Always involved in Marketing and Communication, passionate about oenology and sommelier, Claudia Giussani loves discovering new realities, new wineries, new products and above all traveling to taste. Councilor of the Fisar delegation of Milan Duomo, she is responsible for the services and also takes care of the organization and registration for courses for sommeliers and introduction to tasting. We had the pleasure of interviewing her and asked her how this world is changing.
Interview with Claudia Giussani, to understand how the world of wine is changing and all the possibilities there are for those who want to take courses, become sommeliers and, in general, understand more about it.
The global upheavals of the last two years have also invaded the world of sommeliers. How did you react to the crisis and how has the world of courses changed?
From 2020 onwards, the health crisis will be a strong brake (not to say a real block!) to sommelier courses and more generally to wine events.
We, like Fisar Milano Duomo, were able to react promptly, starting the project immediately sommelier courses in online mode , continuing to also carry out the tasting part: we send a box with the bottles that will be tasted in the various lessons to the homes of our students.
Furthermore, in order not to leave our members "alone", we have also organized a large series of technical tastings, workshops, interviews to wineries, restaurateurs and industry experts online.
At this moment (January 2022) all our activities have resumed in-person mode - with the necessary precautions -, but we are ready to return to online sessions in the unfortunate event that there is still a need.
Predictions on how the world of wine will change in the coming years, with reference to teaching?
I think that, in the wine world, teaching will become increasingly participatory and interactive.
In recent years we have noticed an increase in interest in this sector not only from those coming from the sector but also from the audience of enthusiasts .
There will therefore be an increasing tendency to teach through guided tours, interviews, workshops, tastings and not only through the classic classroom lessons.
It is clear that they are various the types of students and aspiring sommeliers who attend your courses…
Yes, among our students we have different types of people, all sharing a passion for wine, a passion that does not necessarily derive from or aim to lead to a professional activity.
From an age point of view we detect a very wide gap: we have very young students, even just eighteen year olds , as well as over seventy .
As for the genre , there is no distinction between men and women : they are divided exactly in half.
And then there they are social aspects interesting: couples, groups of friends, fathers and mothers together with sons and daughters who choose our courses precisely to have an experience together.
There are definitely some professionals who already work in the world of wine or food and who intend to perfect their training or people who would like to look for a new professional outlet in these fields, but in terms of numbers they still remain in the minority.
In general, it can be said that those who attend our courses belong first and foremost to category of people passionate of the world of wine, who wish to enrich their knowledge and share it with others characterized by the same passion. It is beautiful to see how after the first lessons a group is created, homogeneous in passion even if from different backgrounds, happy to spend time together and delve deeper into this splendid world with us.
In addition to courses to become a sommelier, what are the possibilities that training associations like FISAR offer to wine enthusiasts today?
There are many activities designed for our members, and are aimed at both those who are already sommeliers and enthusiasts.
First of all it must be said that in addition to the courses for sommeliers there are also the simplest courses introduction to tasting , shorter approaches to wine that follow a more playful and convivial approach, always supported by the solid preparation of our speakers: they serve to start learning about the wonderful world of wine.
The tasting evenings , then, have a more technical slant and delve into wine-growing areas or vines in greater detail, discovering all the many realities of our country and the entire world.
The food-wine pairing dinners they have a more convivial character, they are designed in collaboration with the restaurant which prepares a gourmet menu for us which we pair with the wines. Dinners usually include multiple variations of a single grape variety, starting from bubbles, passing through dry wines - more or less structured - up to sweet wines, all while always seeking out true gems from the wine world.
The evenings dedicated to blind tastings (the so-called "blinds") help and entertain sommeliers and enthusiasts in recognizing the key characteristics of individual vines. It's also nice to get involved every now and then!
The visits to the cellar they are a way to enter the world of winemaking live: they allow the discovery of the territories, the cellars and the winemakers who interpret them and keep them alive. Often, we at FISAR Milano Duomo combine them with a typical lunch, capable of telling and leaving an even stronger impression on those who participate in the territoriality of the place visited.
Finally, there are the services , dedicated to qualified sommeliers. Our sommeliers are often requested for services during various types of events, such as fairs, gala dinners, various tasting evenings and various types of events. Through the service you put into practice, while having fun, what you have learned about an aspect that remains important in the life of a sommelier and you have the opportunity to get to the heart of the sector.
The job of the sommelier is also changing a lot. What are the essential skills today to become a sommelier in step with the times?
The skills of a good sommelier do not change over time: they have always been above all there passion , the desire to continue learn and know , the seriousness , commitment , courtesy .
Those who do this job best are therefore capable of advising, guiding in the discovery of wine and also infecting with his passion without being intrusive; knows the rules of good service and always has the smile on the lips. Wine is made of technicalities and notions, but it remains first and foremost a catalyst for conviviality.
And finally, any advice for wine enthusiasts?
The advice for all enthusiasts is undoubtedly that of never stop browsing , trying and tasting, without being fooled by labels or appellations : wine is a pleasure and should be approached as such.
So put yourself out there, don't be afraid of "not being up to par" and follow your instincts.
With this approach, and with a minimum of in-depth analysis, everything else will come by itself! And it will be very satisfying.