I decided to write this article because I am really tired of hearing such nonsense about the sommelier. I am also quite fed up with so many improvisers who have been given a voice by social networks and the web without any preparation. With a bit of provocation and a bit of irony, here is a list of 5 things that can piss off even the holiest of the sommelier!
Let's be clear, every job has positive and negative aspects, and statistically the negative aspects are much more familiar to those in the environment... but today I do not want to dwell so much on the sommelier professionbut on thebe sommelier. That is, I wrote this article for all aspiring sommeliers and the sommelier professionals or amateurs who sweated 7 shirts to get our blessed diploma at theAIS, to the FISAR or in other associations dedicated... and can't take any more of hearing such collective platitudes from people who have no idea what it's like!
1. Becoming a Sommelier is easy, there is not much to study
So... obviously I cannot speak for all the Sommelier Associationsbut from what I understand, the teaching methods are very similar and they all derive from 'Mama AIS', as many people call her. So many times I have been told that become sommelier was rubbish and that there was certainly little theory to study. We make it clear that for pass the AIS examination it is necessary, to begin with, to be fully familiar with these teaching texts:
- The World of the Sommelier (textbook for entry-level sommelier courses, 459 pages)
- Tasting (textbook for first-level sommelier courses, 239 pages)
- Il Vino Italiano vol. A (textbook for second-level sommelier courses, 369 pages)
- Il vino italiano vol. B (textbook for second-level sommelier courses, 703 pages)
- Wine in the World (textbook for second-level sommelier courses, 558 pages)
- Il Cibo e il Vino (textbook for third-level sommelier courses, 477 pages)
Now, if mathematics is not an opinion, we sommeliers have studied 2,085 pages about wine. I 2085 pages I read them at least once, some over and over again to memorise them well because they didn't fit in my head... so the first one I hear who tells me that for become sommelier there's not much to study I make them drink 3 litres of wine in cartons!
2. Who cares if you can't find your corkscrew, use this one, they're all the same anyway!
From the course we get used to carrying our corkscrew from home. We don't do it out of snobbery, but because we need it to learn how to serve wine. Woe if we don't find it when we have to open a bottle! Let's dispel the myth, corkscrews are NOT all the same! In particular THIS Parrot by Alessi is particularly beautiful... It's hard enough getting to grips with one to be elegant without cutting your thumb, let alone learning how to use a new one! Opening a bottle for the sommelier is a real ritual, not a moment to be quickly concluded like a drunken nuisance... So if you don't want the sommelier also open your head... never tell him that all corkscrews are the same and the important thing is to open the bottle!
3.The course to become a Sommelier? An excuse to get drunk!
Have you ever been told that the sommelier course is a study on how to get drunk and that the sommelier are alcoholics with a split liver? I don't know how many of these jokes I've heard from friends or acquaintances... what a nerve! All right, that people speak without knowledge we all know that! And we also know that there's a real involution going on... but damn it! Becoming a sommelier is tiring and requires great physical, mental and financial commitment.
I, for example, used to go to the Alta Romagna Delegation in Faenza and I lived in Ravenna! Two lessons a week, in the evenings, and I used to leave home at 7 p.m. and return at 1 a.m. when it suited me! And all this after a whole day's work! On Saturdays and Sundays we often studied because 2000 pages are not peanuts! Becoming a sommelier is a passion, not a vice or an addiction like alcoholism. For some it is even a profession... so respect, thank you!
4. Sommeliers are pussies with an axe to grind!
4.1 Pussies? Naaah!
I sommelier? Sophisticated pussies with a stink under their noses! Mamma what nerves! Am I not a simple person because I like to know what's on my plate and what's in my glass? Are you kidding me? Everyone is free to educate themselves in the subject they prefer: there are those who study medicine, those who study law, those who study architecture, those who study literature, those who study economics... and there are those who study food and wine! Man is a perfect machine, and like any machine he needs petrol to function. Our petrol is what we eat and what we drink. So it seems reasonable to me to say that educating ourselves about our petrol not only satisfies our senses, but will probably grant us a few more years of life! Desiring to eat and drink well is part of an individual's culture.
