May 30, 2014
Not many people look into a wine glass and see a career. When Richard Hargreave was at Quay in his first-ever serious sommelier role, he was juggling a business degree – with plans to graduate and land a "grown-up job". He never ended up going down that road and ignoring the "grown-up" path has definitely paid off. In fact, Richard was named Sommelier of The Year at the latest Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Awards for his work at Momofuku Seiobo – a restaurant so great that people have forged confirmation bookings to try to get a much-coveted spot there. It's no surprise that Richard is gaining much-deserved attention and applause for his inventive drinks program; not only does it cover note-worthy wines and sake, but it also includes house-made sodas, custom-crafted brews and juice pairings (think konbu tea, pumpkin and mandarin juice and other next-level beverages). He chats about his upcoming Sunday Wine Sessions events at Momofuku Seiobo, momofuku.com/sydney/seiobo/sunday-sessions, which he's running with the equally booze-savvy Mike Bennie; the series is an attempt to take the "reverence and stiffness" out of enjoying wine ("it's just another beverage," says Richard; no one gets that stuffy about beer, after all) and will cover everything from fermentation, festive drinks and the curious phenomenon of suitcase wines. Richard also talks about his many other drinking adventures (such as sweet-talking Customs into smuggling bottles home and visiting a spectacular vineyard in Aveyron, France), what he thought about Premier Barry O'Farrell losing his job over a '59 Grange and the restaurants he's most excited about trying next (namely, the latest projects by chefs Luke Powell and Nic Wong).