SOMMELIER LUIS PAADÍN
Over the last 20 years of professional dedication to wine, Luis Paadín has gained unparalleled notoriety and reputation in the sector.
His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for wine led him to open the first wine bar in Corunna, to create the “Guía de vinos, destilados y bodegas de Galicia” – Guide to Wines, Spirits and Wineries of Galicia (Best book of Spain in the category “Best Wine Tourism Book” and between Top 5 in the world, Gourmand Awards Wine Books 2013 ), and directing the “Salón dos viños e Augardentes de Galicia” -Wines and Spirits Hall of Galicia-.
He is also a founding partner of Gallaecia, AEPEV member (Spanish Journalists and Writers of Wine Association) and member of the FIJEV.
Taster at international competitions as Citadelles du Vin, Concours Mondial Bruxelles, Tastevinage Bourgogne, Top Ten Portugal, CINVE, etc.
Mr. Paadin has a master degree ofViticulture and Enology by the University ofVigo and was also the first National Champion of the European Competition of Ambassadors of Champagne.Staff member of the magazine “Cepas y Vinos” – Vine and Wine-, he is also a weekly contributor on Radio Coruña, Cadena Ser and Radio Voz. Currently he combines teaching in the hospitality sector with the promotion of wineries, wine events and gastronomy. He defines himself as a promoter of wine.
JON ANDONI REMENTERIA
Winner of Best Sommelier of Spain 2018.
His vocation began from a young age. His grandparents gave him some wine in a ceramic jug. “I have always been attracted to this world. The more you learn and the more you read, the more you want to know, because you realize that there is a whole world to discover.” says Jon Andoni. “So, even though I started an engineering career, I abandoned it to pursue my greatest illusion: work in the wine sector” adds Jon Andoni.
He entered the world of wine in 1987, aged 18. He took the title of specialist of Sommelier in the Superior School of Hospitality of Bilbao. From then on, awards have come one after the other continuously:
- Sommelier of Spain 2018 Champion of the Spanish Sommeliers Associations Union, with 4.500 members.
- Champion of Best Sommelier of Euskadi 2017 & 2018 contest.
- Champion of the Wine & Win 2017 contest.
- Champion of Best International Sommelier of Cava Semifinal 2016 contest.
- Sommeliers of Basque Country 2015 champion.
- Winner of the Best Of Tourism in 2010 and 2013.
- Gold Nose finalist year 2011
- National Champion of the Custodio López Zamarra Trophy year 2009.
- Award to the best wine list of Rioja nationwide in 2008
- Two times finalist of the national wine contest Sommelier Rioja Award in 2007 and 2008.
- Sommeliers of Basque Country 2007 champion
- Member of the Professional Sommeliers Association of the Basque Country
- Member of the Association of Sommeliers of Biscay.
- Representative of Spain in the European Championship of Sommeliers
He is Head Sommelier of the Remenetxe restaurant since 1987, awarded family high-end restaurant in Gernika, Biscay, Spain. With a Spanish wine cellar with more than 18.000 bottles and over 1.400 references, some are more than 100 years old. He is also an advisor to Comercial Ulzama, leading wine dealer, and a Sommelier Professor at the School of Hotel Management in Bilbao. “Sommelier is like cycling. If you stop pedaling, you’re simply left behind.” says Jon Andoni.
With a childhood linked to wine world, Alejandro Paadín remembers uncorking bottles of Champagne in his father Luis Paadín’s wine shop at the early age of five.
Ten years from that first memory, he made the decision that he wanted to be sommelier. “My parents didn’t fancy the idea of me being sommelier” says Alejandro, son of the renowned sommelier Luis Paadín. “Surprisingly enough, they believed it was an unusual and challenging profession. Luckily, they changed their mind and have supported me ever since” Father and son now work together and have many common partnerships.
He has a degree in Technical Engineering in Industrial Design and while studying he started his first job as a sommelier. He remembers this period as rewarding.
In 2014 he won the Ambassador of Champagne in Spain prize, and more recently the Gourmand Prize for his book Guía de vinos, destilados y bodegas de Galicia 2018 – Guide to Wines, Spirits and Wineries of Galicia 2018 – as one of the most popular books about drinks in the world. “I’m very thankful to Hugh Johnson for helping me understand the world of wine transversally, to Aldo Sohm for teaching me how to make the perfect wine service, and to Custodio López Zamarra, who helped me understand each wine’s soul” says sommelier Alejandro.
