Nadia Periasammy is a sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Here she tells us what drew her to working as a sommelier, and how women are finding more opportunities in this traditonally male role.
1. What made you decide to become a sommelier, and how has your career developed?
I have never been so proud of my job since I met wine. I first discovered wine when I was in South Africa for a wine package trip. I met Mr Razvan Macici, the cellar master, who takes care of his winery to improve the quality.
He made us visit and taste many different varieties of wine. I was very impressed by the diversity and fascinating job behind all this, and I decided then to develop my career in this role.
2. What does your job involve?
I’d say, good knowledge in general about wine, making our guests feel comfortable, giving advice so guests can choose the right wine, and knowing which food pairs well with which wine.
3. What qualities do you need to be a good sommelier?
- Good palate.
- An ability to relate to people about wine.
- A good follow up about the service.
- Skill of understanding the customer.
4. In your experience, does a woman bring different qualities to the role?
Women are stepping up and creating a new breed of sommelier with a feminine touch.
Of course, there are still some people who are reluctant to accept the advice of a female sommelier but others find the presence of a female sommelier refreshing, less forceful and more accommodating. Women truly want to delight their guest.
5. Are there more opportunities for female sommeliers these days – how are things changing?
Yes there are definitely more opportunities for female sommeliers these days. Barriers seem to be coming down as women step up into a more prominent position in the wine world. Nowadays, female sommeliers are involved in choosing a fun and creative wine list to suit the restaurant.
Things are changing, and most men are accepting of this - encouraging women to learn more about wine. Women are now becoming certified as master sommeliers, bringing something new and much appreciated.
6. What do you most love about your job?
What I love most about my job is the good atmosphere and team spirit at Le Prince Maurice – people are always there to help and advise when I need it. We have a very interesting wine list.
As we are on a small tropical island, Mauritius, we get the chance to travel all around the world through our wine list. At Constance, we have a diverse choice of wines from different countries.
7. Can you give us your top tip for a great wine to try in 2012?
- Cru – Beaucaillou 2nd Classified
- Growth in 1855
- Owner – Borie Family
- Vintage – 2001
This wine embodies the elegant, subtle mineral aromas of raspberry.