Q&A: Our Director of Hydration
Join us as we sit down and talk all things wine and spirits with our Director of Hydration, Jonathan Kleeman, our very own wine expert. Jonathan has a lot of experience in the industry under his belt so read on to find out a little bit more about the man himself…
So, why wine?
I didn’t always plan on working in the industry! I grew up in and around hospitality, as my dad was a chef. After seeing all the hours and hard work he had to put in I wanted to go study economics instead – seemed like a much less chaotic path!
What made you commit to the bottle?
I started working in hospitality as a part time job while I was a school but I advanced quickly and before I knew it I was already managing a site at 19 years old. I decided not long after that I wanted to work at the top end of my industry and pushed to find the best job that I could. Aim high, right?
This lead me to Henley-on-Thames working at Orwells. After three years and really grabbing the wine bug I decided to dedicate my life to wine and move to london and work full time as a sommelier. Starting at Quattro Passi With a two Michelin Star chef this lead to my appointment as deputy head sommelier at the Ritz London at just 24 years old.
What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you’d started out?
I wish i’d started reading up on the history of wine sooner. Wine in all countries is mixed up heavily in its history and it’s a great way to understand more about how they are produced and why they are so important.
Describe your role at Twisted Cellar in four words.
Intense, encompassing, intoxicating, satisfying.
What’s the most common misconception surrounding wine amongst customers?
So many customers think that good wine has to cost a fortune. It really doesn’t!
Do you have a favourite region?
I don’t have any favourites, that wouldn’t be fair would it?
What makes Twisted Cellar different to anywhere you’ve worked before?
I’ve worked at some really exciting places throughout my time as a Sommelier. Twisted Cellar has been a chance to challenge some of the stereotypes in the wine industry and create a shop that is proud to be different. It’s not about pomp or show, everything we do at Twisted Cellar is simply about quality wine and drinks with customer service at the core of everything we do.
If you had to choose a stand-out wine in the Twisted Cellar collection, what would it be?
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Doc Senzaniente is a wine that I have been serving for many years now and it ticks all boxes. It is a wine that can be drunk on its own and with food. Balanced with ripe fruit and sold ready to drink it’s one of my favourites we have in our collection here at Twisted Cellar.
Is there anything coming to the Cellar soon you can talk about?
Our Slovenian wine selection is a big area for growth for us and there are a lot of new and exciting wines we are adding which have not been in the UK before. These exclusive wines are a must try for any wine enthusiast.
Let’s get a little more personal… what would your autobiography be called?
Scrupulous stories of a Champagne infused mind.
Describe your life as film titles…
Trying to figure out how I can get Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction in there! I’d probably say Sideways, Waiting, and probably American Psycho as well.
Which animal would be the best president should the animal kingdom rise up and rule the roost?
Well… Mufasa. So Lions. You’ve seen that movie right?
What would your last meal be?
My mum’s Sunday Roast. It’s a lengthy meal so it would buy me some extra time wouldn’t it?
Would you rather give up wine or tea?
I can’t answer that question. I get really angry if I don’t have a cup of tea in the morning and I can’t imagine a world without wine. So, no comment.
Fine Dining or Fast Food.
Fine dining, just. But it is a pip. I get so excited when I get to go to a good restaurant. I investigate the wine menu and the menus – as much as I love a good Big Mac I just couldn’t give up that experience.