Nowadays, as a professional sommelier he enjoys travelling to a wide variety of tastings as well as teaching all around the globe. “We were on a wine route through Slovakia and we stopped to take pictures of an eye-catching vineyard, and the owner recognized us and invited us over to spend a few days in his house tasting his wines. It was so much fun” remembers Alejandro. He’s also working in a project to promote the Galician wine presses at an archaeological level. “I enjoy getting to know different and new cultures and being able to talk the language of gastronomy. Certainly, the best way to communicate with anyone is doing so by offering them your food and drink” says Alejandro.
SOMMELIER, WINE WRITER & TV PRESENTER
Meritxell may be an award-winning sommelier, TV presenter, educator and wine writer, but it is her famous book on non-alcoholic beverages which she’s most proud of…
Meritxell Falgueras´ life was always going to be inextricably linked to wine. Her parent´s wine boutique, El Celler de Gelida in Barcelona, goes back five generations. “My great-great-grandfather transported wines in a cart from Barcelona to sell in the street at the end of the 19th century,” she says. “We still have that cart!”
Meritxell qualified as a sommelier in her twenties and did various Masters and post-graduate studies in wine culture, oenology and marketing, studying at the Sorbonne in France, the USA, Italy and the UK. Aged just 25, she won Esquire Magazine´s Golden Nose Award (Nariz de Oro) for Promising Young Sommelier, who described her as being: “Transparent and brilliant.”
Since then she has travelled the world as a wine educator, presented TV programmes and written three books about wine: Vinoka, the Wine Game of Pulitez, How to show off about Wine (Presume de vinos) and The Wines of your Life, (Los vinos de tu vida). She also regularly contributes to Time Out Barcelona, Spanish magazines La Vanguardia and Vinos y Restaurantes and her blog Wines and the City has just won Best Blog of the Year in Catalonia.
So, it comes as a great surprise that one of her proudest achievements to date has nothing to do with wine at all.
Her best-selling book What to Drink when you´re not Drinking (Qué beber cuando no bebes) has turned the tables on the wine world with a dizzying array of amazing alcohol-free beverages.
“I wanted to show people that alcohol-free drinks can take you on a sensorial and gastronomic journey to rival that of the best wine,”she says.
The guide, featuring 200 ground-breaking recipes, was so outstanding it voted Best Book in the World at the 23rd Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2018 – considered the literary Oscars.
“I was so moved,” she says. “Especially because it wasn´t something I ever expected to write.”
The book came about after years spent tea-total due to various pregnancies and breast-feeding. “It was so frustrating going out and only being able to drink water, decaf coffee or fruit juice,” she explains. “I thought about all the people who didn´t drink alcohol due to their religion, illness, pregnancies or age. Why shouldn´t they be able to mark occasions with truly inspiring drinks?”
She adds: “My thinking was that each moment requires a special drink, depending on what you are going to eat, how you feel or who you are with,” she explains.
Some of Meritxell´s creations aim to stimulate the senses at the same time as improve vitality, others are time-honoured classics. Many are thoroughly modern beverages and sophistication brews.
There´s the refreshingly salty Michelada perfect to accompany spicy food and the relaxing Golden Milk guaranteed to get you a good night´s sleep. Then there´s the exotic Kombucha, with miraculous ingredients and the digestive Lichi Drink. Whatever the occasion, Meritxell has the perfect non-alcoholic drink for everyone.
So, bearing in mind that her husband Lorenzo owns a famous vineyard in Tuscany and her entire family owe their livelihood to wine, were her friends and family shocked by this book?
“A little,” she grins. “But I like surprising people!”
Which is just what she intends to carry on doing as the latest addition to the Spanish Extravaganza Festival team.
Oenology is his great passion and wishes to transmit his love for wine to the forthcoming generations.
Manuel belongs to a family with a legendary wine culture. He studied Tourism at the University Alfonso X el Sabio, with his eyes set on wine tourism. He completed the Master of Sommelier of the Chamber of Commerce in Madrid. “Oenology is my great passion, my first love and I want to dedicate every second of my life to it” assures Manuel.
His first job as sommelier was in the Restaurante Urrechu in Madrid with more than 1.000 references of wine from 5 continents. “It definitely took some time, but I am so passionate that managed to know all 1.000” states Manuel with pride. He is now sommelier at Restaurante Alborada in A Coruña awarded with one Michelin star.
His mentor was the vintner Alfredo Maestro, owner of the bodega with the same name located in Peñafiel in Castilla León. “Alfredo taught me how to listen to my heartbeat during the grape harvest” says this sommelier who also adds “Custodio Lopez Zamarra, legendary sommelier, showed me the tradition and history of wine.”
Being awarded in the Gallaecia Sommeliers contest in 2018, he feels passionate about science, and describes himself as an explorer and dreamer. “They say that you can grow potatoes in Mars, but I’m only interested in grapes.” He is also member of the select club The Wine Country Club, where they investigate the 100 types of grape varieties in the world.