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Sometimes you Win, sometimes you learn! with Stalo Arambantzi
27 Apr 2018

We are living in an era where young Sommeliers are increasing in numbers and slowly rising. 

The Last 5 Years the Cyprus Sommeliers Association has been increasing in younger enthusiast that have been observing the older sommeliers over the years and are now eager to learn All there is to learn about wine, spirits, tea and even coffee and follow the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest Sommeliers. The level of knowledge of the sommeliers that are representing Cyprus at European and world competitions is improving drastically and I am sure that the help and guidance from some of the older Sommeliers has contributed to this in many ways. 

 

How did you get into wines?

The Wine bug had been planted into my mind many years ago when a few professionals from the hospitality industry had been selected then, to observe a masterclass by the President of the International Sommelier Association

Mr. Giuseppe Vaccarini. It was then that I was enchanted by the world of Food and Wine and wanted to learn more and more. But my crazy Wine Friends inspire and contribute to my daily passion of wine.

 

Your Inspiration?

Every day someone might inspire me without knowing. But one of my inspirations in this industry was always the one and only Mr. Gerard Basset that is probably the only person in the world that holds the titles of Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, Best Sommelier of Europe and after a few attempts dedication and hard work Best Sommelier of the world. If his Passion and persistence for striving and being the best professional is not an example of never giving up to us, then I really can’t think of anybody else that sets that example. 

 

What was your experience from the Best Sommelier of Cyprus competition this year?

This Year the Cyprus Sommelier Association organized the 8th National Competition for the Best Sommelier of Cyprus 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol were 12 candidates participated and only 3 made it to the grand finale. The Passion, Teamwork and Ethos from all the candidates that participated was Really Amazing, to see how much they helped and supported each other prior to the competition was something that really impressed me. A true example that shared knowledge can only build strong bonds and experiences and set a new meaning to our profession that can surely make us all feel proud.

Like a very good friend of mine said, that in any competition you participate in “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” but you must never give up!

 

What does it take to be a Sommelier? 

In my opinion, first you must be a humble person that shows Love and Respect for Wine and those that make it. You must have a passion for learning. You must be ready to dedicate your personal time to study hard and travel and invest in your knowledge, be upset when you think you have failed but get back up and try again. Times are moving fast and you must try to always be informed about the old and new trends. A Sommelier should not intimidate the guests he serves but make them feel comfortable and build their trust.

 

Cyprus has a history in wine production but the last years we have seen an increase in the quality of wine produced and certainly a greater variety of labels. What are your views on this?  

Yes indeed! I believe the terroir has played a major role in the quality of our wines, we have for example The Same Grape Variety planted in different areas, giving us more diverse wines, Local Grape Varieties that have been observed over the years by the winemakers and the quality improved. The correct way of storing and Serving a wine and the temperature it should be served to the guest. Here I believe the Sommeliers played a very important part in this.

 

What was your best experience in the wine field so far?

Every moment has been special and an experience for me.

But the best has to be the moments and wine trips I have shared with friends in

France, China and Austria at various competitions. But the best has to be the trip to Argentina Mendoza with the Cyprus Sommelier Association to watch the Grand Final for the Best Sommelier of the world 2016. Magical Moments with a Glass of Malbec and good friends.

 

With Josep Roca at the Michelin awarded CELLAR DE CAN ROCA in Spain.

 

What do you see yourself doing in the future?

Travel more that’s my investment. But one of my Dreams and Visions for the Future is for our Association. My Vision is to have our Own Sommelier Academy/school in Cyprus. I believe one day this will happen once all that should be involved wake up and understand how important this is for the Wine and Tourism Industry of Cyprus and support us more.

 

 

Stalo Arambantzi is the Vice President of the Cyprus Sommeliers Association and an active member. She is working at the Four Seasons Hotel for the last 20 years and is the Supervisor of the Chinese Restaurant there. She likes to travel the world and observe various Cocktail and Sommelier Competitions, attend Bar shows and wine exhibitions and mostly join various volunteer Associations in need. She is perhaps the only passionate female wine connoisseur we came across on the island and we are sure she will never stop reaching her never ending goals in life! Good luck Stalo!

 

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