Julie has been in the wine business since 2003. She started working in France and shortly after moved to Ireland with a short stop in Belgium, Luxembourg and Scotland too.
Her education started with languages and French literature studies, but she decided to go to catering as she wanted to become a sommelier. Julie passed her “mention complementaire sommellerie” in 2003. Since then she has studied with the WSET and achieved Diploma in 2015 as well as WSET Level in Sake in 2017.
She has held the title of best sommelier of Ireland since 2009. Before competing in Ireland, she entered the Best Sommelier in France in 2008 and was one of the 12 semi-finalists.
Julie also competed at the World Championship in Tokyo and Mendoza and the European championship in San Remo and Vienna.
Her best international performance was at the World Sommelier Contest in Mendoza 2016, where she placed 3rd.
Her dream is to show to the world that a lady can be No1 in the world of sommellerie.
Her qualities as a sommelier are widely recognised and as a judge in some of the most prestigious wine events in the world, the Decanter Awards in London among others.
Today she is working as a sommelier in a Michelin-star restaurant called Chapter One in Dublin 1.
As Best Sommelier of Ireland in 2018, we asked her few questions, and here is her response:
Q1: You won the sommelier contest in Ireland in 2018. Did you expect it and how do you feel about it?
Julie: I am delighted to have won the title of Best Sommelier of Ireland again. You can’t ever expect to win a competition. You can be confident that you have done the work and that you have the potential to earn it, but you still need to be able to deliver your best on the day. Things went very well this time, and I am delighted with the result.
Q2: How do you think the title of Best Sommelier of Ireland will change your life?
Julie: I am incredibly proud to have won Best Sommelier, and hopefully this will give me the opportunity to work towards my ultimate goal and dream which would be the first woman to win the World title. This title would then allow me the platform to inspire other sommeliers, particularly women.
Q3: What is the status of sommeliers in Ireland? What can be improved?
Julie: Despite the fact that we do see a considerable amount of improvement regarding the wine culture in Ireland, there are not many sommeliers in the country. First of all, there is no official qualification delivered in the country to become a sommelier. I think it would be fantastic if we could see a sommelier certificate offered by the catering schools in Ireland. The WSET is very present, but the focus is on knowledge and not the service aspect of the job. A few people in the country now travel around Europe to attend the Court of Master Sommelier classes which shows that there is a growing interest and that people are willing to invest in their wine qualification, often taking time off on their holidays, but I believe that it should be available in the country.
Q4: You have a great knowledge about food and wine. What do you think you can do to promote your national beverages and gastronomy?
I absolutely love the food offering in Ireland lately. The standards of quality, especially when it comes to meat, dairy products, locally grown vegetables and sea food is outstanding and I do my best to spread the good word as much as I can on social media. I also have been invited to talk at “Food on the Edge” this coming October which is a great honour as ethical eating and food education is a topic which is very dear to me. Regarding beverages the offering of craft beers, gin and whisky has boomed in the last few years and I am always proud to bring some examples with me to different countries I go to introduce them to my colleagues and peers. In Chapter One Restaurant we also have by the glass the only Irish wine produced by Lusca and a strawberry wine produced by the Wicklow Way Wines, it gives an opportunity to the tourists visiting the restaurant to sample some local beverages and to the locals to discover some products they might not be familiar with.