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An Interview With the Man With the Best Job in the World


Anantara’s Head Wine Guru: Jirachai Sethisakko (Khun June)

Q: Where did the idea of Anantara’s Wine Guru programme come from? What are its aims and philosophy? Can you tell us more about its values?

Khun June: The Wine Guru programme was the idea of Mr. Heinecke (owner and founder of Anantara Hotels & Resorts) in 2010. Anantara recognizes that being a Wine Guru (or sommelier) is a role which requires an individual to be both artistic and creative. Wine Gurus are encouraged to develop offers for the guests with the purpose of not only increasing revenue but enhancing the individual guest experience in all Anantara hotels and resorts. Our goal is to be recognized as the best in the industry for wine service delivery, to attract new guests, and to build on guest loyalty. This is why our Wine Gurus are chosen not only for their expertise but also their communication skills, and ability to share their knowledge and passion for wine at all Anantara properties.

Q: How many sommeliers are you training each year? And how many sommeliers work in your resorts?

Khun June: Normally, I train, develop, and hire more than 10 sommeliers each year. The number of sommeliers recruited in our resorts is based on the number of new resort openings and the movement of our existing sommeliers. We have now approximately 30 sommeliers/Wine Gurus working in our resorts worldwide.

Q: What is the “tasting flight experiences”? Which other facilities or activities can your guests enjoy during their stay?

Khun June: We have our standard tasting flight experiences which are tailored to our guest's expectations so if they want to taste old vintages from France then we can organise that for them. We also have our unique Dining by Design concept, Spice Spoons (cooking class), degustation menus, and much more for our guests to enjoy during their stay.

Q: The Anantara’s training courses are open to guests or only to sommeliers?

Khun June: The training courses are mainly for our Wine Gurus and restaurant staff however we can also provide training courses for guests if and when they require it.

Q: Are there some producers or winemakers coming to the resorts? Do they meet your guests?

Khun June: Yes, we have regular wine-maker dinners at all of our resorts with the producers, importers, owners, suppliers, and partners. Yes, they love to meet our guests and share their passion for wine.

Q: How do you build up your Wine Guru programme: one different for each resort?

Khun June: We build our program with passion. We love what we do. We take good care of our wine gurus/restaurant staff and they will in turn take good care of our guests. We look into every single detail of each label, the history of each wine, the profile, and the preferences of our guests. We empower and support our gurus with a very nice wine educational program. We also send our gurus to visit the wineries and vineyards around the world.

Q: How many different labels do you have?

Khun June: We have so many great labels and bottles in our resorts around the world. One of the best bottles we have on offer is the 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti. We’ve also won top wine prizes for our selections such as the World’s Best Wine List Award – 3 Star for the last two years running.

Q: Your resorts are located in warm and wet climates. Could you inform us about the challenges regarding the conservation and service of the wines?

Khun June: Temperature and heat are our main challenges. We are working very hard to keep our wines in the cellars safe at the right temperature. We use many different systems to ensure that we serve the wine in the perfect temperature. We often use the Coravin, Enomatic system along with Wice wine cooling technology.

Anantara Wine

Q: Do you have special recommendations for Thai food and wine pairing?

Khun June: Many of our Thai food matches very well with international wines, it all depends on the individual tastes and my only other recommendation is to not pair it with very spicy food which we love in Thailand.