Who is LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)?


Who is LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)? 



LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noel
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French-born naturalized American, and benefiting of both nationalities, "LeDomduVin" is my nickname and alias, my real name is Dominique Noël. I'm a certified, well-travelled and seasoned Sommelier | Wine buyer | Wine Consultant | Wine Writer and at time Brand Ambassador and Wine Educator.  


I’ve been working directly and indirectly with Wine and Spirits since 1991, and therefore cumulate more than 28 years of management positions as well as purchasing and selling experience in the Wine and Spirits as well as the Food and Beverage Industry (including tasting, buying, selling, promoting, marketing, teaching, training, education and writing about wine, and spirits a little bit too) in some of the greatest wine hubs in the world: Bordeaux, Paris, London, New York and currently Hong Kong. 


Bordeaux native and grandson of a local "Vigneron" - Winemaker from the "Côtes de Bourg", a small region in the Northeast of Bordeaux, I rapidly understood how important the world of wine will impact and be part of my life and trigger my career. 


My French years: 1991 to 1997


Although I worked in various small jobs earlier in my life, including doing the harvest nearly every year in various properties since I was 10-12 years old, and also unofficially worked as a barman/waiter in bars and restaurants in 1991, I officially began my wine career in 1992, when I came back from 10 months in the army, serving in the "Bataillon des Chasseurs Alpins" based in Varce (near Grenoble).


From 1992 to 1994, I worked in France as Waiter, Bartender, Chef de Rang in various restaurants and hotels, in various towns including Orleans, Bourges, Strasbourg and Paris, before going back to Bordeaux in 1994 and settle down in a "Relais et Chateaux" where I started as Chef de Rang and moved up to Maitre D | Assistant Sommelier, then Sommelier. 


In 1996, while I was still working in the aforementioned Relais et Châteaux, I went back to the Catering and Hospitality management school of Talence (Bordeaux) to pass some diplomas and pursue my dreams by becoming a certified Sommelier and fully immersed myself into wine. It was hard to be at school during the day and work all nights and weekends. Thus, in January 1997, I decided to leave my daily job to concentrate on school and obtain the Sommelier diploma, more important in my eyes to satisfy my ambitions and open the next chapter of my life. 


My London years: 1997 to 2002


In July 1997, a few weeks after receiving the Sommelier Diploma, I took a leap of faith and moved to London where my career rapidly took off (which would have been much more difficult in France for various reasons). London welcomed me with open arms and more opportunities than I ever imagined. I worked as Sommelier, then Chef Sommelier - Wine Buyer, consultant..... for a few restaurants, where I met and worked with some of the best Head Sommeliers and Restaurant Managers I know. 

These people became great mentors and friends and remain till this day influential references in their respective fields. These 5 years spent in the British capital were the best years of my life... from 24 to 29 years old.... my London years.... du grand n'importe quoi.... nothing seemed impossible...  life was beautiful and we were living it to the fullest.. it was a blast in so many ways... I will give anything to relive these years, and even relive them in a crazier way. 


My New York Years: 2002 to 2011



In 2002, after 5 incredible and unforgettable years in London, I moved to New York, leaving the restaurant scene to work as a Wine Buyer and Store Manager for two of the most prominent fine wine boutique retail stores in the Big Apple. 

I worked for 5 years, first as a Sommelier, Wine Consultant, then Wine Director and Wine Buyer for www.PJWine.com, one of the largest and most competitive and innovative Wine & Spirits retail stores in New York (USA) back then, where the owner and savvy businessman, Peter Yi (and the rest of the team), taught me a great deal about Spanish, Bordeaux, Burgundy and German wines, but also business and management.   

Followed by 4 years as Sommelier, Store Manager, and Wine Buyer at www.HeightsChateau.com, a smaller boutique retail store, yet renown for its hand-picked wine and spirits selection and its attentive-to-details service, and one of the most specialized Fine Wine & Spirits Boutique ("Caviste") in Brooklyn Heights (NYC, USA), where owner Matthew La Sorsa (and the rest of the team) taught me everything I know about Italian and French boutique style wines, as well as customer services.    

NB: Check the store's respective website for more descriptions and prices, and pay them a visit on your next trip to NYC if you can.


My Hong Kong Years: 2011 to present


In August 2011, after 9 years working in the wine retail business in the city that never sleeps, I flew to the other side of the world and relocated to Hong Kong, where I'm still currently working.

