Meet the sommelier
Olivier Caraës is Brittany Ferries' in-house wine advisor and part of the team of skilled sommeliers who stock the onboard wine cellars...
Food and wine of outstanding choice, quality and taste have always been an integral part of the Brittany Ferries experience. And choosing the wines which are stocked onboard is a meticulous process in which Olivier Caraës is key.
The wine list contains around sixty wines and champagnes, and during the course of a year over 370,000 bottles are consumed by Brittany Ferries passengers, the majority of them British - a demanding clientele whose palates Olivier learned to satisfy early in his career.
"When I was still very young, during my professional training, my university English studies and passion for gastronomy led me to London. I worked as a sommelier for three-Michelin-star chef, and now TV celebrity of course, Gordon Ramsay."
And it was working in England which would lead him to his current role. "My comings and goings across the Channel predictably brought me into contact with Brittany Ferries. Straightaway I felt an affinity with the style and quality of the catering and services aboard."
Back in France, he applied to work for the company, and landed a job in the onboard boutiques, soon passing the exams which allowed him to become an Animateur des Ventes (onboard sales advisor).
"I felt at home straight away. It was a place where I could share my passion for wine with our passengers, and I was privileged to work amongst a team of passionate people, all specialists in wine, perfume, or luxury products."
It didn't take long for Olivier's experience as a sommelier to come to the attention of Onboard Services Director Catherine Querné. She invited him to join the company's wine-buying panel - a team of professional sommeliers who meet annually to taste and choose the wines which will make the onboard wine list.
Nowadays Olivier runs the panel, spending much of his time unearthing new wines and cultivating relationships with wine growers. These include many prestigious names including Baron Philippe de Rothschild, and Bouchard Père et Fils - a partner of Brittany Ferries for over 20 years.
So what guides the choice of onboard wines?
"We're always looking for value-for-money and quality of course, but above all we want our passengers to enjoy wines which showcase the savoir-faire of authentic wine-growers, passionate men and women who share our values." enthuses Olivier "We know that our choices contribute to our customers' enjoyment of the crossing, even their overall perception of the company. So it's crucial that we choose wines we know they'll love to drink."
- 150,000 bottles of wine are consumer each year in the restaurants
- 50,000 bottles are consumed in the bars
- 170,000 bottles are sold in the boutique
- More than 60 types of wine are sold on board