Leadership in Wine #13 - Paolo Basso

  • Alexis Robin

Swiss-Italian Paolo was named Best Sommelier of the World in 2013. He started his wine career as a sommelier in Switzerland and gained experience with a leading Swiss-based fine and rare wines trader, where he focused on the wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux. Paolo is now a wine trader and consultant through his own company Paolo Basso Wine, based in Lugano, Switzerland, as well as a wine producer – his first own-label red was dedicated to his daughter: Il Rosso di Chiara.

Since 2014, Paolo has been in charge of the wine selection for Air France and he is a member of the technical committee of the International Sommelier Association. He has won many awards – including Best Sommelier of Switzerland 1997 and Best Sommelier of Europe 2010 – and is one of just six sommeliers to hold both the European and World titles.

In 2018, Glion Institute of Higher Education, a world-leading hospitality management institution, granted Paolo an honorary degree, in recognition of his achievements in oenology and the wider field of hospitality. Also Paolo is Regional Chair for Switzerland at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2019.


How do you define leadership?

Work more than others and do something that others have not yet done.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

We live in an era of massive media coverage and to be leaders we need to be able to communicate about wine in an essential way, being simple for public to make wine more approachable, but without trivializing it.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Hard work and so much curiosity that led me to explore the world of wine in the widest way.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, which advice will you give to yourself to become successful and content?

As well as learning about the product in detail, you should also learn how to communicate, to let the public understands that behind wine there is nature, culture, traditions, history and the art of living.

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