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Humans of Applejack: Zac Horntvedt

We sat down for a chat with Bopp & Tone’s New Sommelier, Zac Horntvedt.

With a wealth of experience and passion for wine, Zac has already made a significant impact on the wine list, service, and wine culture at Bopp & Tone.

Working with Applejack Group Sommelier Amandine Rouvier Zac has been working in Wynyard for 4 months now; curating wine lists, running internal wine trainings and servicing tables.

Keep reading to discover more about his experience, how he came to work with Applejack, his favourite winery, and so much more.

Let’s Chat…

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your experience in hospitality?

I started my career in wine sales back in 2016 with my family’s wine distribution whilst I was waiting/bartending for a small Italian restaurant in Narrabeen – worked away at both jobs for a few years learning, and more importantly drinking! Until one night in late November 2020, our very own Amandine Rouviere came into the restaurant with the Bert’s Bar & Brasserie Sommelier and Management team for a BYO birthday dinner. We got to talking and the next thing I knew they were taking a bet on a random bartender to work as a Sommelier in a two hatted, Wine list hall of fame restaurant with no experience as a Somm!

For the next two years I spent all my time studying wine and service, worked closely with my mentor Emilien Rebeilleau (the former Head Sommelier of Bert’s) & met many more people through the years, including five different Master Sommeliers, two of which helped me with my personal development. And of course, Amandine, who brought me into Bert’s and gave me the best foundations to launch my career.

But in a case of deja vu, I again followed over to Applejack and into Bopp & Tone. And now for the past four months I have been loving my new role at Bopp & Tone and all the people I’ve met and worked with so far, so I’m pretty excited about what the future has to offer here.

What do you love about being a Sommelier & working in hospitality?

I am and always have been a people person, I started working hospo when I was only 13, now 26 it’s literally been half my life oh the good the bad and the ugly of the industry – early starts, late finishes, cleaning, running etc… I’ve seen it all and done it all. Being a Sommelier however, this has been the best gig so far – and far less food stains on my clothes to worry about.

To me it’s a lot more personal, I’m here to not only help find what wine matches someones palate or dish, but also introduce them to something completely new and exciting. The history and stories behind the wineries and people that work them are also amazing, I’ve been privileged to meet some incredible winemakers and go travel to some phenomenal wineries in and around Australia and New Zealand. Hearing how eah and every winemaker has their own ethos around there wines and how they grow, make and mature them is incredible – this has truely become such a fulfilling career. 

What is your favourite wine or winery currently on the Bopp & Tone winelist?

My personal favourites at the moment are…

Favourite Wine – Cerretto Barbaresco 2019 (Italian Nebbiolo)

Favourite Winery – Pierre Girardin (Burgundian wine maker)

Why Applejack?

I’m my time working for hospitality I’ve worked for a lot of ‘mum & pop’ businesses and of course the biggest hospitality company in Australia, and both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages – the little guys feel personal, you’re more attached to the day-to-day and you’re recognised more directly by everyone involved and it feels like a family. But there’s a ceiling, you an only go so far and only have so many resources available to you. The big guys on the other hand have so much more at their disposal, more resources, money and people – but you’re a cog in the machine, you’re individual venue might give you some recognition but at the end of the day there are hundreds to thousands of others.

Applejack, is not the same. AJ feels like a middle guy, it has all the touches of personality from individuals, the people you work with, drink with, learn with and become friends with are just like the little guys, but you never feel like just another cog. You don’t feel like another person clocking in and clocking out, the people at the top know you and recognise your work and what you do, and the tools and resources needed to progress are here, and in my limited time of working at Bopp & Tone, i’ve seen how it’s actively changing and growing/developing to give everyone the tools we need to improve every part of our work lives, Bopp is big, but you feel big in it. 

We are looking forward to taking Bopp & Tone’s wine list, culture & service to the next level with Zac on board.

Explore the Bopp & Tone wine list below & explore career opportunities to work with Zac or at our other venues across Sydney.