Claudia Piras: AIS professional sommelier since 2015, has selected some truly special wineries from Sardinia, Lazio and Campania for Sommelier Wine Box. We at Sommelier Wine Box had the pleasure of interviewing her, and discovered how an overwhelming passion for wine is born.
How the passion for wine breaks out: 9 questions to sommelier Claudia Piras.
1. Tell us how your passion for wine was born… when did you decide to be a sommelier?
I come from a course of study in Engineering and I started doing the summer season for economic reasons at a wine shop in Villasimius, at the time very small and with few seats, but always full of people. A little gem that I have seen grow over the years.
I started by drying glasses and listening to the stories of my owner who in the first days of work told me: "Look at the wines that are here: by the end of the season you will have tasted them all".
It was there that I met wine and it was there that I fell in love with it.
I was fascinated and curious, to the point of showering my colleagues with questions about wines, winemaking techniques, grape varieties, territories... And when those answers weren't enough for me anymore, I started studying.
2. How was your training as a sommelier?
I studied the AIS sommelier course for three years: at the time there weren't enough students in Sardinia, and I remember waiting a long time for the third level. But it was good because between one course and another I had the opportunity to taste, get to know and travel a lot, going directly to the producers, fueling my passion for wine even more.
But it was after becoming a sommelier that I realized I was even more thirsty : to appease this desire for knowledge, I attended two courses that proved to be a new inspiration: the one with Sandro Sangiorgi of Porthos on natural wine , and the one with Nicolas Joly and Stefano Bellotti on biodynamics . There another world opened up to me, I put aside the more technical and rigid method of the AIS school on which I had concentrated before to dedicate myself to the discovery of a new, completely emotional key to wine.
3. How has your career developed after your training?
I continued working as a sommelier for a few years in wine bars and restaurants, until I decided to devote myself to direct sales. Today I'm a sales agent for small wineries.
I work with my clients in building their wine list and in staff training , as well as always cultivating the playful part with tasting evenings and study groups .
4. The best thing about your job?
Among the greatest joys there are certainly the happy faces of people when you can fully satisfy their tastes and needs with a glass of wine.
5. The hardest thing about your job?
Being a woman in a man's world is complicated. Often a woman who talks about wine is not taken seriously and you have to prove even more what you're worth.
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6. You say you are attracted to "true and ethical" wines: what are they for you?
For me, true and ethical wines are those made by farmers : wines that tell a territory, a story, an emotion. One of the most incredible aspects of this job is the direct relationship with whoever produces the wine. Good wines are made by beautiful people , that's why I don't sell wine but who does.
7. So the real wines for you go beyond the so-called natural wines?
Of course: I am convinced that we need to go beyond the division between natural wines and conventional wines.
I clearly have a personal and subjective taste in drinking, but I feel there is no need to keep fueling this gap. We should overcome this particular thought and go to the heart of the wine, promoting its most authentic quality, without flags .
8. Your favorite wine?
I have many, every wine of my heart has framed a period, a feeling, an emotion but if I have to take sides I do so with a winery that I have seen born and grow: the Quattro Elementi winery , with which I have been collaborating for some time now.
I helped them stone the vineyard when it was still in its infancy, I harvest with them every year, and today I'm in charge of the sales side.
They produce very few labels, especially from Cannonau and Vermentino, which are also our best known regional grapes.
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9. For us at Sommelier Wine Box that we address to experts but also to enthusiasts: do you have any advice for those approaching wine?
Wine has the ability to give emotions: my first advice is "let yourself be carried away".
Here I steal a phrase from Tatiana Holler, who with her husband Carlo Deperu founded the Deperu Holler winery, which in Northern Sardinia makes wines that are truly super charged with feeling. Here, Tatiana says: “ Drink and love each other ”. And I subscribe.