Meet Best Sommelier of Cyprus & Cypriot Candidate of 14th ASI Contest 2021 – Andreas Kyprianou



Interview with Cypriot Candidate & Best Sommelier of Cyprus 2021 – Andreas Kyprianou

Yesterday saw the prestigious 14th ASI (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale) Contest for the Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa start in Limassol. Sommeliers, dignitaries and journalists arrived in the city from all over the world. It is considered to be the most important professional wine event ever to be held in Cyprus, possibly in Europe.

The candidate representing Cyprus in this huge Wine Contest is Andreas Kyprianou from Nicosia. He currently holds the title of the Best Sommelier of Cyprus. We took the opportunity to catch up with Andreas to learn more about his life as a Sommelier, and his love of wine.

Andreas was born in Nicosia, where he lives today with his wife and two children. In the wine industry, his career began in 2003, when he completed an internship at a wine company in New York. Since then, he has had the honour of being the only Cypriot who has been invited to take the Master Sommelier examination at the Court of Master Sommeliers. As Andreas explained, “From the moment I entered the wine world, I knew it was my chosen profession for life”.

He is the candidate that the whole of Cyprus is behind and wanting to win!

What does your professional role involve?

In 2006, I started my own business with my cousin, Costas Constantinou, after we had both worked in the hospitality industry for many years. We both shared a passion for wine and founded Vino Cultura in Nicosia. Today, we have expanded to become a large wine company, involved in many different aspects of the wine industry in Cyprus. The main areas of our business are the importation and distribution of wine, our wine shop and our very famous wine bar, Vino Cultura.

My role, in the company, sees me in charge of the wine department, where I select the wines, we buy and sell. I am also responsible for the training of our employees and, very importantly, encouraging them to impart their knowledge of wine to our customers. We also hold regular wine seminars and tastings for our guests, where we share our love of wine.

Two years ago, we opened a fine dining restaurant in Nicosia, called Rous. We aim to promote, in a unique way, and at the highest level, our culinary heritage of Cyprus. It reflects how the cuisine in Cyprus has developed and become what it is today, with all the influences from the past eight thousand years! 

Tell us about your latest wine project.

Our latest project is a new line of wines called ‘Tethys’, which focuses on single-vineyard wines, using only the indigenous grape varieties of Cyprus. Our primary focus is on single-vineyard wines from the Krasohoria and Pitsilia regions.

In 2019, we had our first vintage from an old family vineyard in Trimiklini village. Last year, we had three different vinifications of the Xynisteri grape. It is a project that we are very excited about, and we look forward to developing this strategy, using other indigenous grapes in the future.

Who has inspired you in the wine industry?

I think one of the most influential personalities I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in the wine trade, would have to be Dr Rowald Hepp, a famous German winemaker and scientist. After twenty-two years as the Director of Germany’s Schloss Vollrads in Oetstrich-Winkel, he retired last year. He has a great passion for wine and always shares his knowledge in the humblest of ways. For me, this has made every one of our meetings an unforgettable experience.

What does it mean to you to represent Cyprus in the ASI Contest?

For me, representing your country in any form of a contest is one of the highest honours that someone can have in their lifetime. I am delighted to be the candidate for Cyprus this year. The fact that the Contest will take place in my home country, makes it especially special. This is the most significant wine event which will ever take place in Cyprus, and I am very excited to be representing the host country.

How have you been preparing for the Contest?

I have been doing everything I can to give myself the best chance at the Contest. The life of a Sommelier involves an awful lot of studying. The subject is vast, and one can never stop learning about wine. We have a small group, with some fellow sommeliers, where, together, we encourage each other to taste wine and other beverages. When it comes to this level of competition and exams, you cannot do it alone. You need an active group helping you out along the way!

Do you have a favourite Cypriot grape variety?

Definitely! Giannoudi/Yiannoudi is a grape variety that, I believe, will define the profile of an excellent Cypriot red wine in a few years. At the moment, some exceptional wines are being produced from this indigenous grape.

What would be your best advice to a young Sommelier?

Keep your mind open! The wine world is huge, and it is closer to you than you think! Also, travel! Use every opportunity you get to travel to as many wine regions as you can. Absorb everything around you.

If the world was to end, what would be your final wine?

A top cuvée Champagne of at least 15-20 years of age.

What would be your best advice to a wine lover?

Don’t be afraid to try new wines! Be adventurous, try something new every time and, more importantly, learn something new every time! The main thing is just to enjoy the wine journey.

What are your future plans?

In the future, we plan to go closer to nature in everything we do! It might be with a small winery that combines our hospitality backgrounds and other agritourism activities. We will see what the future brings. Right now, my thoughts are wholly on the Contest!

  • VINO CULTURA – Kyriakou Matsi 20, Nicosia
  • Tel: 22 676 707

Meet the UK Candidate, Sommelier and Vice President of the UK Sommelier Association, Éric Zwiebel, in an exclusive interview with Cyprus in Style Magazine, during his recent research trip to the Island. Read the Interview here.

Interview by Sarah Coyne

Published by Cyprus in Style Magazine | November 2021 | #InStyleBusinessNetwork | Best Sommelier of Cyprus 2021

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Copyright Cyprus in Style Magazine 2021 – All rights reserved / Best Sommelier of Cyprus 2021