Video: Meet the sommelier, Vinisud 2016

'I’m a wine soldier!' Sharing wines from around the globe

Languages have allowed Arturaola to travel extensively to wine regions, such as The Douro Valley in Portugal. Pic: iStock / PRG-Estudio

Sommelier, blogger, and film and TV personality Charlie Arturaola sees himself as a ‘wine soldier’ - someone who goes back to the wine country and meets the people who make the wine.

Often, this can mean exploring a lesser-known region or grape variety and presenting this to a wider audience.

Arturaola was awarded the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition Communicator of the Year Award. So what does he think makes a good communicator? Watch the video below.

Coffee and cigarettes

“When you are a wine solider, you are able to go to places that nobody else goes.”

Firstly, it’s the experience and knowledge, says Arturaola, but the real string to his bow is his five languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and English – and he’s currently working on adding Chinese to his collection).

“Speaking languages has been the key of everything I do,” he said.

He recounts an experience from some years ago: going for a cigarette (he doesn’t smoke) and an espresso with a wine maker in Tuscany - “and the information I have [from] this wine maker between a coffee and cigarette, I will never see in a book.”

The other important skill is the ability to communicate this information to the average consumer, he added. 

Arturaola was speaking at Vinisud in Montpellier last week.

Arturaola is the president of the Miami based Grappolo Blu Inc, where he lectures, conducts educational tastings, acts as an expert appraiser for insurance companies, consults with foreign importers, and mentors new members of the wine community.

He has also been a featured sommelier and educator at a number of wine festivals, presided at trade events, conducted seminars, and judged competitions.

He is a certified sommelier with an advanced degree from the L’Ecole du Vin a Bordeaux. 

Arturaola also continues to work on film and TV projects. 

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