Twenty Questions: Michael Van der Sommen

Welcome to our series of interviews with Barossans, this week we catch up with Michael Van der Sommen – Direct Sales and Hospitality Manager at Kaesler Wines

1   What would you like to do if you weren’t working in the wine industry?
Get back into restaurant kitchens, but this time as a butcher or pastry chef

2   What do you love most about your job and why?
Meeting new and interesting people from all over the world, meeting and engaging with the long term fans of the winery,  and the fact that no two days are the same.

3   What was your first car?
Yellow 1976 Mazda 323

4   What grape variety or wine style most interests you at the moment?
Chardonnay, in all its forms

5   What are you listening too at the moment?
Bruce Springsteen, and too much news radio in the car.

6   What is your favourite dish to cook?
Preserving – jams, sauces and chutneys.

7   What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Phone off, feet in the pool.

8   When you’re not working what do you like to do?
Hang out with my daughter, cooking for the family, drink too much coffee.

9   What is your greatest extravagance?
Holidays where I can turn the phone off and get my feet in the pool.

10   What are you reading at the moment?
Anything by Seth Godin.

11   What is your favourite city/country to visit and why?
Would love to get back to Rome.  It’s residents just seem to take its ancient history in their stride as they get on with their day to day life.

12   What is the most memorable wine/s you have tried?
I worked at Penfold’s Magill Estate Restaurant while at Uni and was fortunate to try some of the benchmark  wines from their past that made them famous.  Occasionally with the people who made them.

13   Who are your heroes in real life?
I wouldn’t like to embarrass them :-).

14   What are your top 3 Barossa tips?
Take a drive along the backroads.
Stop as a small producer you have never heard of.
Taste a wine or variety you wouldn’t  usually choose.

15   What would be your chosen superpower?
Go back in time and have another go at some of those difficult conversations.

16   If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
I’d like to meet some of those early Barossa settlers – they travelled for months by boat to an uncertain future and planted vineyards that even by today’s standards are in the middle of nowhere.

I’d  say thanks for giving it a go.

17   If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you? F
Flour, yeast and tomato sugo.

18   If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A Kaesler Winery dog.  They live the good life.

19   What makes the Barossa special to you?
The landscape, seasons and people.

20   What is your motto?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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