MICHELIN Guide Ceremony 2 minutes 17 April 2024

Gabriela Ospina of Boia De is the MICHELIN Guide Florida 2024 Sommelier Award Winner

Congratulations to Gabriela Ospina of Boia De, the 2024 MICHELIN Guide Florida Sommelier Award Winner!

For Ospina, wine is about the stories and the community. Instead of working behind a rigid set of rules, the award winner instead opts to pursue what interests her, believing that there is no "right or wrong way" to drink wine. "At the end of the day, wine is meant to be drunk, not studied," adds Ospina.

Below, the sommelier takes us behind the scenes on her philosophy in adding new additions to the wine list and what she's drinking these days. Cheers!

How were you introduced to the world of wine?

Wine was always on the periphery as I made my way through various restaurant positions, aware of it but never my focus. After quarantine ended there were a couple years there that felt like they blew right by. Once the dust settled, I had time to ask myself what I truly wanted to spend my time on. It is such a romanticized industry, but the humanity behind it is why I kept showing up every daythe stories I was telling, the connections I was making, the little community I found myself a part of. Wine was the answer that held it all.

How has your relationship with wine changed?

I've become much more relaxed in my pursuit to understand it. I'm an academic by nature and it can be overwhelming to apply some kind of structure or discipline to the study of wine. Now it feels all so much less serious, I pursue what interests me. At the end of the day, wine is meant to be drunk, not studied.

What are you drinking these days?

Gray-skinned grapes with contact, red and white grape co-ferments, blurring the lines between the orange-rose-light red shades. Specifically, Palhete and Ramato.

What's your favorite nonalcoholic drink?

Boba tea in all flavors, as long as there is double boba. Or Dr. Pepper.

What's your ideal meal and pairing?

Ceviche and Cabernet Sauvignon. Just kidding. Like many of my colleagues I'm an acid head so I'll take the ceviche, but with a coastal white from someplace Mediterranean, maybe with a little altitude. Or buffalo wings and some kind of salty pink fizz made in an Italian's spare barn. 

David Bley / Boia De
David Bley / Boia De

What's the biggest misconception about being a sommelier, or wine in general, that you'd like to dispel?

That there is a right or wrong way to make and enjoy wine. There is no moral value to sulfites. There is nothing inherently right or wrong with volatile acid. There are double liter bottles of Pinot Grigio from Walgreens that I remember fondly because of who I drank them with. Bottles of DRC reach 6 figures and are made biodynamically. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

What’s your criteria for adding a new wine to your list?

First and foremost, the wine has to be food friendly! With each placement I'm attempting to do justice to the efforts of my chefs, and to do whatever I can to ensure our guests have the best possible experience. 

And while I'm a firm believer in 'never say never,' there are a few other boxes I like to check: purity of fruit, native varietals, responsible farming, and low-intervention techniques. I will also involuntarily gravitate towards anything I haven't heard of before. The more esoteric, the better.

Favorite wine-related film, book, magazine, etc?

Beyond Flavor by Nick Jackson M.S. It is my favorite reference texthe does an incredible job of describing in clean, precise language the mechanics behind blind tasting for readers at any level. I also have a special place in my heart for Sideways. I saw it in theatres without having a clue what I was getting into. So glad I did.

David Bley / Boia De
David Bley / Boia De

Hero image: Gabriela Ospina

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