Claire Coppi is a mainstay in many of many SOMM TV episodes. She’s an absolute pleasure to watch and has incredible knowledge about wine. We sat down with her recently to get to know her more and discover her path to wine and where she hopes it will take her down the road.
Life Before Wine
Claire fell in love with acting at age ten and went all in when she was older. She was attracted to the theatre side of the industry and became obsessed, doing all the training she could to the point where she could see it becoming her entire career.
At the end of 2015, upon realising that she loved working on camera, she moved to LA to further her career prospects. However, she discovered the superficial taint within the acting world there. The focus was placed on her social following rather than the acting skills she’d trained for. She started to feel burnt out from the work and the social efforts involved, “I didn’t have the same fire and passion, and that really doesn’t work when you’re out here trying to act.”
How Claire Coppi Fell in Love with Wine
Losing passion for a world as intense as the acting industry, she needed to step back. Claire started focusing on the restaurant she’d been working at on the side, and her devotion to wine began to grow.
With her dad being a big wine lover, a solid foundation of wine was instilled within her. When the restaurant’s wine director came to teach the staff about wine, it was unsurprising that Claire fell in love.
“I think it’s fascinating. I love the history behind wine and felt it had more meritocracy than the acting world. While it is about who you know, you must also know what you’re talking about or can’t get very far.”
There was a respect for the sommelier position that Claire couldn’t turn down, and she threw herself into studying, completing Level 2 with the Court of Master Sommeliers, WSET Level 3, and a Sherry Certification.
Working with SOMM TV
It’s clear that Claire was meant to work with SOMM TV. Beginning her career in acting and making her way into wine, she now gets to blend her passions into the ultimate dream job, at least for the time being.
She worked at Mirabelle Wine Bar in California during her studies. After a Blind Tasting Sessions episode with owner Dave Gibbs and Kelli White, the author of Napa Valley, Then and Now, and the wine director at Press, the SOMM TV team was introduced to Nick Caballero, manager of Mirabelle and Claire Coppi. They sat for another blind tasting session, and thus the relationship with Claire began.
During the filming of that episode, it’s safe to say that Claire was terrified “But they made me feel so comfortable, and I’ve been lucky for them to have me back”. After an incredibly successful first episode, there was nothing to worry about, and thus started the strong affinity with Claire that the team behind SOMM TV that the audience knows and loves.
Staying Up to Date With Wine
The common saying is that the more you learn about wine, the more you realize you know nothing, which is part of the reason Claire has such a passion for it.
Working on the floor in a restaurant helps keep her knowledge up to scratch. As the wine director of Sushi Note LA, she touches so many bottles, which means she’s learning every day. “If you’re not working on the restaurant floor, you won’t pass those higher-level exams. Because you need to be saturated in it [wine].” There is also a lot to be said about reading up on the latest in the wine world, and she tries to read as much as possible.
Keeping fresh with her blind tasting, Claire is a member of a few blind tasting groups. One consists of a close circle of friends who take turns being the moderator every week. That person chooses the wines, re-bottles them and moderates the virtual tasting.
Future in Wine
Still new to the wine industry, Claire’s not quite ready to choose what she wants to do. It’s still surprising to her, not us, that she’s already a wine director, so her future could hold anything. Working with SOMM TV and combining her two passions has been perfect. The fun surrounding SOMM TV and the goal of making wine education easily digestible is a strong pull for her. She doesn’t like the intimidation people feel when they walk into a restaurant, thinking they’re expected to know certain things. “That’s my job, the sommelier’s job. The customer should be able to sit back and enjoy some great wine with their meal.”
Wine Claire Coppi is Drinking
Asking Claire what special bottles she has in her personal collection didn’t result in a clear answer. Wines are supposed to be drunk, not sit on a shelf for years, with the risk of turning into vinegar.