I, Sommelier

It’s official: Today I became a sommelier. The crowning glory of over 2 years of study with the AIS – Associazione Italiana Sommelier.

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It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t supposed to be. Memorizing grape varieties, vintages and wine-growing regions across the globe… Bad enough, Italy has 73 DOCG and over 330 DOC wines: you have to know what grapes they’re made from (over 440 varietals in Italy). Do you know the different ways that the bubbly is made? What about distillation (and no, I don’t mean prohibition-style brews in the backyard!)?

The program is – almost – overwhelming.

My classmates and I buckled down; we’ve been spending weekends, evenings, any free time at all, over the past few months memorizing, talking aloud to ourselves, reciting litanies of locations and libations.

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Growing up in New York, I was lucky: my parents took us to restaurants where there was ‘a waiter only for the wine’. I can still remember being fascinated by the tastevin, and wanting to wear a necklace like that too, some day.

Many of my friends and family said: Why? Why do you need another degree? Another piece of paper?

How do you break the news to them: this is only the beginning!

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Maintaining a sense of humor goes a long way to passing the AIS written and oral exams!

Onward and upward!

And to all my fellow sommeliers, a toast:  Cheers! Cin-cin! And CONGRATULATIONS!

 

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