Florian Valieres - Venue Manager - Head Sommelier.

A question and answer session to get to know Florian:

Your current passion and what drives you?

Wine is definitely my passion #1 (and my fiancée of course who has been supporting me all this time). What drives me the most, is being able to provide the right wine and customized experience to every customer. With wine there is always a natural thirst for knowledge and the willingness to become better each day.

What you love about working at Syracuse?

Syracuse has always been an institution in Melbourne and this place offers diversity with food and especially wines. Working here gives me the opportunity to create a wine list that offers a wide diversity of choices for our customers and allows me to play when it comes to wine and food pairing.

How and when you discovered your interest in Hospitality / Wine?

In 2011 I arrived Australia, a country with a different language and it was really hard for me to get a job so I started working in hospitality as a kitchen hand making my way up. Then once I got get caught up in the pace and rhythm of the restaurant industry, I loved it. Wine has always been around me since my childhood. Wine was always on the table, so I get to understand it, appreciate it and fall in love with it.

Your experience?

After graduating my Master degree in sports, I worked in the fitness industry for 3 years then moved overseas. My hospitality experience all started in 2011 in Western Australia at Karijini National Park, followed by some time on the Great Barrier Reef on Hayman Island, then in Byron Bay. I've then moved to Sydney where I started working in Manly at QStation until I had the opportunity to join the team at Momofuku Seiobo. I then moved to New Zealand working at Hippopotamus Restaurant and Cocktail Bar with New Zealand Best Sommelier of the Year Maciej Zimny. I then moved to Vancouver, Canada where I worked as a Wine Director and Restaurant Manager for a Champagne Bar. Finally I came back to Melbourne, Australia where I got the position of Venue Manager - Head Sommelier at Syracuse Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Your studies?

I've done a Master's degree in Sport, Human Performance and Nutrition in both France and Canada. After travelling and getting into hospitality and wine, I've started my courses with the Court of Master Sommelier. I've passed my Intro level in Vancouver, Canada and 3 months later I flew to Seattle, USA to pass my Certified Sommelier exam which I both passed with the highest score. This year I flew up to Sydney to sit my Advanced Sommelier Exam, which is 5 full on days that end with a 3 day exam: theory, service and a blind tasting of 6 wines. I've passed my exam on my first attempt. I'm now going to pursue the final stage which is the Master Sommelier Diploma.

Anything else you would like to talk about?

As a Sommeliers, I'm here to take care of the guests. I always love being able to find the perfect bottle that is going to match your expectations, your budget, your dish and if on top of it I can make you try something different that you have never experienced before and that you love, then that makes my job what it's all about: sharing

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