Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What it takes to become a Sommelier”.

by Aug 6, 2021Eccentric Somelier0 comments

DEAR READER,

As the grapes grow richer, so do the bottler and buyer!

Wine is an investment, my dear readers. Never forget the long game!

Now, for some advice you folks have solicited:

Sommelier Ferdinand,

I want to be a sommelier, like yourself. I have the respect for fine wines, but I don’t know if I have the dedication. Did you ever have a moment when it became clear you should become a wine expert? –Robert

I appreciate it, Robert. The truth is: to be an expert in fine wine, you need tremendous respect for the art.

What we do is like metallurgy; we take the finest material from the Earth, and we present it to our fellow man. The only difference is that metallurgists have numbers and instruments, whereas all we sommeliers have is our bodies—so we need to give it all our passion to truly understand fine wine.

I found my passion in Tuscany, when I was thirty-five. At a training seminar, in fact. But it wasn’t wine that I fell for. Her name was Matilde. On day two of our weeklong course, she caught my eye. And being the most talented sommelier there (naturally), I brought her to my side.

Matilde swept me off my feet. It was passionate, rich; everything my underdeveloped tongue longed for from a glass of red, in fact. After a few days, it became clear: I’d stopped caring for the seminar—she had nearly displaced wine in my heart!

Around day thirteen she brought up the idea of eloping. Everyone knew that day thirteen was a crash-course on international light wines. If Matilde wanted to see the world with me so bad, why not attend class that day?

How could I let myself drift so far from the grape? If I’d considered skipping day thirteen, for even a millisecond, clearly something had gone wrong, right?

She sensed my hesitation, and that was that. She skipped seminar that day. Sommelier Ferdinand hasn’t seen her since.

Tuscany, 1986. I came into it a full-bodied, spirited man. But Matilde split me in two, and I left that naïve half in Tuscany. I believe that Wine gave me Matilde as a test; a siren to drag me away from my sommelier path. But I saw my future customers, wine buyers, restauranteurs—staring back at me, waiting for a drop of red…

It truly was an affair to remember. But, should you want success, Robert, you’ll need more dedication than Matilde. If she savors wine nowadays, it’s at the local café once or twice a week, between bites of cake. I, on the other hand, have given wine my all. Because I know true love when I see it.

-Sommelier Ferdinand. 12.7.21

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