September 27, 2018

10 Questions: Kirsi Seppänen

Kirsi Seppänen is a Finnish sommelier who won the Nordic Ruinart Challenge 2018.

  1. How did you become interested in wine?

After junior high school, I applied to a restaurant school, where I first got the spark. I graduated in 2010, worked for a few years and ended up in a restaurant called Vinoteca del Piemonte in Tampere, Finland. It is a wine bar/bistro that is focused on Piemontese wines. There were some right people to teach me and the “right” wines, which made me want to dig deeper.

  1. You are the Finnish representative and competitor at the upcoming 2018 International Final of the Jeunes Sommeliers Competition, held in Mexico City. What are you expectations for this competition?

It’s truly an honour to get to compete in a competition like this. I am looking forward to meeting new people, see the culture of Mexico and of course get new experiences. I will do my best in the competition, but at the same time one has to be humble and ready to learn, since there are great and well-educated competitors participating.

  1. As you have previously won the Finnish Sommelier Championship and the Young Sommelier of the Year titles, what traits or skills have made you such a successful sommelier?

I think that my style of tasting and analysing wine is one of my strengths. Maybe also me being a very social person has helped me perform on stage in practical tasks; although it’s a totally different situation in competition than in work, because you get super nervous.

  1. As a manager, what is your style of management like?

I try to be well-organised and informative.

  1. What is the best part of your job?

Customers, definitely. When you get in the same level with your guests and make their visit unforgettable, it’s the best. And when you see the same faces coming over and over again, just because they love the place and the people, you have done something right.

  1. Has the development of the Finnish wine scene affected sommeliers in Finland?

I would say that it’s more fun that customers are readier to try something new. They are exploring the wine world and we are there to help them!

  1. How do you develop yourself professionally?

I try to keep up with new information: I read books and of course taste wines!

  1. What is your favourite food and wine combination and why?

Because Piemontese wines are close to my heart, I have to say risotto and Barolo (or any other Nebbiolo). That will never let you down!

  1. How do you relax?

By going into the forest with my dear dog.

  1. Being so successful at such a young age, what are your goals in your career as a sommelier?

Now I’m starting a new job (after the competitions in Mexico) as a sommelier in Ravinteli Bertha, so there are going to be challenges for few years. Then we will see what life puts in front of me.

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