Guillermo Cruz. The fashion sommelier


At just 29 years, Guillermo Cruz has accumulated awards in his profession. Recognized in 2014 as Best Sommelier in Spain, he has done it again with gold as Best Sommelier of cava in 2015.

From a young age he knew he wanted to enter the world of the vineyards, and with e“fort, desire and long preparation, he has come to form part of the Mugaritz restaurant team (Guipúzcoa), with two Michelin stars and Andoni Luis Aduriz at the helm. Cruz tells us what were the challenges to obtain this award, as well as talking us through the characteristics of a good sommelier and passion for his work.

LOOKOUT: Guillermo Cruz gathers awards in his career. Among those stand out the award for Spain’s Best Sommelier 2014 and Spain’s Best Sommelier of Cava 2015. How is it to be the trendy Sommelier everyone speaks of today?

Guillermo Cruz: Well, actually I’m just passionate about my job and try to share my passion with everyone. I’m very happy about the recognition, to be honest, but now I have to continue working hard, with more effort, more desire, but with the same emotion. I’m glad the world of wine is talked about, I hope it reaches as many people as possible, gets more people interested in it, but mostly, that there are more people who want to enjoy it.

LO: You were recognized as an expert server of cava and awarded by the Designation of Origin, after a dinner competition during which sommeliers had learned about the dishes just minutes before and had to show their basic instinct and professionalism. What was your stand out moment of this test? What was the most interesting part? And the hardest?

G.C.: It’s a very interesting test because it is a real service where there is no time for interpretation, just spontaneity, it is a very sensitive test that aims to reproduce what you do every day in the restaurant. For me the most interesting thing was that we were given the menu five minutes before starting the service, as you have to prepare a marriage quickly, arrange everything in your head right then and try to do something amazing, the change from 0 to 100 in seconds is exciting, you’re looking to give all of yourself and begin the fight to conquer the hearts of people who are sitting at the table. Perhaps the most difficult thing was thinking of a marriage without having tasted the dishes, knowing the ingredients you can follow the rules and try to combine, but many times, to make it more refined, it helps to taste before the combination of ingredients found within the plate. down to everybody which, in turn, we transfer to the business structure: e‘ffort, solidity, sacrifice that help overcome trouble and crisis; each generation enriches from the knowledge of their predecessors. On the other hand, politics are not always on our side. Powerful interests make the world turn; these interests are o˜ftentimes hard to understand due to demagogy and a doublé standard that make dif‘ferences among people.

LO: It is clear that behind the awards there is a beginning … How did you get involved in this sector and in he world of wine?

G.C.: My family had vineyards in the village and from a very young age, wine has been a part of my life and has been close to me. When I was a teenager it was already very clear to me that I wanted to be a sommelier, I wanted to talk about wine with people who were sitting at a table, I wanted to convey my passion to the greatest number of people, I wanted to prove that wine is something magical and is capable of transmitting feelings, emotions and some of them are able to last in time and memory throughout our lives, so all my training was oriented in that direction.

LO: And apart from good education, what are the characteristics of a good Sommelier?

G.C.: A good sommelier must above all be humble, be passionate about their work and have an endless desire to continue learning. I think these three are essential. Our job is to bring the wine to people, make it accessible, easy to understand and help enjoy it, it is something that is part of history, has been with us for many years, it’s culture, roots and affection. It’s nice to share your passion, trying to get to the heart of the maximum possible number of people, so that they become infected with the excitement and live this wonderful world that is the wine.

LO: You are currently working at Mugaritz, which is recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world. We imagine that the road to reach this point has not been easy. Can you tell us something about this experience?

G.C.: Mugaritz is a place with soul and where freedom is palpable, it is the dream of every professional to feel free to create and let your imagination run free with only your-self setting the limits. To get to a restaurant like this I think one of the most important things is your passion for your work, perseverance, dedication and effort, and all this gives you motivation to train more, learn more, and it gradually makes you a better professional so that you are at a good level to be part of a team like this.

LO: As a sommelier at Mugaritz, can you make decisions about the wines that appear on the menu? Does the restaurant search for some common denominator for serving wine?

G.C.: Yes, in fact every year a lot of changes on the wine card and this is part of the work we do while we are closed from December to April. We are three sommeliers in the restaurant and between the three of us we decide what will appear on the wine card and what will go. The criterion is more or less the same: we wines of any region in the world but still wines with soul … wines that show the identity of the area they come from … wines that seduce, that talk, that transmit emotions, that illustrate the work of their producer in the vineyards … that tell us stories so we can share them with everyone sitting in each of the chairs of Mugaritz.


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