‘The harder you work, the luckier you become’ – Sommelier Julie Dupoy on How She Got Her Job
18th Jun 2018
Women are making their mark in the world of business like never before. In every industry and at every level, we look to women who’ve made it their own as an example for us to do the same. For our latest series, entitled ‘How She Got Her Job‘, we ask women who have achieved stunning success in their field to tell us how they got there, and their advice on how we can join them.
Love wine? Who doesn’t, I hear you say. Ever wondered what it would be like to study, taste and educate others on wine for a living? One of Ireland’s top sommeliers, Julie Dupoy, does exactly that. Living in Ireland since 2004, Julie has worked in some of Dublin’s top restaurants, including Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, The Greenhouse and has recently joined the team at Chapter One Restaurant as a consultant-sommelier. In 2016, Julie finished 3rd at the ASI World Sommelier Championship representing Ireland and the Irish Guild of Sommeliers. She has also recently been announced as the 2018 winner of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers Best Sommelier of Ireland Competition. Julie’s summer plans are set to kick off with the Veuve Clicquot Sparkling Conversations Salon at Body&Soul, where she’ll be discussing how to pair fine wine and champagne with fine food. This is how she got her job.
What was your favourite subject in school?
Well, before I started studying wine, my favourite subject was art, especially painting, music and singing. Then I discovered wine and it became a real passion.
What was your first job, and what other jobs have you had since?
My first job was commis sommelier in a 2-Michelin-star restaurant in France called “Le Centennaire”. Since then, I have worked as a sommelier in different restaurants in Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Scotland. In Ireland, my last full-time role was head sommelier in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. I also joined the Greenhouse on a part-time basis for 3 years and more recently, I started as sommelier consultant for Chapter One. As well as being a sommelier, I have been the wine buyer for some retail outlets; I have worked for a wine company as a sales representative and since 2014, I have been also running my own consultancy company called “down2wine”.
What does your daily routine look like?
What I love about my job is that I don’t really have any routine. Each day is different. I generally start my day early, at around 6 am, as I am more productive in the morning and I like studying then, or tasting. Depending on the day, I can be teaching; giving a talk or a masterclass; working with the team in Chapter One; giving a staff training; being at a wine tasting in Dublin, London or somewhere else in Europe. Every day of every week is totally different.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others, whether it be customers or young professionals. Interacting with people, tasting wines and working on food and wine pairings is definitely my favourite part of the job.
What’s your least favourite part?
When I was working full time in the restaurant industry, late nights were my least favourite part. I can get up very early without any difficulty but keeping the energy up at night is a challenge for me!
What are the key skills you need to make it in your industry?
First of all, you need to be passionate. Working as a sommelier is not a 9 to 5 type of job. It is generally associated with long hours and if you want to progress, you also need to spend some time studying, reading about wine and tasting on your days off and holidays. I think you also need to love interacting with people and be a good judge of character. Listening to people and understanding are both also very important skills that you need to learn, especially when it comes to recommending wines in a restaurant. Of course, you need a good nose and palate but this can be trained and be refined with time.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned for success in your career?
I have this sentence at home above my desk: “The harder you work, the luckier you become”. That is one important thing to remember for success. However, I truly believe that to be successful, you do also need to fail. When you fail, you learn; the hardest part is to stand up and try again but eventually, it will lead you to success.
I don’t have any regrets. There are certain things I wished I had done differently at certain points in my career but I take those decisions as learning experiences. I think regrets are negative energy that you carry with you all life long. I do think that things happen for a reason, so I take those negative experiences and look for the positive in them to make them an experience, not a regret. Any regrets I may have would be things that I didn’t do rather things than I did. For example, I would love to have traveled more when I was younger.
What do you wish you knew when you were starting your career?
It is not that I wish that there was any particular information that I knew but that I wish I had a little more self-confidence and belief in myself when I was younger.
What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to young people starting out who want to follow in your footsteps?
Be really open-minded and actively seek new experiences. Don’t be fooled by prestigious labels, vintages and prices. Find joy in all styles of wine.
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