Above: Silvia Angelozzi, winner of the “best wine shop professional” for the category “wine shop with restaurant service.”
On Monday night, the winners of the “best wine shop professional” competition were announced at a reception and dinner held at the beautiful Borgo Pallavicino Mori estate just north of Rome.
Now in its second year, the event was organized by the Associazione Enotecari Professionisti Italiani (Association of Italian Wine Shop Professionals). It’s the first competition for Italian wine retail workers to be officially recognized by the country’s agriculture ministry. Sponsors of the gathering included the Chianti Classico, Collio, and Trentino grower and winemaker consortia, among others.
The three winners were Silvia Angelozzi (above, far left, for “wine shop with restaurant service”), Loredana Santagati (center, for “bottle shop”), and Matteo Bertelà (right, for “best wine shop professional under 30”).
Daniele Leopardi, who resides in Paris and was not in attendance, took home the prize for “best Italian wine shop professional in a foreign country,” a title he won last year as well.
Ever since the first screening of the 2012 movie “Somm” and even beyond, the role of the “sommelier” has been a source of fascination and admiration in the eye of the American wine loving public. But we rarely take time out to recognize the wine professionals who work in retail. There are countless “best somm” and “iron somm” competitions held across the country these days. But we too seldom make the effort to honor the folks that fill those shelves with the wines we love.
Isn’t it time that we mirror our Italian counterparts as they celebrate the “essential workers” of the wine retail trade? I can think of more than one wine shop worker who has sourced a coveted bottle or turned us on to something new and exciting. I’m sure you can, too.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a guest of the competition. Everyone at the party had a great time tasting through the stellar wines that had been used earlier in the day as part of the testing process (Istine, I’m looking at you!).
Congratulations to the winners and to my good friend Francesco Bonfio, the president of the Associazione Enotecari Professionisti Italiani, and his team for a job well done!