Pope Benedict XVI has been awarded the title of honorary sommelier by the Italian Sommelier Association of Rome.
Although neither the Vatican nor the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association) have released official news of the event, an AIS spokeswoman confirmed Pope Benedict had accepted the title of honorary sommelier.
The pontiff, who said he was a ‘humble servant in the vineyard of the Lord’ in his inaugural speech last year, attended the sommeliers’ initiation ceremony, where he was given a silver tastevin – a small metal dish used for tasting wine.
‘He asked all sorts of questions about the work of a sommelier and the use of a tastevin,’ said AIS representative Piera Madé.
According to Wine News Italy, the pope is ‘knowledgeable of the great cultural and symbolic value that wine has served throughout Christian history.’
Although it is not known which wines the Pope prefers, the report claimed that after many years in Italy, ‘he is surely an admirer of the top Italian labels.’
However, Vatican spokeswoman, Sister Mary Elizabeth, told decanter.com that no official record of the honour exists and that ‘this is probably not really a priority for the Pope.’
Written by Panos Kakaviatos