Let's define a simple person: sometimes it means that he or she is a person with no particular talents, others that he or she is a person with no clutter. Of the two definitions, we assume the latter. I believe that carefully choosing what you eat denotes great simplicity: I don't drink that label because it is famous, I drink that label because I know it is a good wine. Since when is inner beauty considered more snobbish than outer beauty?
4.2 Sophisticated? Yes, but...
As for sophisticated... did you know that it has two meanings? Yes, the first is not nice: it is said of a person who is 'contrived, not at all spontaneous'. No, I can't say I'm not spontaneous: the only thing fake about me is the gel on my nails! If I sin of anything in life, it is of excessive spontaneity (some would call it a slight lack of diplomacy). Thank you for telling me that I am sophisticated: I confirm, I am. Sophisticated is said of a perfected person, very advanced. Thank you for the compliment! 😇
4.3 Stink under the nose!
I was once told that I have a stink under my nose because I sent back a bottle of wine that tasted corked. Regardless of whether the wine in question costs €5 or €50, respecting one's own money or that of one's companions seems to me a reasonable desire. The stench in our noses sommelier don't like to hear it, let alone keep it underneath! We don't like to throw our money and your money in the bin, so next time say thank you!
5. I didn't do the Sommelier course because you know, I don't like to judge a wine by technique, I prefer emotions! And then so I am not biased!
Now, anyone who knows me knows that this is the thing that pisses me off the most! So let me get this straight... if you want an opinion on a heart problem you don't go to a surgeon! You prefer a blogger who hasn't studied but is full of empathy towards your body... right? Forgive me if I always become polemical when I broach this subject! Of two things, however, I am certain:
- It is absolutely not true that I shelled out € 1,500 (course fees) + at least another € 1,000 for an education that could be obtained on the Internet (library cards have not been fashionable for years) to have less excitement than those who did not want to or could not study;
- I am in no way biased when I taste a wine. At most I speak knowledgeably about it.
Besides, I am biased for what? I chose theItalian Sommelier Association because it is the mother of all Sommelier Associations and has excellent teaching, but I do not feel biased when I taste a wine or talk to a person. I love to engage with all wine enthusiasts, whether they are AIS, FISAR, FIS or anything else. I don't judge the wines in the AIS VITAE Guide as good, which made me a little perplexed about certain entries (let's say sparkling wines that I wouldn't even use to make risotto...), but which also introduced me to great excellence in its presentation event in Milan. I don't love cheering a team. I love to be a team player. But without titles, without affiliations, without races.
I love to team up with wine professionals, the real ones.
Who, to recap, get pissed off if you tell them their diploma is worthless. That they have a special corkscrew. That they don't get drunk. That they are not sophisticated pussies with a stink under their nose just because they have more culture than others. But above all, that they have learned the technique of naming emotion.
We are sommelier. We are wine professionals. Sometimes we write about wine. Sometimes we curate events. Sometimes we serve customers. Sometimes we simply stick our noses into everything. But we are a beautiful team and together we advance the culture of wine.
Always yours, with affection.
P.S. I know, I have already said it... but how beautiful is the Parrot professional corkscrew by Alessi? These days on Amazon it is also at a discount... almost....
P.P.S. Please note for those who wrote to me on Facebook: this is not an Alessi branding 😀 (I still laugh just thinking about it... mamma mia!) Blogs are supported by advertising, sponsorships and affiliations... and this one falls into the latter case! If you buy this corkscrew on Amazon from the link on my blog I get a small commission on the sale! So if you like this corkscrew, it's a great way to support my blog that costs you nothing, in fact you save us money compared to the sale price in the shop! 😉 I only promote products that I like, that I have bought or tried. The Parrot professional corkscrew by Alessi Andrea gave it to Laura for her birthday. He gave me the Pulltex one with swarovski crystals, which is beautiful but unfortunately has a knife that doesn't cut the capsule well, so I don't recommend it and I don't promote it here on the blog: you need too much manual skill to use it and the result is not as excellent as with the Alessi parrot!
Now that I've finished the branding I can go and pop open a good bottle... Cheers!🍷