“In 1999, while pregnant with my second child, I entered my first sommelier competition. It was the provincial division, where I landed in 3rd place. In 2001, I finished 2nd. In 2004, I competed for the third time, and finished in 3rd place. Finally, in 2006, after a fourth try, I was awarded Best sommelier of Quebec.
However, a challenge arose. Before 2006, when you won the provincial, you could compete for the world title. That year, due to a rise in interest, a national competition opened, and became mandatory.
I decided that it would be my last one: I often felt guilty investing so much in my career while raising two young children.
Véronique Rivest, first woman to be awarded in the Best sommelier of the world competition (Tokyo, 2013).
I was competing for second or third place: the country’s representative for the last World competition (2004), who had been preparing for the last 3 years for the next World’s (2007) was also registered. Against all odds, I won first place. I decided to persevere and try the world competition, where I finished in 6th place. At my second try, in 2010, I finished, once again, in 6th place.
Then, in 2013, I secured the second place; I became the first woman ever to make her way onto the podium.
After 14 years, thousand of study hours, two children and countless competitions, I can honestly say that nothing worth having comes easy. I am confident that I have thought my children a great lesson in perseverance and motivation. Failures are teachers, they help us grow and develop our careers. Perception of failure is a state of mind.“
Véronique Rivest: Sommelier and wine columnist, first woman to step on the Best sommelier of the world podium. Awardee of multiple titles: Best sommelier of Canada (2006, 2012), Femme du Vin (Paris, 2007), Best sommelier of the Americas (2012), 2nd best world sommelier (Tokyo, 2013).