Copyright (c) 1999 Pension Harvest
Last update: December 2 ,1999
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Aya, our senior sommelier

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Just an ordinary old lady ? a senior sommelier?

How I got started in wine

It was December 1988 when I first realized the wonderful taste that wine brings into our lives. Some friends invited me to take part in a wine seminar for women that was being held by Yutaka Takano, director of the Japan Sommelier Association. I was very impressed by the taste of the Maitre dfEstournel that we drank during the event. Of course, I had occasionally enjoyed wine up until then, but I knew nothing about it, and I couldnft even have told you what Beaujolais Nouveau is.
After that event, I got very engrossed in wine, taking part in wine tasting events whenever I got a chance. Master Sommelier Yutaka Takano also encouraged my interest, and ultimately, I ended up taking on the challenge of the sommelier licensing examination.

Taking on the challenge of the sommelier licensing exam

@I tried the exam for the first time in 1990, and totally failed the first part, which is a written exam.
@In 1991, I passed the written exam and advanced to the second part, which was conducted by the renowned sommelier, Shinya Tazaki. Total failure.
@In 1992, I was exempted from taking the written test again, since a successful result is valid for two years. I was ready to give up if I didnft make it through this time, but I successfully passed (or more accurately, scraped through) the second part of the exam.

Passing the senior sommelier exam

@Three years after getting my sommelier license, I was eligible to take the senior sommelier exam. The senior sommelier exam is only offered once every other year. The first chance I had to take it was in 1995, and although it was tempting to try, I thought that the rank of senior sommelier was something that was far beyond my reach, so I let the opportunity go by.
@The next chance was in 1997. I had gotten increasingly interested in wine, so I thought I might test my abilities, and I talked about it with my husband. He gave me the evil eye, but I thought, gWhy not give it a try, even if I donft make it?h and I took the exam. To my gratification, I passed.

Ayafs wine consultation corner

Q & A corner

@If therefs anything youfd like to know about wine, please feel free to ask me. I might not necessarily know the answer despite my senior sommelier rank. But Ifll be happy to find out and learn something new.

Feel free to email me atayako@harvest.to

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