At the age of 37, Aurélie Mazella has already had a rich career path. After graduating from business school (HEC Montréal), specialising in Marketing, Aurélie was already attracted to the world of wine. She then worked part-time for a Quebec importer and took off for China with her degree in hand, where she continued working for importers, first in Beijing in supermarket/HORECA marketing, then in Shanghai as a marketing manager and buyer.
Like Bordeaux Wine School tutors, she constantly develops her expertise. She obtained the prestigious WSET 3 certificate in 2011 and became a WSET Master Tutor at the Shanghai Wine Academy in 2012.
2015 saw a major change of course when she moved to West Africa. However, a coup d’état and an immature wine market forced her to change directions. She then took over the management of the communication agency Havas Burkina. Yet wine was never far away as Aurélie Mazella continued to give oenology courses to private individuals and wine professionals in Ouagadougou.
The West African wine market reminds me a lot of the one I discovered in China in 2007 before the boom of 2008 – 2012.
The market mainly focuses on entry-level red wines, low-priced sweet white wines, branded wines and, to a lesser extent, Grands Crus Classés. However, over the past six years in West Africa, and particularly over the last two years, she has been pleased to see a change. “Wine cellars are flourishing, and existing distributors are expanding their ranges and investing in embellishing their cellars”.
Having moved to Benin in 2017, she continues her communication activities while offering assistance to wine professionals in supermarkets in Ghana. This particularly rich and diverse experience led her to create the Académie du Vin Africa in March 2021, where she gives oenology courses to private individuals and professionals.
Always keen to develop and share her knowledge, Aurélie Mazella was accredited by the Bordeaux Wine School in July 2021. In 2022, she plans to expand the activities of the Académie du Vin Africa to other African countries to support the wine industry in the field.
To help this market develop and become sustainable, the Bordeaux Wine School is playing a key supporting role.
Many importers and distributors do not have sound knowledge of oenology. Selections and sales pitches are made based on prices rather than on PDOs, so stakeholders need to increase their skills.
To get participants on board, Aurélie Mazella freely shares her own journey. “I’m lucky to have discovered wine rather late in life. I went through the whole discovery process quite methodically. I love to share this journey during training sessions. I take the time to answer all questions, get back to the basics, and help people discover wine in a fun and relaxed way. This helps the wine professionals I assist to open up their fields of possibilities.”
For her, becoming a Bordeaux Wine School tutor was particularly relevant in this market where Bordeaux PDOs are by far the most represented.
Also passionate about wine and always looking for new ways to live out this passion and enrich his knowledge, Szymon Milonas is a man of many talents. He is a Bordeaux Wine School, WSET and Wine Scholar Guild-accredited tutor, a wine importer, a board member of the Polish Sommelier Association and a judge in wine and sommelier competitions
This experience led him to witness the rapid development of the Polish wine market from within. With wine consumption up 15% since 2016, “It is one of Europe’s developing economies and one of the most promising wine markets,” he says. This momentum is driven in particular by a very positive perception among younger consumers. According to him, Bordeaux wines, which are still little-known, have a key role to play in this rapidly developing market.
Once again, training is a fundamental lever to foster this discovery among Polish consumers. “Consumers are reluctant to open bottles,” he says. They don’t think about wine outside of special occasions or holidays, such as at the dinner table. Training is essential to make wine more accessible and open up new consumption opportunities.
Szymon Milonas conveys this message even better since his recent visit to the Bordeaux vineyards when he obtained his accreditation.
I met some great people, discovered places and wines not to be missed, and not only the grands crus classés.
Among his favourites, which he always shares with people, are Clairet, Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux white and sweet white wines. “I’m happy to be a part of this community of tutors. I’m keen on the idea of teaching about Bordeaux wines and I can’t wait to get back to Bordeaux!”
The Bordeaux Wine School recruits and trains new tutors in many emerging markets. They become passionate and inspiring experts offering high-quality learning. Supported by the digital world created by the School (webinars, the mobile app, intranet reserved for tutors, etc.), they participate in the emergence of new practices, guide curious beginners in a world that is still little-known and help to broaden the knowledge of professionals.