We are proud to announce that our Head Sommelier, Andres Aragon, was recently crowned the 2017 Australian Riedel Certified Sommelier Dux by The Court of Master Sommeliers, a premier examining body established in 1977 for Sommeliers worldwide.

There are only 273 Sommeliers in Australia who have attained the title of ‘Certified Sommelier’ and Andres topped the class in this year’s exam - a three-part process which included blind tasting to determine wine origin, quality and vintage, a theory component on wine history and geography and a practical test on service and presentation skills.

Photo Credit: Court of Master Sommeliers

Having spent over five months studying for this exam, including endless reading and blind tasting at home, Andres was beyond thrilled to receive this recognition and honour.

With a strong passion for wine, food and good service, Andres is committed to continual education in hopes of bringing his learnings to the team at 360 and translating this to the dining experience offered to guests.

“Wine is one of those things in life that’s meant to be shared and that applies with knowledge too,” he said. “There’s no point in being an expert at something if I can’t share the training with the rest of my team so that everyone can learn and enjoy together.”

As our Head Sommelier, Andres is no stranger to the awards podium. His wine list for 360 Bar and Dining received a 2 Glass rating at the Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year competition in 2016 and achieved runner up for Best Digestif List in 2013.

Andres also works closely with our Head Chef, Elton Inglis, to develop the food and wine menu for our Wine Club dinners and private events. The end goal? To ensure that all selected wines are paired to complement the food and vice versa.

“For me, wine is about making people feel comfortable, creating memories and celebrating good times – just like food.”

“This is also the kind of experience we want to create at 360. Whether it’s food or wine, we are constantly trying to push the boundaries so that our guests can try something new and be excited by what we have to offer.”

So for those of us who aren’t a seasoned wine connoisseur, what’s the best way to select a good wine at a restaurant?

Andres shares his top tips: “Know what you like and be able to describe it – the more specific you are, the easier it will be for the Restaurant Manager or Sommelier to make a recommendation. It also helps to build a memory database of certain wines you like. Finally, trust the Sommelier and their expertise.”

Whilst Andres is planning on taking a few weeks off before studying for his next challenge, the Advanced Sommelier certification, he has already set his eyes on reaching the Master Sommelier Diploma in five years - which only 236 people have in the world.

To learn more about Andres's story and achievements, read his latest feature in the Daily Telegraph North Shore Times: "Artarmon wine connoisseur crowned with prestigious Sommelier honour"

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