Paz Levinson Best Sommelier of Americas

Paz Levinson was awarded Best Sommelier of Americas in spring 2015 and received her award by Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo. We asked her how she felt about this recognition… 


I feel really happy, honoured and humbled (the three H’s) for winning the Best Sommelier of Americas 2015. It’s a contest that I liked since I heard about it in 2009, I participated in 2012 and then prepared for 2015.  I think AS&APAS are making a wonderful contribution to the sommeliers of Americas , and that’s why I always looked forward to being in this contest. I prepared for it with enthousiasm and love. It wasn’t easy at all, and it was a lot of hard work. I was starting a new job and learning French at the same time. I was lucky to be working with Marco Pelletier from whom I learned a lot. I also trained with Jonathan Bauer-Monneret at Spring. Sharing and working with people is totally necessary. The fact that I’m sharing the reward with ladies like Veronique Rivest and Elyse Lambert makes me thrilled. It was also very important to put Argentina in the title.


What have been your biggest challenges in arriving at this achievement? 

The biggest challenge was trying to be myself. I think many of our weaknesses are made up by ourselves and the best way to grow is to know them and work on them. The challenge was to prepare the contest in English after preparing the contest of Argentina in Spanish and meanwhile I was learning French…. so many things to adapt and explore, coming back to the language. There is a language for the contest, there is a mother language for my thoughts  and there is a language of the wine and work I’m learning.


Do you have a favourite wine or region? 

I don’t have a favourite wine, region or grape variety; it’s a very hard question for me. I like so many wines, regions, styles and grapes. I love this diversity. I love not having ONE wine in the world. I am from Argentina and I have a special affection for Malbec. I love the floral side of this grape, the texture when it is well balanced with ageing, and the charming character that it can gain. Apart from that it always depends on the moment of drinking, the situation, when preferring a wine. Ultimately since I started living in France, I have been trapped in the world of Chenin Blanc. I think it is a grape that can give a lot of pleasure, can suit many styles, that is transparent to terroir and has lovely acidity and texture. I alos like the austerity of Cabernet Sauvignon of the Loire Valley and how it ages.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

The favourite part of my work is that I’m always learning. I’m always absorbing knowledge. It is an endless world for those who like research and move to a next level. I love to learn and teach. I love to communicate what I ahve learned. That’s why I loave the contact with the client in the restaurant so much: we never know what questions the customer will ask. It is a little bit of improvising a class each time knowing exactly the level of depth that our answer must have. I love viticulture and studying it. I love to  travel to the wine regions and meet the people behind each interesting project.