“The French sommelier profession must continue to attract newcomers”

Friday June 21 2019 by Vitisphere

“I don't manage the present, I rely on the past to prepare the future of the sommelier profession”, said Philippe Faure-Brac.“I don't manage the present, I rely on the past to prepare the future of the sommelier profession”, said Philippe Faure-Brac. - Photo credit : UDSF

Our job is not to drink wine or make people drink it. Our job is to offer advice, to moderate and be fair”, said sommelier Philippe Faure-Brac, who was re-elected as chair of the French sommelier organisation (UDSF) at its last AGM when the association celebrated its 50th anniversary (on June 3 in Lyon). Through this vision of the job of sommelier, the UDSF wants to encourage young students, still at secondary school and in the process of choosing a career or just starting their vocational baccalauréat, to become sommeliers.

Educational film

The French sommelier profession must continue to attract newcomers. Even if everything is going well, the profession must ask itself questions”, claimed Faure-Brac, who acknowledged the challenge of avoiding broaching drinking alcohol among minors. “We talk to them about the skills used by sommeliers, an introduction to wine regions and meeting winegrowers, for instance...” summed up the 1992 World’s Best Sommelier. This educational approach will be at the core of the 26-minute film produced by the UDSF for its younger candidates. The film will be unveiled at the 50th anniversary of the International Sommelier Association (from 6 to 8 October in Champagne), before being distributed to young students (from the start of the school year).

A more feminine side to the profession

Taking stock of his first term, Faure-Brac said he believed that he had “done his bit with the Department for Education to promote the quality of specific training courses, such as the sommelier vocational diploma, and to introduce lessons to generate awareness of the profession as part of generalist training courses, such as the vocational baccalauréat for the hospitality industry”. He continues to strive towards an increase in the number of female French sommeliers. “Women must feel even more welcome in the profession than they already are”, is Faure-Brac’s avowed aim. While currently 25% of the 1,000 UDSF members are women, the proportion of girls is higher at training level, at 55%. “That's not to say that all of them will remain in the profession, but we must make sure that we support them throughout their professional lives”, concluded Faure-Brac.




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