Dan 'Hollywood' Sims has been playing with wine since 1996 when he started working at the first (and at the time best) wine bar in Melbourne, Walter's Wine Bar. His inspiration was derived from a visit to the Margaret River region, and needless to say he has never looked back. After Walter's, Dan enjoyed an 18 month stint at Punch Lane where he continued to learn and confirm his passion for wine and food.
Dan was by now getting itchy feet and needed to see more of the world where the wines he loved were being grown. He ended up in London working at Al Duca with Giorgio Locatelli, and instantly fell in love with all things Italian. Being in London gave Dan the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience first hand France, Greece and of course Italy. Back in London, Dan was appointed as Assistant Sommelier at one of London's hottest wine spots, Noble Rot.
Upon his return to Melbourne, Hollywood started working at the Prince Wine Store
, and it was here his education into wine rose to new levels. Imbedded in an intense yet somehow relaxed wine culture working with Philip Rich (Financial Review) and Matt Skinner, Dan was given the opportunity to further learn and grow as a wine professional.
After the Prince Wine Store, a very productive period back at Punch Lane loomed where he took the business to new heights. Under his watchful gaze the wine list was awarded a prestigious three-glass award from the Wine List of the Year Awards, a major step forward for Punch Lane.
Dan's obvious passion and ability was making his presence felt in the restaurant game in Melbourne, as he was approached by restaurant guru Paul Mathis to take on the challenging role of Head Sommelier at Taxi Dining Room. It was here that he met Ben Edwards
who became a great friend and Mentor. The two of them grew the wine list to 1200 wines, which was highly praised and awarded. Dan also got to enjoy the thrill of being a part of the team that was awarded The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the year in 2006
Two years with Taxi saw Dan being approached by Matt Skinner to get on board for the high profile position of Head Sommelier at Fifteen Melbourne
. To do this Dan spent time in London's Fifteen to become familiar with the broad concept of the Fifteen Foundation. Dan returned to Fifteen Melbourne and got to work - results came fast with Dan being recognised as the inaugural Sommelier of The Year
by The Age Good Food Guide
Today, The Wine Guide is the focus of Dan's energy where he is a partner in the business. His ability to assess a situation and move in and get things done, has seen his skills become highly sought after to either start new wine lists, or fix existing ones. Communication is also a strong point for Dan, and whether in front of staff or an adoring crowd, his ability to keep wine real and on track regardless of time or place has made him an invaluable member of the presentation team for The Good Food & Wine Show
and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
.Follow Dan's exploits on Twitter!