James Lukezic is currently the Executive Managing director of Old Slip Capital Partners and has over two decades of experience working for large financial corporations as a retirement consultant. While he spends most of his day making critical financial decisions, he doesn’t let his job distract him from his other passions. James Lukezic is also a sommelier and avid wine collector. “My family has been making and selling wine for centuries. They have owned wineries in Slovenia and the Collio region of Italy,” James says.
His family’s winery background inspired him to become a sommelier and grow his wine collection. “My favorite wines are Napa Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot noirs from Oregon’s Willamette Valley,” says James Lukezic. How did James Lukezic become a sommelier? He shares a few tips.
For those who wish to become sommeliers, James Lukezic recommends they learn as much as they can about wine. Beginners often like to start writing down notes when tasting wines since it’s one of the essential steps to becoming a sommelier. According to James Lukezic, familiarizing themselves with the most famous wine regions in the world also helps a sommelier in the making.
The French wine region remains one of the top producers in the world, even though wine production in France has gone down by 11% since 2007. James Lukezic, whose family has owned wineries in Italy, mentions Italy remains a large wine producer. Some of the primary grapes in Italy include Prosecco, Barbera, Trebbiano Toscano, and Nero d’Avola. The California one region is one of James Lukezic’s favorite regions, and 99% of the wine produced in the United States comes from this area. Argentina has also recently emerged as a top wine producer in the world. Over the last few years, wine production in Argentina has seen a growth of 8%.
James Lukezic mentions traveling to the wine regions is the best way for sommeliers in the making to learn about wine, but it’s not always financially possible. Instead of traveling, potential sommeliers should read books about the major wine regions.
One of the best ways to get their training as a sommelier is by working in the industry. James Lukezic, for example, comes from a background of winemakers. There are many other ways to learn about the industry, such as working at a restaurant, tasting room, wine bar, or catering company. An overlooked skill is often learning the proper way to pour wine, which can be acquired by working in the industry.
Individuals who can to fast track their sommelier skills can enroll in a certificate program. These programs provide them with the hands-on training required to become a professional sommelier.
James Lukezic also enjoys belonging to the United States Polo Association, New York City’s Fencers Club, and the American Helicopter Society.