Here in Gibbston, a wine industry leader is first and foremost defined by their skill in the field and that Midas touch to finesse good into great. We are surrounded by men and women who craft each vintage with precision and flair, and within our own Kinross world view the movers and shakers are most definitely equally represented by gender in terms of success, talent and passion. Yet there is still much to do to ensure national and international behaviours towards women are constantly challenged and/or affirmed. To celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we’ve taken some time to introduce to you a few of the talented individuals who are crucial to our business’ success and have fascinating and inspiring stories of their own to tell.
Luli Bonifetto, Sommelier, Kinross
On your visit to our cellar door you may have met me - I am a sommelier and the Cellar Door Manager. For me, I came across the concept of being a sommelier whilst training to become a chef. The two skills complemented each other so well, so I made the leap into enrolling in the Wine School of Argentina the following semester. After more than a decade in the wine industry, there are many key mentors that who supported me through study and on throughout my career, such as Jorge Bourdieu, a teacher at the Wine School, and Valeria Gamper, Argentina’s Best Sommelier.
As a member of the NZ Winegrower’s Women in Wine network and mentoring programme, I am an active participant in helping support women in our industry, taking action for equality and celebrating women’s successes. Myself and many of our friends in Central Otago have benefited from the mentorship and opportunities that have arisen from this fantastic initiative. I totally encourage any women in NZ wine to get involved.
Career highlights so far?
-Working as a brand ambassador for Aqua Panna & San Pellegrino in Argentina
-Being the second hydro-sommelier in Argentina (sommelier for water)
-Working and representing the following amazing wineries at Kinross, Coal Pit, Hawkshead, Valli and Wild Irishman
What aspects of being a sommelier have positive impacts on other parts of your life?
Since I become a sommelier I given up a few things… coffee, tobacco and spicy food - all to improve my palate. The most amazing part of being a sommelier is the amount of interesting people I get to know, such as international chefs, wine makers delete comma etc. It also has given me the opportunity to eat in the best restaurants in Buenos Aires and have a bigger appreciation of all the good stuff… chocolate, spirits, and wine of course. Being a sommelier is not just about wine.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Doing the wine pairings is one of the things I most enjoy. I get to try the all the new food and the wines at Kinross. I especially enjoy the moment when I close my eyes and I can focus on what is happening in my palate. The combination of the flavors coming from the food and the wine, that when combined become a new flavour in your mouth is just amazing and I love it. I also enjoy being able to share this passion with other people. Particularly when participants of the wine tasting leave the Kinross cellar with a little bit more knowledge about wine and you can tell they enjoyed the tasting, that makes my day.