Marcell Kustos is a beverage director, winemaker and wine communicator and – with his cross-functional background – redefines the modern-day sommelier.
Kustos’s passion for wine started in his family’s small vineyard, following the Hungarian tradition of growing grapes and making wine for daily consumption. After obtaining a qualification in food engineering and winemaking operations, Kustos worked as a food product developer before turning his hand to wine. While undertaking a master’s degree in gastronomy he attended numerous wine tastings and began working as a sommelier.
His curiosity for memorable wine experiences led to a PhD in food, wine and emotional pairing at the University of Adelaide in collaboration with Wine Australia and UC Davis.
Research allowed Kustos to build relationships with wineries across Australia that landed him a job offer at Penfolds Magill Estate. As the head sommelier and wine buyer, he created one of the country’s most extensive champagne lists and managed a cellar of fine and rare wines dating back to 1946.
In 2021 Kustos joined an ambitious new project showcasing the unique flavours of the Adelaide Botanic Garden through memorable dining experiences. As the former beverage director at Restaurant Botanic, he was responsible for developing the beverage program (wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, non-alcoholic) and all elements of service from concept to a multi-award-winning establishment. A background in product development allowed Kustos to initiate, manage and deliver innovative and exclusive beverage development projects internally and in collaboration with the wine, spirit and beer industries.
A background as a winemaker gives Kustos a unique perspective on wine, from grape to glass. In 2018 he founded LUDO Wines to produce wines with transparency, curiosity and precision.
As a member of Sommeliers Australia – SA Chapter Board, Kustos works towards organising and hosting wine events for the Australian wine and hospitality industry and wider public. He received the ASVO AWAC Scholarship, Wine Communicators Australia Wine Industry Mentor Program, Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador Scholarship, Sommeliers Australia Education Scholarship, Wine Australia Research Scholarship and was a finalist for the Sommelier of the Year by Gault & Millau.