Meet Our Wine Expert - Louise O'Brien
My name is Louise O’Brien. In 2012, I graduated as a Speech and Language Therapist from Trinity College Dublin. Today, I am a certified wine nerd but also just a fun, wine-loving normal person. I guess, my life is, pardon the pun, like a good bottle of wine - it tells a great story and it has gotten so much better with age.
My wine story begins in 2017 when I left my former career and Ireland to reignite my life-long ambition to work in wine. It always had been within me from a young age, thanks to a long-term family friend/French Sommelier and also, my parents enjoyed the finer wines.
That year, I landed in Boston and quickly took up a job at a flagship wine store, Gordon’s Fine Wines and Liquors. For me, it was like Christmas everyday working amongst, learning about, and tasting some of the finest wines the world has seen. I was also fortunate to be surrounded by a passionate team and highly knowledgeable customers, clients and collectors who generously shared knowledge and stories. I participated in wine tastings, seminars and events, met some renowned winemakers and of course carried out the everyday essential tasks of moving cases of wine and fulfilling orders. All in a days work!
My formal training with Wine Spirits Education Trust (WSET) began in 2018 and
continues today as I aspire to get my diploma with my sights firmly set on becoming a Master of Wine. In early 2019, a desire to learn more about the nature of wine and where it comes from overcame me and I went in search of a harvest internship. I toyed between Napa Valley, Finger Lakes or the Willamette Valley. The latter won due to my love of Pinot Noir and its intricacies and a chance encounter with a winery owner, Bill Holloran, of Holloran Vineyard Wines at an event in Boston. By May 2019, my white soled shoes were stained red by the richly coloured Jory soils of the Dundee Hills and I was greeted by endless rows of vineyards as far as the eye could see.
My wine life in the Willamette Valley took many pivots and I wore many hats. My knowledge bank expanded twofold. I learnt from the best team, from the cellar to the tasting room and from all the visitors in between. I acquired a skill set I never knew I had! Barrel washing and steaming, topping, punch downs, blending trials and bottling, grape sorting and so much more and that’s just in the cellar! Off season, I was just as busy managing a wine club, working in the Tasting Room, coordinating tasting events and eventually took to managing the small Direct to Consumer sales program.
2021 saw my return to Ireland after I bid a sad farewell to my life in Wine Country. A pandemic creates a lot of uncertainty for everyone but my ambition for the wine industry knows no bounds. During lockdown, I continued my studies, achieved my WSET Level 3. Shortly after, I secured a job as a sommelier at Ashford Castle Hotel. A pinch me moment for sure. I moved to the West of Ireland as restrictions began to lift and the world began to breathe again. The cellars, wines, service, staff and people of Ashford Castle are a league of their own and an experience I am eternally grateful for. The connections made while pouring some of the world’s finest wines,
are definitely memories for life! The Sommelier team there is second to none with a wealth of knowledge of wines and dedicated years of service. I joined the Irish Guild of Sommeliers and passed exams with the Association of Sommeliers International.
And now, we’ve caught up to the present day, and the most important chapter,
Cavavin Ireland. I am working as Head of Wine at Cavavin Ireland. This venture has been the most impressive and rewarding of all, as I have the pleasure of choosing wines for all of you. I spent some time in Bordeaux training with Cavavin. I met the team and soaked up the essence of French wine and that ‘Savoir Faire’ (the know how) that is so often mentioned. It all just fell into place. I tasted and learned from a team that have paved the way in selecting and selling wines in the most competitive market for 35+ years.
I tasted over 50 wines and each one was better than the last. The authenticity of the training, the tastings and the Chateaux visits was second to none. The need for these wines in the Irish market was crystal clear but I knew our approach had to be different and my background in travel, exploration and discovery would come in useful. Thus, our wine styles were born.
Cavavin Ireland is an add-on to an already very successful story. I have joined a team in Cavavin Ireland that has a wealth of experience and knowledge in retail, logistics and e-commerce. We are confident that we will deliver a best-in-class customer service and a brilliant overall retail experience.
I look forward to meeting you all in person or virtually and sharing my story and
knowledge with you. I know you will enjoy exploring and discovering the wines I have chosen for you through my special selections, case buys, wine tasting styles, tasting events, weekly wine shop pours and anything else I’ve forgotten to mention! We may be small but our aspirations are genuine and the wines that we provide to you are guaranteed artisan, authentic and will bring something different to your glass!