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Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Karina Tholin

Time for another lady sommelier :-) please allow me to introduce to you our next Swedish top sommelier Karina Tholina

Karina is Freelance sommelier , Educator in Wines & gastronomy and since 2013 president of the Swedish Sommelier association. She also is a true inspiration for lots of women as of all the members of the Swedish Sommelier Association more then the half of them are women!! I personally cannot support this enough!!

Karina's love for wine or maybe it is better to say the big step towards the passion started between the 80's and 90's when she worked in several well known restaurant in Sweden. I once read an article about Karina where she said that "becoming a Sommelier is like going on a journey that never ends because the more you learn, the more you realize how vast the world of wine is yet to be explored”... I couldn't agree more

In the 90's her passion became so big that travelled many times to Stockholm to improve and enlarge her knowledge by following wine courses. Her Passion was that big that she even opened an own wine restaurant in Örebro called Tholin's restaurant (if i understood the Swedish written articles well :-) ) Today she is (next to what I mentioned before also Restaurant manger at Fem Små Hus in Stockholm and Sommelier at Lammert & Grisen in Sälen Ski resort and she judges many international sommelier competitions... I'm very happy she found the time to answer my questions :-)

What is your favorite wine region to work with?

I have to admit that I find this a difficult question as it differs from time to time , depending on season my taste changes. So if you want 1 answer I would say all wine regions :-)

What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?

You have to be curious and willing to work hard , always be willing to learn and listen . Those are for me the key elements for a good sommelier

Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?

At the moment I would definitely say yes. Although it is going in the good direction and I'm sure that one day we'll get the recognition we deserve. Even in lesser known countries where sommeliers have it even harder to get the recognition.

When and how did you get the passion for wine?

I think it was somewhere in the 80's when during my first job and when I started a restaurant in the 90's that passion only grew. So it’ has been there all the time :-) and it keeps growing as the years go by...

Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?

My mentor Ia Orre is definitely the first name that pops-up in my head!! A true role model and source of inspiration

Ia Orre  by Arenabok

What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?

It should be fun and uncomplicated. That's basically it. Simplicity rules!

Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?

It’s as hard to choose like with the first question as every region has it’s own charm and benefits. Piemonte however always seems to keep attracting me no matter how many times I've already visited it . The food, the wine, the people, the landscapes... the combination makes it heaven on earth

Piemonte by Sarah Djerf

For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?

There are so many wines worth this effort , but a Madeira Terrantez 1974 , certainly would be worth an extra effort

What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school?

Can’t refer to this question . I’m autodidact and been working with and learned from more experienced persons.

A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop,etc…?

They shall have the feeling about being unique and that its all about passion

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