A sommelier is just not a wine enthusiast but a devotee of wine. All my “whines” find an answer in the wines I taste, and all the wines I taste make me a sommelier.
Every time I lay my hands on a new bottle of wine, I feel a sense of eager anticipation. Everything, from aromas to the inscription on the bottle, intrigue my senses and fuel my desire to know more and more about wines.
However, it hasn’t been a bed of roses. There isn’t any work in the world which is easy, but neither do I believe there isn’t any work that is too difficult if you have a passion for it.
It is said that the alcohol industry is a male-dominated industry and has very little space for women. I disagree with this and can boldly say that I never perceived any challenges. My passion clouded my thoughts and my focus enabled me to look at my objectives ahead in the industry.
I had a choice I could have either been submissive to the comments and judgements passed on me for being in the alcohol industry, or take the reign in my hands and take on the world with a bit of tannin. I chose the latter and made my own path.
The secret behind this is to believe in yourself and make your own path. I chose to be completely positive and to have belief in myself, especially as there were times when I was looked down as too immature. On many occasions I was not looked at with very respectable eyes for being a woman in this industry.
However, I never lost hope and faith in myself. I walked straight with pride and did my work – again with pride. Having said that, I did get a lot of support from a few seniors and this gave me strength and helped me to not lose hope.
Looking at the silver lining now – the industry has progressed a lot in the last 5 years and gender bias is hardly perceptible now.
On the impact of the women’s presence in the high echelons of the liquor industry, I strongly believe that this makes the environment more supportive and conducive for the accomplishment of goals. Women leaders in this industry can help increase women among their drinkers.
My message to all my girls aspiring to be a sommelier or join this industry is to just believe in yourself and be confident in your work. Focus on your strength and the subject only.
I still get the occasional people who arch their brows in surprise when I explain about wines or alcohol to them. I look forward to being a part of the growth, harvest, maturing of this industry and want to age gracefully with it.