Andreas is in the wine business for fifteen years although he graduated in other field. He has his Bachelor degree in Investment and Finance at Baruch College in NY. After working for two years in USA on promotion of Greek wines he came back in Cyprus in 2005 and started his own importing company and wine shop Vino Cultura.
In 2011 he transformed the wine shop into the first multi-venue wines destination in Cyprus, with a wine bar, a wine shop and educational center under the same roof. Since than, wine list at VinoCultura has won award for “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and many awards as the “Best Wine List” and “Best Wine Bar” of Cyprus.
He passed Advanced examination at Court of master Sommeliers in 2018 and in the same year he won National Sommelier Competition in Cyprus.
We asked him a few questions about his first Champion title and future ideas, check what he answered to us:
Q1: This is your first title of Best Sommelier of Cyprus. How do you feel?
Of course, I’m very excited for this title but, most of all, I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent my country at the next European Competition in 2020 which as we know will take place in Cyprus.
Q2: How do you think the title of Best Sommelier of Cyprus will change your life?
I think the journey of the next two and a half years – until the next European Competition – will be quite thrilling and full of new acquaintances and experiences. At a local scale, people are offering their help in order to prepare and train like never before. At an international scale, partners from around the globe cooperating with my company Vino Cultura, which is one of the premier wine importers in our market, are also eager to help in any way they can. This title fills me with persistence and more motivation to promote wine culture, to seek for the even better result in whatever I do regarding wine.
Q3: How is the profession of sommeliers in Cyprus? What can be improved?
I believe this is the perfect analogy of the chicken and the egg…there aren’t many sommelier jobs because there aren’t enough sommeliers or is it the other way around? I believe it’s the latter.
Things are progressing very fast since our market has only recently recovered from the financial meltdown of 2013 which was a major setback. Our tourism sector is booming right now and the new wave of tourists making their way to our island are more set in experimenting with the local wines-more than ever before.
We see a new wave of young professionals turning to wine, reaching abroad (the social media and technology has certainly helped) and most importantly educating themselves much more than before. Truth be told, when I started in the hospitality industry, some 20 years ago, it was much more difficult to explore wine. Let alone living in a small and isolated island with high tariffs on wine. The turning point was our inclusion in the European Union in 2004 and as I said the technology.
The next competition for the Best Sommelier of Europe in 2020 is the perfect opportunity for the hospitality and wine industry in Cyprus to evolve and showcase its achievements of the past 20 years.
Q4: You have a great knowledge about food and wine. What do you think you can do to promote your national beverages and gastronomy?
First of all, promoting a whole country, no matter how big or small, it is never a one man’s job. Things change in Cyprus and more and more people appreciate a lot of professions which were kind of unknown in the island. We all must take the common decision to advance, while at the same time we preserve and deepen our relation with tradition. That’s the inner meaning of culture and of all its products, like wine for instance.