The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Learning -

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.”

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