Maestro 51’s wines are not picked based on their trendiness. Importer, sommelier and entrepreneur Deniz Löktas does not believe in trends: ”They will always come and go but good wine stays.”
Turkish Deniz Löktas moved to Finland 11 years ago partly by chance. For Löktas food and wine had always been a big part of life but only when he moved to Finland he understood he wanted to work with gastronomy – particularly with wines.
”Food is a big part of Turkish culture. When I moved to Finland I started to taste different kinds of wines. I believe wine builds the culture. In everyday life when people rarely see each other, wine is like a glue that brings people together.”
Löktas had previously studied landscape architecture. He wanted to get closer to the food and wine business and started studying for an undergraduate degree in restaurant and catering. At the same time he started to host dinners and food & wine tastings.
”I always knew I wanted to work with wines. However, wines go hand in hand with food, so I needed to get knowledge of food and restaurant practices. I started working as a waitress and sommelier in top restaurants in Helsinki. It was a good way to learn from the best.”
The Turkish wines on Maestro 51’s wine list are full of surprises
Löktas is an entrepreneur from head to toe. Passion for wines isn’t enough to run a business, he says. One needs to understand not only numbers but people. Easy going and approachable Löktas has made a lot of connections from the industry. Through his reputation and connections he ended up supplying wines to Maestro 51.
“At Maestro 51 they knew that I didn’t import anything that I wouldn’t serve as a sommelier. We had a tasting together with Maestro’s crew, where I had brought a few Turkish wines. Turkish wines can really surprise. Now they’ll keep surprising people at Maestro 51, since they were picked to the wine list.”
Löktas relies on the basics: well-produced, high-quality and carefully combined food and wine will convince its audience. He doesn’t follow trends.
“I don’t believe in trends – they come and go. Some say that natural wines are now in. I like to think they are always in if they’re any good. Marketing trends will fade, but good wines won’t.