I first worked as Head Sommelier/Wine Buyer/Restaurant manager, for about 6 months, then for less than 3 months as a Restaurant Manager in another restaurant. Yet, I could not do it no more, the hours (9 am till 1 am, lunch and dinner service, 6 days a week), the pressure, standing up and running around for hours, etc.... and although I loved working in the restaurant business, my whole body was shattered and a few physical issues made me unable to continue any longer working in restaurant. 

So, after a difficult 9 months start in this new town, resulting in an unpredictable turn of events, and having no longer the psychological motivation, nor the physical will to continue, I decided to definitively retire from the restaurant life (for good this time). The following months after making that decision were difficult times at so many levels, where the question of staying or leaving Hong Kong came recurrently on a daily basis. 

I had no possibility to go back to Europe or the US. I had to take care of my little family and pay for rent, food, transportation, bills, the kid's school and everything else... Morally and physically down, I literally touched and stayed at the bottom for a while, nearly 7 months, during which, even if tired and depressed and unable to find a solution, I still had to move on and work to sustain my family. I eventually ended up creating and registering my own Sommelier - Wine consulting company and logically called it "LeDomduVin". 

Under the wine consultant name of "LeDomduVin", I mainly worked as a Brand Ambassador for Burgundy wines that I presented and poured for refined guests in a vast array of places including Art Galleries, Private Member Clubs, Underground Discotheques and even at the "Hainan Super-yachts/Business Jets/Luxury Car and Lifestyle Exhibition" (where I had a mini-booth within the Beneteau-Azimut Yachts pier offering wines to multi-billionaires visiting the boats). It was fun for a while, but it did not bring enough cash, thus I needed a more stable job and salary.  For a very short while, I became the wine purchasing manager for two online boutique stores, and I could have stayed but my business vision, opinion and palate were too radically different than the owners of these wine online stores. So I had to move on again.     

Finally, in July 2012, nearly a year after arriving in Hong Kong, rather unexpectedly and via a Chef I befriended in a trip to Tianjin (China) two years earlier, I found my current job as Wine Quality Control Director for the Wine Division of one of Hong Kong major corporate Finacial companies, Goldin Group... 

I have been working there ever since, 7 years already. I work for the Wine Division of the Group, called Goldin Wines, where despite my title, I have many hats and do many different things, but too difficult and too long to explain. 

Strange how things go sometimes, as for the first time in my life, I'm not in charge of choosing, selecting and/or purchasing the wines for the company, which I had difficulties to accept at first, normal after occupying Wine Buyer positions for about 20 years. However, I still very privileged,  as I get to work really closely with the top 250 wines in the world (75% Bordeaux, 20% Burgundy and 5% of other wines from the rest of the world) on a daily basis, which is great. 


In any case, this turn in my career path, and the fact that I'm not directly in a position of Wine Buyer has not diminished my love for small, independent, unknown producers who craft their wines with patience, passion, attention, and dedication like my grandfather used to do it. And I continue to browse around the shelves of various wine retail stores to keep up with the markets (and for my personal consumption), and taste as much as I can to keep a sharp palate and read and write about wine to continuously grow and improve my knowledge.


At the end of the day, I'm just a regular guy born in the vines with a passion for wine, often characterized as a "Sommelier, Épicurien, Baroudeur, Amoureux de la Vie, Agent Perturbateur, Curieux et Creatif", following the "Carpe Diem" way, who taste and buy all sort of wines (and spirits too) from all around the world since 1992 (1991 unofficially). 


Tasting is very subjective; every palate is different. My writings, tasting notes and wine descriptions will be frank, explicit and detailed with loads of info. Purely and solely personal, my notes, comments, opinions are results of my taste bud's sensations during the tasting and are not intended to influence you or your wine buying decision, but just to guide you and provide more info. 

As often as I can, I will update my blog with new tasting notes, remarks about my favorite wines and discoveries.

2017 marked my 25th year working in direct relation with Wine and Spirits, and my 20th year as a certified Sommelier / Wine Buyer, tasting more than 10,000 wines a year, only relying on my taste buds, armed solely with my passion for food and wine complemented by a discriminating palate, a weird and sarcastic sense of humor, and plenty of things to say (often not relevant, but why not?..)

Santé, Cheers and enjoy!

Dominique Noël a.k.a. LeDomduVin

#dominiquenoel #ledomduvin #whoisledomduvin




LeDomduVin Blog: http://www.ledomduvin.com/





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