be doing and why?
I would have become a photographer. It has been a hobby of mine since childhood. I also did it during my career brake last year.
Which wine (grape/style) do you find it impossible to get along with?
It’s difficult to single out one sort of grape I wouldn’t get along with. I think if you use it correctly every grape variety can show good results. I’d rather say that I have some questions to definite approaches of winemaking, for example 200% new oak barrels or some so called “natural wines”, which just represent the fermented grape juice without any varietal characteristics.
What makes you most proud to be a sommelier in London?
The opportunity to work with the biggest assortment of wines in Europe and to meet visitors from all around the planet in my restaurant.
What’s on your wine bucket list?
Chateau Cheval Blanc Magnum 1947. I’ve been keeping an eye on it since the opening of Hide.