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Interview with Fabrice Sommier
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Interview with Fabrice Sommier

Elected President of the Union de la Sommellerie Française last April, Fabrice Sommier plans to inject a new dynamic into the association by supporting a young generation of talented sommeliers, a mission that involves a key partnership with the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. An initial masterclass is planned during the tasting of the UGCB members’ wines at the Vinexpo trade fair on Monday 12 February!

Hello Fabrice. As the newly elected President of the UDSF, what kind of dynamic do you want to inject into the association?

I have several key missions. The first consists of reaching out to young talents and supporting them. The next generation is made up of highly skilled young sommeliers. They include a growing number of women, which is excellent news. We need to fully integrate young people into the UDSF because they are the future of our profession, especially since they have a different way of doing things. We need to embrace modernity. The second consists of promoting our profession even further. This involves harnessing our expertise and improving our communication. Sommeliers are sometimes a bit removed from the general public. We need to understand expectations and desires and share our love of wine with this key clientele.

"Bordeaux forms an essential part of the wine industry and represents a major education centre for sommeliers from France and abroad."

Can you tell us about the partnership that the UDSF has established with the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux? What does this alliance mean to you?

First of all, Bordeaux forms an essential part of the wine industry and represents a major education centre for sommeliers from France and abroad. In other words, Bordeaux is fundamental for sommeliers. The UDSF and the UGCB share the same values, and both help end clients discover fine wines in all their diversity. For this reason, it was only natural that our two associations forged this partnership which, in my view, should have been established much sooner. After partnering up for the Best Sommelier of the World Competition, we understood that we had similar desires and interests and, most importantly, we decided to build on this legacy.

How will this partnership play out?

The UGCB and UDSF will mutually support each other during many key occasions. We will begin by leading a masterclass during the tasting of the UGCB members’ wines at Vinexpo (Monday 12 February, Hall 7.1). We have planned several events in the Bordeaux region, in particular, the semi-final of the 2024 Best Sommelier of France competition. We also intend to be highly involved during the Weekend des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (7-9 June 2024) and help inject a new dynamic into this edition. More generally, we are committed to taking an active role in a wonderful partnership! Expectations are mutual. It is true that “Bordeaux bashing” is a reality even if the trend is declining. I am convinced that in the long term, the work we will carry out together will help the Bordeaux wine industry reassert its rightful central position.

Do you have any fond memories or emotions linked to Bordeaux Great Growths?

Absolutely. I have a lot, in fact. I grew up with Bordeaux and its wines taught me everything as a young sommelier. The first order I took was a 1970 Château Beychevelle! I recently tasted some fabulous wines at Branaire-Ducru. I love the diversity of Bordeaux Great Growths. Pomerol is also home to extraordinary wines with aromatic qualities, that differ greatly from Saint-Julien. And I am particularly fond of sweet white wines. Sauternes is a treasure trove of wonders! We have forgotten the potential of these fabulous wines, which are too often relegated to desserts. This will also be our role. Our aim is to change this by showcasing bolder pairings!

Arthur Jeanne

Take part in the tasting of the UGCB members’ wines at Vinexpo (12-13 February 2024, Hall 7.1), reserved for wine professionals (registration required)
follow this link

Buy your tickets for the largest Grands Crus tasting during the Weekend des Grands Crus de Bordeaux at https://www.ugcb.net/en/tasting-2024 follow this link

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