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interview • November 10th, 2021

Interview with Ellen Kinkartz


Ellen Kinkartz is sommelier at restaurant Atelier. Together with her partner, chef Hans Kinkartz, she opened Atelier, back in 1999. Here, Ellen pampers wine lovers with many rare labels. In addition to French-oriented wines, the wine list offers a wide variety from the Netherlands and Belgium. Restaurant Atelier is housed inside a former tailor's studio in Gulpen, the Netherlands. In this historic building, you will find a modern dining spot with a stylish industrial interior. We asked Ellen about her career as a sommelier and her favourite wines.

Ellen, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

After working in the kitchens of several restaurants, I did a dietician course and a patisserie course to specialize in the hospitality field. I eventually entered the Wine Academy and got my WSET degrees. In 1999 I joined forces with my partner Hans and became co-owner and sommelier of restaurant Atelier.

The most expensive and great wines sell by themselves, that's no challenge.

Ellen Kinkartz

Restaurant Atelier

What characterizes a good sommelier?

As a sommelier, you have to let people taste the wine, inform and advise them on new styles and honest flavours, and you have to always be looking for the small, traditional farmers who produce special gems. The most expensive and great wines sell by themselves, that's no challenge.

What are your personal rules for food and wine pairing?

A good wine ensures that the dish can be lifted to a higher level.

What are some of the most special wines you have and how are they different from others?

At restaurant Atelier, we like to work with regional wines, especially from South Limburg. In addition to this, I have a great love for wines from Germany and Austria, but also very freaky orange wines.

What are the qualities to look for when purchasing wine?

Digestibility, a balance between acidity, alcohol level, and minerality.

What is the best wine you have tasted and what made it so great?

Over the years, many beautiful wines have been reviewed by me. There are so many wines to discover. The most exciting was Gantenbein from Switzerland. It is an exceptionally hard-to-find wine from Switzerland. Combined with a fantastic dinner at Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland, it was very memorable.

What's one thing in the area that guests have to see or do?

Guests should visit the numerous vineyards in our area. For example Apostelhoeve, Holset, St. Martines, Genoels Elderen, but also the various smaller farmers such as Steenberg in Epen and Wijngaardsberg in Ulestraten

Thank you, Ellen.

Book your table at restaurant Atelier

Are you curious to try the delicious modern French cuisine of restaurant Atelier in Gulpen, the Netherlands? You can easily make your lunch or dinner reservation through our website.