Today the article will be different! I always talk here about the different types of wines, their characteristics and harmonization, but I had never talked about the professional who lives for (and for) wines: the sommelier! During the short time that I am inserted in the world of wines, I was able to meet many sommeliers, but some had a greater “fault” in my adoration and in my understanding in this matter: my cousin Miguel Nogueira (restaurant sommelier) Les Deux , in Americana-SP), my friend Amauri Sulsbach (sommelier from Emporium Sta Therezinha in Campinas-SP), and my friend and I think I can call her a teacher, Josi Piere (sommelière and owner of Brancotinto Winebar & Bistro in Indaiatuba-SP). It was having a relaxed chat with Josi that the idea for this article came up! I asked her to ask me some questions about her profession, advantages and disadvantages, courses, etc …
photo: Marcelo Wollermann
Josi graduated from Sommelière at Centro Universitário Senac in São Pedro-SP, and did not stop there. Conducted Advanced Wine Course and Wine Marketing Course by the Brazilian Association of Sommeliers and wine training in Wine Institute of Mendoza, in Argentine. She has been in the profession for 8 years, and in that period she had the chance to visit several wineries around the world, such as Valleys of Colchagua, Apalta, Elqui, Limarí, Aconcagua, San Antonio, Casablanca, Maipo, Bio Bio and Leyda in Chile; Mendoza, Cafayate, Patagonia and Rioja in Argentina; Canelones and Canelon Chico in Uruguay; Vale dos Vinhedos, Campanha and Encruzilhada in Brazil; Ribera del Duero in Spain; Alentejo and Setubal in Portugal; Tuscany in Italy and Languedoc, Roussillon and Champagne in France. (What a bad life, right ?? !! Lol).
During your travels you can follow all the procedures for wine making, from the harvest to the winemaking processes, and had the chance to meet and interview some oenologists (the interviews you can see here: www.tvadega.com.br). I take the chance to make an observation: winemakers are professionals responsible for wine making, the sommelier is the professional who works in restaurants, takes care, stores properly, indicates and serves the drink to the consumer, not just wines, but all kinds of drinks. In addition, the sommelier can also work with sales in specialized stores, importers and wineries.
I have thought several times about quitting my profession as a biologist to become a sommelier and I believe that after reading our chat you will understand why I am so divided between these two of my loves: wine and biology!
ICKFD: How is your daily life as a sommelier?
Josi: What I do most is sell, not basically wines. In this capitalist world, everything is sold … Rssr … In reality, I think that the first attitude of a good professional, expert in wines, is to awaken the passion for the oenophile universe, selling wines is a consequence of sharing information. Talk about one terroir, the process of making a live drink (the only one in the world that is born, evolves and dies), the aromas that wine evokes, the pleasures and experiences and talking about the benefits that wine brings to health is something that makes me happy and thrills me. There, seeing and selling, I have to take care of the stock, research and buy new wines; I plan events, assemble cards for restaurants, develop harmonized menus, etc.
ICKFD: What are the advantages of being a sommelier?
Josi: The first is the social and geographical issue. The profession provides contact with people open to learning and self-knowledge, people willing to explore the senses and make friends. And it is interesting how the geographical, cultural and language boundaries disappear around the bowl.
ICKFD: And the disadvantages?
Josi: You come across a person who doesn’t taste, who just drinks and still “keeps renting you” to fill the glass until the wee hours. It sucks! The second disadvantage is facing the “enochato”, which knows everything. In this universe, we find a lot of “sommeliers” who do not remove their ties from wine. The guy who’s not at all democratic with drinking.
ICKFD: You own a Winebar. What exactly is a winebar?
Josi: A wine bar, where you can taste wines from around the world with the advantage of being able to taste portions in glasses, this makes complex and expensive wines accessible.
ICKFD: To become a sommelier, what course should I take? Are they technologists or higher education?
Josi: In Brazil there is no Superior Sommellerie Course, only in France. Here the options are Free Courses, with or without Higher Education requirements, Food and Beverage courses, within the Gastronomy course or even Technical Schools. And there is also the possibility of Sommellerie training in specialized Associations, such as Brazilian Association of Sommeliers (ABS).
ICKFD: What is the average cost of a course to become a sommelier?
Josi: Is expensive. To be a good professional it is not enough to take a course, you have to take several, buy books and specialized magazines, dedicate yourself to reading, travel and, above all, you have to have a lot of “litrage”. Furthermore, it takes time.
ICKFD: Are there courses for amateurs, who do not want to take wine as a profession, but as a passion? What types of courses are they?
Josi: Yes of course. Those are the cheapest and fastest. I myself teach introductory courses in oenophilia, basic courses and advanced wine courses.
ICKFD: Where can I do it?
Josi: At BRANCOTINTO (rsrsrs), our wine and bistro shop located in the region of Campinas – SP. It is a company specialized in the subject.
ICKFD: And what is the average cost of these courses?
Josi: The 4-hour courses cost from R $ 200.00 to R $ 250.00. Includes teaching material, tasting of 8 wines and 4 courses.
After our conversation, Josi offered to answer questions from our readers about Winebar, about the courses and also about his profession. To contact her, it can be through the website: http://www.brancotinto.com.br or on the facebook page.
For more information about courses for amateurs and professionals throughout Brazil, visit the official website of ABS (Brazilian Association of Sommeliers): https://www.abs-sp.com.br/associacoes