QUICK TO DEVELOP TASTE FOR FINER THINGS
BOOTLEGGERS Wine & Spirits director Ben Hasko left an engineering degree to pursue his passion for wine and become one of the world’s few Master Sommeliers.
To pass the Master Sommelier’s exam in London, Hasko did a string of tests including a blind tasting of six wines with a 25-minute time limit.
“You need to verbally work your way through the characteristics of the wine, according to a tasting grid, before reaching a conclusion on each of the wines,” he says.
“Training came in a couple of different forms. Firstly, it was tasting with other candidates who were taking the exams at the same time.
“Secondly, was to try and drink a lot of wines to educate my palate to recognise characteristics to look for in specific wines.
“I think it’s a combination of natural ability and learned skill. Blind tasting takes a lot of work and practice to develop natural ability, and to hone your skill set.”
On top of his Master Sommelier title, Hasko has completed diplomas with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has worked through the Court of Master Sommeliers from introductory to diploma, and is studying for his Master of Wine.
He is young for a Master Sommelier and company director but says his age has not been an obstacle.
“As a young person, I potentially have more freedom to explore new approaches or ideas (but) I definitely felt early on in the company that being younger I needed to prove that I was capable of taking on the role,” he says.
“There are some lessons that I feel can only be learnt from time and experiences, but at the same time I do not always believe that following the established ways is the best option.”