A new generation of sommeliers are reminding the public of the importance of trusting someone to help you navigate a restaurant’s wine list, and we want to celebrate this exciting evolution in the wine industry.

FOOD&WINE’s 2018 Sommelier of the Year Julie Dupouy is a perfect example of a first-rate sommelier.

Julie holds the title of Best Sommelier in Ireland 2018 (Irish Guild of Sommeliers) and currently works as a Sommelier – Consultant with the 1* Michelin Chapter One Restaurant and as Brand Ambassador with Edward Dillon’s Champagne portfolio, which includes Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Krug.

On top of all that, Julie also runs her own sommelier consulting business, Down2Wine, offering private wine tastings and training.

Commenting on her win of Best Sommelier at the recent FOOD&WINE Awards in association with Nespresso Professional, Julie says that:

“It is a great privilege to win this award. The sommelier profession in Ireland is in great shape at the moment with many talented sommeliers. The Irish wine industry has had some very tough years not so long ago and I am excited to say that the energy at the moment within the industry is as positive as it has ever been.

The choice of wine that is being imported, the knowledge selling it and the open-mindedness of the customers in Ireland is incredibly encouraging for a sommelier at any stage of their career”.

So, where did her passion for the grape come from?

Born in the South West of France, in the city of Agen, Julie tells F&W that her passion for good food “comes from my grandmother, on my father’s side. She cooked instinctively, using her senses and experience.”

Julie decided at an early age that she wanted to become a sommelier – telling her parents her career plans at just 16th birthday, after her Granddad had opened a special bottle of wine from the year of my birth.

“I remember being very excited by the idea of it and I decided to start reading about wine to try to understand it better.”

Julie passed her Mention Complémentaire Sommellerie (formal study of sommellerie) in 2003, and hasn’t look back since.

Upon moving to Ireland  in 2004, Julie has worked for some of the greatest spots for wine lovers, including Residence Members Club, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Fallon & Byrne and The Greenhouse on Dawson Street.

In 2016, she finished 3rd at the ASI World Sommelier Championship representing Ireland and the Irish Guild of Sommeliers.

Her plans for the future? Julie’s hope is “to inspire others and to give them a little of the inspiration I was fortunate to have in my early life with a view to opening the window for people into the beautiful world of wine and sensory pleasure.”

The words of a truly excellent sommelier, indeed.