The International Sommelier Association (ASI) is currently gearing up for its first continental competition of the year: The Best Sommelier of the Americas contest, which will be held May 21-24 in Montreal and will bring together the best two sommeliers from 11 Pan American countries. This event will serve as an idyllic launchpad for ASI’s new President Andres Rosberg’s long-term vision.
Aimed at integrating markets for a new generation of professionals, Rosberg’s plan for the next two years includes entirely new branding, a new website and a stronger communications policy. Young sommeliers and sommellerie students around the world will be increasingly targeted, and ASI will focus on developing tools for them to become better professionals. These shifts can already be seen and felt via the new logo, a new monthly newsletter called #ASInews as well as online streaming of the finals of all competitions, which was first done at the 2016 Best Sommelier of the World contest in Argentina and has now been adopted as a standard practice in all international contests.
Activities are also being redesigned to better serve current market dynamics and tackle contemporary issues. Annual meetings are becoming “nomadic” (held in different countries every year) to emphasize ASI’s global character. The content of the meetings will also gradually change, becoming a celebration of the profession with new activities, workshops and tastings open to all local sommeliers in addition to the traditional formal members-only assemblies.
“The responsibilities of a modern sommelier are today seen as going far beyond merely serving wines,” says Rosberg. “In the next two years, we at ASI not only aim to elevate the position of sommelier within the industry, but also to increase global awareness of how special and important this field is to consumers.”
A tutorial video starring the great Gerard Basset was also recently created for sommeliers who are studying for exams, competitions or simply wanting to improve their performances. It is available to the public on the ASI webpage and will be redone every three years in conjunction with The Best Sommelier of the World competitions.
Key Dates & Events:
MAY 22-24, 2018: Best Sommelier of the Americas in Montreal
MAY 25-28, 2018: Wines of Nova Scotia Tour
JUNE 19-25, 2018: Annual General Assembly in Georgia
OCTOBER 14-17, 2018: Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania in Kyoto, Japan
MARCH 2019: Best Sommelier of the World in Anwerp, Belgium
JUNE 2019: ASI’s annual meeting and 50th anniversary party in Champagne
Founded in Reims (France) in 1969, ASI is an international non-profit organization with over 30,000 members from national sommelier associations spanning almost 60 countries. It is the world’s largest organizer of sommelier competitions, running periodical, continental and global contests. Ongoing objectives include promoting the culture of wine and bringing sommeliers together from all over the world as well as introducing and developing sommellerie in countries where it does not yet exist. The organization as a whole strives to enhance the métier of the sommelier and generate more awareness among consumers and restaurateurs alike.