Wine group's events also raise a toast to charity

The Flying Sommeliers, (from left) Michael Leitner, Fazil Mohamad, Gerald Lu and Amir Solay.
The Flying Sommeliers, (from left) Michael Leitner, Fazil Mohamad, Gerald Lu and Amir Solay.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Sommeliers are wine professionals often associated with all things snooty.

But The Flying Sommeliers will have you know that they are also passionate about charity. Starting next Monday, the four sommeliers who make up the group will present five charity dinners which will each end with silent auctions for bottles of wine.

Besides impressing patrons with their professional knowledge during the dinners, the group will raise awareness of SPD (formerly known as the Society for the Physically Disabled).

They will also be swopping their suits for Star Wars costumes, playing characters such as Boba Fett and Darth Vader.

Group founder Amir Solay, 41, said suppliers sell bottles of wine at cost price so that The Flying Sommeliers can net greater profits. He is the group sommelier at Unlisted Collection, which owns restaurants Burnt Ends, Salted & Hung and Bincho, among others.

The Flying Sommeliers raised $3,000 last year for SPD and plan to double it this year.

"There are two more dinners and one more sommelier on board so we decided to double the target," said Mr Gerald Lu, 32, head sommelier at Praelum Wine Bistro and a newcomer to the group.

This year's dinners are at Salted & Hung, Pollen Terrace, Praelum Wine Bistro, Salt Tapas & Bar and Chef's Table. Each dinner can seat 25 to 30 people.

Four are priced at $168++ per person, while the last one on July 17 costs $228++ per person. Ten per cent of the proceeds will go to the SPD.

At each dinner, there will be an auction of three bottles of wine picked by the sommeliers. Last year, a 1.5-litre 1995 Cristal Champagne, which had been donated, sold for $1,200.

Mr Amir said: "I've been in the industry for 23 years and I noticed that there is not much camaraderie within the industry. I thought I'd put together some of Singapore's best sommeliers to showcase our industry and to help charity."

So he started The Flying Sommeliers with his friends Fazil Mohamad, 36, group sommelier at Salt Group, and Michael Leitner, 37, a former sommelier at Ku De Ta who is now a sales manager at SingBev.

Mr Aaron Goh, 42, a tea distributor, attended one of the dinners last year at Pollen. "The food and the pairing of the wine was good. I thought it was something very wonderful - instead of just eating, you can also contribute to charity at the same time," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Wine group's events also raise a toast to charity'. Print Edition | Subscribe