Alison Christ, sommelier at Troika Sky Dining gives insight into what life is like in the business of wine and food.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I’m a sommelier. My dad was in the wine business when I was growing up. So I was around it all the time when I was 16 & 17 years old my grandmother took me to Spain and Italy. It was on those trips that I fell in love with food culture surrounded by wine. Europeans make wine to go with food, and no meal is complete without it. Where in America we grew up being told alcohol was bad and was used only to get you drunk.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Best: I’m around wine all day.
Worst: I’m around wine all day.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
Pommes frites, duck confit and any grower Champagne floating around.
The perfect day off would be…
On a beautiful white sandy beach, with a Piña Colada, Haruki Murakami and Pusheen the Cat. (Piña colada is correctly…coconut cream, fresh pineapple juice and a good Caribbean or Thai Rum).
A day in the life of sommelier Alison Christ is…
My daily method of operation is:
Coffee, yoga, pool, Excel, more Excel, schmoozing with my regular guests, some wine, some cheese and more wine, sleep, repeat. This is in when things were “normal”.
During MCO, it is:
Yoga with Adrianne, no pool, no walking for leisure, fermenting everything that can be fermented, creating fun and engaging virtual wine events that aren’t “sucky”.
I read an article on drinks business mag that virtual wine tastings are “sucky”. My goal (and I think I’m succeeding), is to not have sucky tastings, live or virtual.
What do you do for fun?
Search for cold brew coffee, practice sharing my yoga mat with my cats, perfecting my back and breaststroke (maybe one day I can freestyle), fermenting stuff, reading non-fiction books by dead Russians, and dead no reservations chefs and living Japanese, playing and collecting vinyl records.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Troika Sky Dining?
Our wine list isn’t based on current affairs and corporate sponsors. It’s about the winemakers, and the family’s behind every bottle. The majority of our wine list are people we know, have broken bread with, have been to the winery and vineyard, or they have come to eat and drink with us st Troika.
It’s important for us to drink wine we like from people we trust, this is how we have so many winemakers coming to our wine tastings and now to our Online Blind Tasting sessions. A bottle is a bottle. But a relationship and a bottle is something else entirely.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a sommelier as a profession?
You need to travel a lot. Staying in your home country will not help develop your knowledge (even if you live in France). You have to try a lot of wine and food, meet the winemakers and go deep into their history to grow in this profession. To me, it’s the reason to be in the business in the first place.
What’s your view on the wine scene in KL?
People in KL are very interested in wine, and they want to learn more, but we will need some support to lower the taxes/duties/restrictions if we’re going to grow the scene. I’d love for us to be as vibrant as Hong Kong or Tokyo and maybe one day we will get there. For the moment, I won’t complain about our options for wine, only about the prices of wine.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
In these days. Who knows? YouTube?
For sure, we will continue our online Zoom blind tasting as it’s a success. And actually, as a platform it works really well. You can totally connect with people on a personal level- even if it’s through the internet. Of course, I can’t wait to share a chicken and a bottle in person with all of my regular guests.