Anna Kiuru is aiming for an international career in wine
Perhaps a world-touring consultant, buyer, or lecturer in the field of wine. Many doors are still open, but Anna Kiuru is going towards her dream career by combining her competence in wine with the International Business Online studies at Turku UAS.
Text and photos: Mari Loikkanen
A little swirl and sniff. In a wine, you can smell which grapes it is made of. Not everyone can pull that off, but Anna Kiuru, 31, has an acute sense of smell.
“I’ve always had a highly developed sense of smell. About four years ago I realized that wines are my forte. I was working in an Italian restaurant in Stockholm and had an epiphany about the combinations of wine and food. Wine lifts food and food lifts wine. It’s like art”, says Kiuru.
Kiuru is dreaming of an international career in the wine industry, perhaps as a buyer in the business side or a consultant travelling around the globe. She is aiming towards her goal with determined studying. In practice, Kiuru’s whole life revolves around wine. How did it come to this?
After finishing upper secondary school, Kiuru felt the urge to travel abroad to see and experience new things. For a while, she considered completing a UAS Bachelor’s degree, but leaving for Australia on a Working holiday visa got the long straw. Later Kiuru lived in both Berlin and Barcelona, before ending up in Stockholm.
“When abroad, I always worked in restaurants and bars. However, I didn’t get interested in wine before the Eataly restaurant in Stockholm. There, I heard from a customer that there are courses on wine. I had not known that you could study something like that and got interested.”
This is how Kiuru ended up completing an international wine diploma by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. The wine diploma provides extensive knowledge on wines, for example for those working in the restaurant industry.
More spurs from business administration
Kiuru completed the first parts of the diploma in Stockholm and is now completing the last parts in Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College in Helsinki, Finland. In addition, she found Turku UAS’ English-language Bachelor’s degree programme in International Business Online , which is completed entirely online. She started in the programme in autumn 2020.
“International Business is the perfect degree programme for me. Business administration supports my specialization in the wine industry, and I can complete all essays by utilizing this topic area. I feel that like-minded people have ended up in the degree programme: we’re all very international”, Kiuru describes.
Online studies can be completed regardless of the place and this also enables working alongside studying. Kiuru calculates that about half of the students live abroad and half in Finland.
“Of the studies completed so far, for example the course on internationality was very interesting. It has been just awesome throughout. We complete the assignments in a group and on no account have the online studies been lonely”, she describes.
The coronavirus has not affected her studies at Turku UAS at all, as online studies mean that you would study remotely anyway.
She is going to complete a double degree at Turku UAS. A double degree provides two certificates, from two different higher education institutions.
Turku UAS has a double degree agreement with Y SCHOOLS Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Troyes, which is, fittingly for Kiuru, located in the Champagne area in France.
“It would benefit me a great deal and bring credibility for my job search if I also studied in the Champagne area – where champagne comes from.”
A future hit: natural wines
Kiuru pours natural wine in a glass. The strong bouquet is promising, and the taste is exuberant: you can taste many flavours at the same time. Kiuru is excited about natural wines and their purity.
“Not many people are familiar with natural wines, but after the EU plan of adding product information in wine bottle labels is realized, I believe that they will gain more popularity.”
In the product information people could see that natural wine is just fermented grape juice, with nothing removed or added, unlike with commercial wines. Natural wines are made of hand-picked berries with original methods and they are fermented with wild yeasts.
“Is there anything more natural! I’ve been surprised with the multidimensional flavours of natural wines.”
In her work as a sommelier at Vinho, a wine bar in Turku, Kiuru has noticed that ecological wines are trending right now. People are interested in if a wine is organic. More and more people also take into account the goals of sustainable development in wine growing.
“It’s worth finding out about the terms or ask help from the waiter or Alko employees. For example, organic wines, natural wines and biodynamic wines are manufactured in different ways.
Aiming at Master of Wine
Kiuru’s everyday life consists of studies and work. She must read a lot for the wine diploma. You must get to know the manufacturing techniques of wines, the legislation in the wine-growing countries and train your nose to recognize wines.
Training the sense of smell takes place by smelling all kinds of things: flowers, spices and, for example, fruit.
“You can for example smell the skin of an apple. After that, you can take a bite from the apple and then smell the scent. This is how your nose awakens to the world of tastes and smells."
After having completed the wine diploma, Kiuru plans to go even further. She is planning to complete the English wine industry degree Master of Wine, which is difficult to complete at the global level. Less than 400 people worldwide have completed Master of Wine, and in Finland, there are five of them.
“A Master of Wine must blind-taste 36 wines and know where they have been made, how they have been made and even from which village the wine comes from. Thinking that there are about 1300 different grapes in the world makes the task very challenging”, Kiuru describes the level of difficulty of the degree.
In addition to Master of Wine, Kiuru is interested in the Master of Wine Business Management degree.
“I’m so excited to have finally found my cup of tea and have been able to combine it with business administration studies. I hope that in the future I find a job which involves a lot of travel. Is there anything better than getting to travel the world for a living?”