Head sommelier The Greenhouse
After three years in charge of the wine list at two-Michelin-starred restaurant The Greenhouse under his belt, Elvis Ziakos, advanced MS and wine judge, is one of the UK’s most influential sommeliers.
Described by Wine List Confidential’s expert reviewer Douglas Blyde as a “supermodel collection” and “an invincible list”, Ziakos manages no fewer than 3,500 bins – stored in four cellars – with huge verticals of everything from François Raveneau Chablis to Penfolds Grange.
The menu itself stretches to 120 pages. Born in 1976 (“one of the warmest vintages in history”, he told Wine List Confidential in 2016), his career began in his native Greece, where he completed sommelier studies at the Le Monde Institute in Athens, and worked as head sommelier at Kohylia restaurant at the Grand Resort Lagonissi from 2002 to 2007.
He went to the two Michelin-starred Spondi in the city by the end of the year, while he completed his WSET Diploma, before moving to London to join Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley in 2012. Then it was onto his first role at The Greenhouse in Mayfair a year later, where he remains head sommelier.
In 2013, Ziakos was awarded an Advanced Sommelier certificate – one of the highest accolades from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ziakos holds the belief that wine is not merely a profession, but a lifestyle, and his love for the drink is only enriched by a passion for gastronomy.
He is, in his own words, “dedicated to serving epicurean excellence” at The Greenhouse. The success of the Mayfair haunt comes in part from the chemistry between Ziakos and head chef Arnaud Bignon, who trained under Eric Fréchon of the three-Michelin-starred Le Bristol in Paris, and, like Ziakos, also worked at Spondi in Athens.
Not just a London heavyweight, the sommelier represented Greece at the Best Sommelier of the World Competition in 2007. Ziakos’s competitive nature shines through during service, telling us that he loves the challenge of a customer who has a deep knowledge of wine, but those with less experience are just as enjoyable to work with, he says. “Everyone has their own character, and as a sommelier you have to follow and adapt.”