A Russian sommelier in the making - How Ways of Wine Argentin was founded

Originally published in Buenos Aires Herald

A Russian sommelier in the making / By Sorrel Moseley-Williams


Initially in BA for two months to improve her tango footwork, Russian journalist Katerina Medvedeva met her husband when she switched the melancholic genre for more upbeat salsa classes. Three years on, her passion for the sacred grape has developed by leaps and bounds: she has set up a tourism and Argentine wine resource company, and is studying to be a sommelier.



Although she is studying and runs her own business, Katerina still finds time to work in PR.

“Moving to another country has helped me to understand a lot of things about myself. I think a lot of people come here from the east or the north, thinking ‘I’m so cool, I’ve got such great experience and I’ll be really successful.’ My main problem then was that I didn’t speak any Spanish. I sent my CV everywhere but I never received any positive answers. Then a friend from university contacted me to ask if I wanted to be involved with a project called “Russia beyond the headlines” — here, it’s called Rusia hoy. I’m really lucky as it helps me to maintain contact with Russia while I’ve made a lot of contacts in the local community.”

However, it is an increased involvement of the sacred grape at all levels that led Katerina to set up her own business. She says: “Wine always existed in my life but not in such a colourful way. Vodka isn’t my drink so I did drink wine in Russia but on the basis that I liked it or I didn’t like it — without any real understanding. I always wanted to learn more but never had time, and I think destiny was also involved with this. From the beginning, I started to meet people connected to the wine world and by chance I was invited to take part in the movie El camino del vino about (Uruguayan wine educator) Charlie Arturaola. It was filmed in Tempus Alba bodega in Mendoza, which belongs to a friend of mine, and at the shoot I met a fantastic group of people. Afterwards, Charlie invited me to have dinner and try some wine, and it was such a privilege to dine with someone who is so knowledgeable.

“I started to meet more people in the industry and receive consultations from Russia, so I realized I needed to do something with it. I came up with the idea of setting up a website about Argentine wine, then I met someone who works in wine travel so another part of the business — tours to wineries — was formed — and my company is called Ways of Wine, in honour of Charlie’s movie. As far as I understand, it is the only resource in Russian about Argentine wines.”

In order to up her game professionally and branch out into tastings, she is now studying to be a sommelier at CAVE centre of wine and spirits.

“I decided I can’t move this business up a gear without education, which is why I’m now studying at CAVE thanks to a recommendation from (sommelier) Aldo Graziani. And I’m in love, even though my last exam was in 2003!”

Thanks to her work, travel within Argentina is often on the agenda. Katerina adds: “I love Mendoza, its people, and I’d love to work in a winery there. Winemakers are very natural and pure, and so interested in what they are doing and I’m quite envious as they truly produce something. And I now understand how much work, time and knowledge you need to produce that bottle. We receive winemakers at CAVE, and they are stars but they remain open and friendly and ready to share their information with you. It’s a fantastic atmosphere that comes out of work, the result of your work and nature.”




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