From Spanish and Malagasy origins, Alison Louis dit Alleaume grew up in Switzerland and graduated from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne where she discovered her passion for wine! After a year working in Bangkok in marketing and communications for the luxury food and beverage industry, she realized that she wanted to focus on the wine sector and discover American wines! Alison choose to move to San Francisco and build her wine education with classes at the San Francisco Wine School. In the mean time, she jumped on the opportunity to visit nearby wine regions, Napa and Sonoma Valley! Just recently, after completing Wine Program Management and California Appellation Specialist, she moved back to Switzerland, settled in Geneva, and found a new job working within the Fine Wine Auction Industry. Now working with the firm Baghera Wines, she collaborates with a professional and dynamic team on the organization of the auctions. She is thrilled about this new adventure and the direction of her career, thanks to her wine studies and her hard work!
How and when did you fall in love with wine and decide you wanted to make a career out of it?
I come from an "epicurious" family, so we always had wine at dinner! But I first fell in love with wine when I joined the Wine Committee "WeWine" at my University! There, I had the chance to travel around the vineyards of Europe and to discover this incredible world of wine! While working in some wineries and in the food and beverage industry, I realized that wine was not only a hobby, but a real passion and I decided that I wanted to make a career out of it!
Why did you pursue wine industry credentials?
Because I believe that in order to excel in this industry, you need to be learning continuously!
If you were not in the wine industry, what would you be doing?
I would have worked in the Luxury Food and Beverage or Travel Industry. I like that it's a large sector, with many possibilities and diverse roles. And sooner or later I would had discovered the wine industry ;)!
What are your career goals?
My aim is to grow in the wine industry (likely within the auction field) in order to learn all there is to know about it. Furthermore, I would like to travel around the wine countries of the world, experiencing and discovering different mentalities! And in the long term, I'd like to come back to San Francisco in order to experience working in the fine wine industry there!
What are some of your favorite things to drink? Most memorable food and wine pairings?
One of my greatest and most recent memorable tasting experiences was Vega Sicilia Unico!
My most memorable food and wine pairing was at the Ritz Carlton - Hotel Arts of Barcelona. We had a set menu of 10 courses, and we had an excellent sommelier that set a specific pairing for our table for each one of them! To be honest, I could not choose a favorite pairing, but the whole experience was amazing!
What has surprised you about the industry?
Only good surprises! But the most important for me is that wine is worldwide and you can always learn more about it -- it's limitless!!
How has taking classes at our school moved you closer to your career goals?
SFWS classes gave me the opportunity to have an international perspective of the wine industry! This has allowed me to create a great network and deeper knowledge of wine, and gave me a big jump in my career regarding my approach of the industry!
What would you say to someone just starting out?
To be curious about everything! Aim high! Don't be afraid of working hard and doing the job that no one else want to do! All the effort is worth it and it will pay off!
What wine region would you most like to visit?
This a really hard question! I would like to visit all of them! But right now the next region on my list is South Africa!
What's the most fun part of your job?
Meeting all kinds of people and chatting with them about wine and discovering their passions!
Check out upcoming California Wine Appellation Specialist and Wine Program Management courses, starting soon!
Learn more about all of our students with our Student Spotlight feature.