Member of the month: Geoffrey Bentari

We have had a bit of a break but the member of the month is back! This month we sat down with Geoffrey Bentari who has been a member of CrossFit GVA since 2017.

Where are you from originally and how long have you been in Geneva?
I come from Aix-en-Provence/Sierre and have been in Geneva for 7 years. I came here mainly for personal reasons.

What do you do for a living?
I am the head sommelier in a luxury hotel in Geneva.

How did you get into that line of work?
I went to a catering school and eventually found my calling during my studies.

Describe to us a typical work day for you
I start my day at 10 in the morning and finish between 11pm and 1am. Luckily, I get some rest between 4pm and 6pm, which I use to work out, although sometimes I’ll fancy a game of petanque. If I take a nap during my break, I feel less energetic, and getting some exercise also helps me to clear my head.

How long you have you been doing CrossFit?
I have been doing CrossFit for 2 years.

Why did you start?
I started because I felt an urge to improve my fitness. For many years I trained on my own and probably did some exercises badly. My idea was to finish each session as tired as possible. I have made lots of progress thanks to the advice from the coaches and the programming. It allows us to make improvements in endurance, speed and strength. It also helps to decompress, it’s a way for me to blow off some steam and escape the daily grind.

What frustrates you most about training?
When certain reps feel like I’m moving further away from my goal. CrossFit is a bit like a puzzle, it requires constant work. The journey is long if you want to reach a good level. It can be frustrating to not reach the top right away.

What progress are you most proud of?
CrossFit is a bit like a drug and I don’t need to smoke to decompress. During a WOD, there are times where you are euphoric, then you are crying in pain and at the end weeping tears of joy. In the end, these intense moments are what I’m looking for in group sports. Now, it is true that in my work I’m too hard on myself, I know that nothing can be taken for granted and I don’t like to par my own back.

What other hobbies do you have other than training?
I’ve become an amateur farmer and I look after my vines.

What exactly is a sommelier and how did you become one?
A good sommelier needs to bring out everything that goes into making a bottle of wine. You need a bit of culture, a bit of history and sociology, lots of love for your fellow man, plenty of humility and good listening skills. It’s a people job, we make the link between the winemaker and the cook, between the plate and the glass. It’s about providing an emotional and sensory experience, not showing off your intellect and your encyclopaedic knowledge.I chose this line of work because I didn’t know what to do when I finished school!

Are you passionate about wine?
Yes. It’s not a technical trade, it’s first and foremost about communicating and sharing knowledge. And so, to be able to tell a story before the plate and the glass arrive, you need to know your references by heart but also the customer’s expectations and preferences. My obsession is with the customer’s pleasure, not mine.

What is the most expensive bottle of wine you sell at the President Wilson and how much does it cost?
A “Screaming Eagle, Napa valley, California, USA 2003” at CHF 11’000.-! It’s also the most expensive bottle I’ve sold in my career –in fact, we still have one left 😉

Tell us more about the “paysan du Dimanche”? Where does that happen and are you growing grapes for wine? Did you produce any already?
I have a dozen rows of Pinot Noir vine in the Côteaux Sierrois, in Valais, that I pamper in my spare time. It’s enough to produce 250 liters of wine each year.