Pictures: With smelling abilities hit by COVID-19, wine testers fear the loss of livelihood

For many wine professionals, life will not be the same after this pandemic. As many as half of Covid-19 sufferers lose their sense of smell or taste. Anxiety is tripping over as many sommeliers fear it could spell the end of their careers. 

When your nose is your career

Wine professionals are dependent on their noses for their livelihood and pandemic came as a nightmare. French oenologist Sophie Pallas, who lost her senses after been infected with the coronavirus disease now retrains her palate, holds a glass of wine as she poses during a wine tasting session in a shop in Paris, France.


Feels like a musician without his instrument

Asked what it meant for a wine taster to be robbed of their sense of taste or smell, Fages responded, "It's like asking a musician to play without his instrument."


Like being in a black hole

Many have found the problem depressing. As they call it, "It was like being in a black hole. It is a terrifying feeling." French Champagne-maker Charles Philipponnat, who tested positive for coronavirus disease in October, finds he had partially lost his senses, smells wine during a wine tasting session.


Why is this happening?

Researchers believe the loss of smell happens due to the virus damaging what they call the supporting cells of the olfactory epithelium – the area high in the nose where we detect odours. 


Fear of losing a livelihood

In the wine business losing your sense of smell is taboo. Sommeliers are grief-stricken as they think they can no longer serve the purpose of this industry.

Aspiring sommeliers fear that this could affect future hiring decisions. 


Vaccine Priority

Many French sommeliers and winemakers have called for making vaccine a priority. 

They believe things will settle down and will get better someday, life is not always the same as it is now. Though life seems troubled right now, many wine professionals say, "Hope is all we have."


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