Interview With A Sommelier – Natalia Coto
25th October 2023
The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.
In this feature, I speak with a woman who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, her name is Natalia Coto, and let’s find out a bit about her life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I’ve been a sommelier for 12 years and it’s an industry I truly love. I’ve had the opportunity to work in wineries in Argentina, Spain and Portugal and learn from great professionals in France, Portugal and Spain as well. I love sharing what I know about wine with people, making wine more approachable and easy to understand.”
What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?
“I was working in the F&B department of a luxury hotel in my home country Costa Rica back in 2004, when I had my first experiences with wine. Being surrounded by fine dining restaurants where wine was a key component made me curious about it and little by little I felt amazed. Unfortunately, back then there was no education in the field, so I had to start studying on my own, until 2010 when I joined the first Sommelier program in the country and became part of the second generation of Costa Rican sommeliers. I believe what inspired me was how diverse wine can be, its history, all the winemaking process and the result of that amazing beverage that indulges the senses especially when paired with food.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I think the most surprising thing would be the power wine has to connect people and create relationships around it, regardless of origin, language or genre. It not only happens in the professional wine environment but also for wine lovers and inexperienced wine consumers. When you’re passionate about wine you can develop great connections while you learn and enjoy.”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?
“When it comes to recommendations, I like to adapt them to the necessity of the person I’m recommending to. It’s great that nowadays people are finding more occasions to drink sparkling wine and certainly English sparkling is earning a spot in its category in terms of consumption. It’s an opportunity for classic consumers to try a different concept of sparking, so yes, I like to recommend English sparkling as a way to discover new and great wines.”
In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?
“I’d go for Champagne, there is such a great variety and so versatile samples of it that you can play when pairing a meal. Champagne will never disappoint.”
What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?
“My advice would be to go for it if there’s really passion about it. Wine is a never ending and amazing path, and within the industry, there are plenty of options to choose from if you decide to work in it. Once you enter this world, you’ll always be part of it. The best thing? is that there are so many regions and wines to discover, the possibilities are endless.”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“I’d go for something light and simple but definitely an amazing pairing. Iberic ham with Gran Reserva Cava, some figs, dried nuts and the typical side of bread and tomato which is very traditional to Catalonia.”
Thank you, Natalia, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Natalia Coto. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.