The Story Exchange, Oumy Diaw, The Champagne SommelierYour Name: Oumy Diaw

Business Name: The Champagne Sommelier, a sommelier service dedicated to champagne

Type of Business: Arts & Entertainment/Coaching & Consulting/E-Commerce/Food & Beverage/Marketing & PR

Business Location: New York, NY, United States

Twitter   @champagnesomm

Reason for starting
I started my business after realizing the void there were in the wine industry in term of proper brand management, selling strategies missing for Champagne category. I also realized that both wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs and champagne producers didn’t defined the fundamentals in term of how to proper assess champagne and sparkling wines nuances in order to help the consumer better understand each category, their codes and image implication by their quality. Furthermore, films/media didn’t have a go-to champagne expert to assist in movies scenes when champagne is used visually or mentioned verbally in a script during wine scenes. I coach actors to avoid certain mistakes or elevate their level of sophistication with Champagne in film set, help in French pronunciations etc… And the other world I thought that could benefit this platform was for celebrity event-planners to assist them in proper selection of champagne according to the level of the celebrity, and/or event theme and image. I also create “Champagne-only events” (wedding or wine dinners), where only Champagne is served from the cocktail to a full meal. This is the ultimate of all events as Champagne is the most refined wine in the world, but it requires strong expertise and technique to select, match accurately with food and to elevate your image or not. My company was to create a platform for each industry (wine, entertainment, event-planning) where I am the first and only official Champagne Sommelier™ in the world with 10 years of oenological and branding experiences for Champagne.

How do you define success?
By making the difference everyday and leaving a long lasting impact

Biggest Success
It’s too early to tell now. The sky is the limit for the business and expertise I offer 🙂

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
The top challenge is to make the wine industry to agree to create an official tasting grid solely dedicated to sparkling wines and Champagne that is much more complex than just the ones defining the presence of bubbles like what is taught in wine schools. This will elevate the category and force the producers to increase the quality of many sparkling wines sold in the USA and ultimately the consumer will get better products. It’s a long process but we’ll get there.

Who is your most important role model?
My father