Sartoria’s much-loved Head Sommelier, Michael Simms is one of London’s most experienced sommeliers. In May 2014, Michael’s wine list was awarded ‘Best Wine List’ by Tatler – an accolade held in very high esteem by the hospitality industry.
Michael Simms’ career in wine began by chance when he was put forward for a beginners’ wine course as a replacement for an absent colleague. This was during his first job at The Grand Hotel in Brighton. After the course, Michael put himself through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust exams, travelling up from Brighton to London once a week. A couple of years later he won Grant’s wine waiter of the year. The prize was a week in Bordeaux – “and of course I was hooked”.
In the early 80s Michael got a job as sommelier at The Ritz and within a year was promoted to Head Sommelier, a position he held for seven years: “Where else can you say you served Harold Macmillan, Henry Kissinger and Jackie Onasiss?” After a brief hiatus teaching English, Michael was headhunted to become Head Sommelier at Claridge’s. He stayed there for two years before moving to The Savoy followed by Vong at The Berkeley.
He was part of the team that moved to open Plateau in 2003 before he moved to Sartoria as Head Sommelier in 2008.