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The associations of Mauritius and South Africa are joining the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale

On the occasion of the A.S.I. that took place in Bordeaux on the opening of Vinexpo (in charge of the logistics) onSunday 14th June, the associations of Mauritius Island and South Africa obtained the status of observer members.   57 countries are now part of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. Taiwan, former observer member, became active member during the same session.

Something else to particularly point out : decision was made and unanimously voted to organize the next GA in Serbia (2016) and Georgia (2018), the GA on

the odd years still being planned at Vinexpo Bordeaux.  It will allow attract the attention of the sommeliers worldwide on not so well known wine areas  and gastronomic traditions.

Before announcing the program for the next contests, the diplomas of the 2015 Certification A.S.I. Exam were presented and the dates for 2016 voted : February 29th, March 1st and 2nd.

Chile, the hosting country for the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Americas won by the Argentinean Paz Levinson in April, showed a video reminding the great moments of that excellent contest supported, among others, by Wines of Chile.

For the next continental contest – Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania – the Hong Kong association unveiled the programme from 4 to 8 November 2015. China awaits all the presidents, not only the local ones, and plans, after the competition, a visit of the vineyards in Continental China.

Regarding the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World that will take place in Mendoza, Argentina, from 15th to 20th April 2016, with the support of the local authorities, COVIAR and Wines of Argentina, it will attract around sixty candidates : those from member countries, the continental best sommeliers and invited professionals whose association has not already joined the A.S.I. The Final is planned at the mythic Teatro de la Independencia.

The dates of the Contest of the Best Sommelier of Europe 2017 in Austria were announced : from 8th to 13th May. 35 to 40 candidates should take part in this competition.

Other points were discussed as the proposal of the Union de la Sommellerie Française to organize the 2019 World championship in Bordeaux, on the week prior to Vinexpo, that would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the A.S.I. And also the idea of the World Day of the Sommelier on June 3rd, date of the foundation of the A.S.I. in 1969. “El Dia d el Sommelier” is now famous in Latin America where it has been existing for three years. So, why not in the rest of the world ?

On the eve of the GA, a welcome dinner was held at Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux, hosting the national members and the international partners of the A.S.I. in a very friendly atmosphere with, served in Chef & Sommelier glasses, the champagne Moët Impérial, the wines of Alsace, the Austrian wines, as well as bottles of Château Lagrange 2005 offered by Suntory. Of course, the coffee Grands Crus, were from Nespresso…

Next GA in June 2016 in Serbia !


We are proud to publish the two best essays written by two sommeliers that have passed the exam and obtained the I.S.A. Sommelier Award

Title of the essay

 

"Most restaurants do not employ a sommelier. Not yet. In those restaurants, manywaiters have to act as sommeliers.

Please write (400/500 words) how you could help the restaurateur discover the sommelier, the real expert for beverages and their management, and convincehim/her to engage one".

 

“Dear Peter,

 

I was in your restaurant yesterday. I must say it looks very professional, elegant, and what I love the most, the winelist is pretty long. I chose excellent bottle from Fitou. For me, it was a great evening, but there were guests in your restaurant who were unhappy with the waiter’s service. Your staff is like people in the fog.

Nowadays restaurants’ guests need sommeliers ! If you want your restaurant to be modern and popular in this city, you should engage one.

Sommeliers have more knowledge about wine and this wine list won’t be any problem for them. Today, you probably sell 10 kinds of wine. A new sommelier will sell all wines from left to right. Very important thing is food pairing. Unfortunately, I heard yesterday one waiter recommended Amarone della Valpolicella with salmon, because “he loves both” ! It’s a terrible mistake ! Sommelier’s knowledge is much bigger and your guests will be very happy when they try perfect pairings like Sauternes with blue cheese or duck breast with pinot noir. Somme pairings can make the difference and next time guests will go to your place.

What’s more ? Sommeliers are not only specialists in wine and wine and food pairings. They also perfectly sell other beverages like Cognac, Whisky, Grappa. They know more interesting things about water, tea and coffee ! So, you will earn more by selling better beverages, better water, more expensive wines and alcohols. With good, long list of wines and professional staff your restaurant will be on the top, well recognized in the city.

If you engage one sommelier, the rest of your employees will learn accurate things about wines and food pairings, or alcohols. All positive things.

If you are not sure about it, we know well each other, I can help you find a good sommelier. But first, I can work at your place during one week (without any fee). You will see how your income will increase. The most important is that your guests will be delighted with excellent wines and magnifique food pairings.

I also will help you with arrangement of the wine cellar and help to buy good wine fridges.

I wish you had the best restaurant in this city !

Regards…”

 

 

Best Sommelier around the world 2014

Simone Ragusa, Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014

After a beautiful and tough competition in Lugano, letâs celebrate the three finalists and the winner !
¨On the photo¨ : in the centre Simone Ragusa "Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014¨, on the left, RÃza Nahaboo "Vice Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014⨠and on the right, AurÃlien Blanc " 3rd finalist 2014 of TrophÃe Margaux Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre "Meilleur Sommelier de Suisse 2014" 
Within the frame of the 19th contest organized by ASSP at Hôtel Splendide Royal in Lugano, the 3 finalists and the winner are :
"Best Sommelier of Switzerland" 2014: Simone Ragusa, sommelier at Hôtel Lido Seegarten inLugano
"Vice Best Sommelier of Switzerland" 2014, RÃza Nahaboo, sommelier at Hôtel des Alpes in Orsières Â« Third finalist" 2014, AurÃlien Blanc, sommelier at Hôtel Baur au Lac in Zurich.
The winner received the TrophÃe Margaux Bel Air-Marquis dâAligre Cup, Meilleur Sommelier de Suisse 2014, offered by Paolo et Brigitta Wiicht. 
Certificates and  Bragard aprons went to the 3 successful sommeliers. 
After a preselection and a semi final with 15 candidates, the three best ones had to perform in front of an audience and demontrate their skills and knowledge throughout the tests of the final at Hôtel Splendide Royal of Lugano. 
The panel of judges, with Swiss and international experts in the vitivinicultural field,  (famous sommeliers, Ånologists, producers) conducted perfectly the tests, under the presidency of Paolo Basso, president of the technical committee. Paolo Basso is the Swiss sommelier who earned the most prestigious titles : Best Sommelier of the World 2013, Best Sommelier of Europe 2010, Best Sommelier of Switzerland 1997.

Great success for this national contest thanks to the national president Piero Tenca, responsible of the organisation, of finding sponsors. A fantastic job ensuring this noticeable achievement.


Srdjan Janjic â New Best Sommelier of Serbia

On two days, 31st October-1st November 2014, the Serbian sommelier association â SERSA- organized the 6th National sommelier competition to award the Best Sommelier of Serbia for 2014.

Competition was held in Zira hotel in Belgrade.
President of jury was Michèle Aström Chantôme (president of sommelier association of Morocco and secretary general of A.S.I.)Jury members were: Karina Tholin (pres ident of Sweden sommelier association) Annemarie Foidl (president of Austria sommelier association) and Tim Vollerslev (founder and vicepresident of Denmark sommelier association).

During the semifinal 14 candidates had to show their sommelier skills in the following disciplines :

-theoretical exam and blind tasting with written commentary
-decanting red wine 
-serving champagne

The three best candidates passed to final: Srdjan Janjic who works in Canada at Treasury Wine Estates (formerly Foster's Group), Vlada Stojanov, sommelier at Doukly restaurant, Belgrade, Serbia and certificated by International A.S.I. sommelier diploma in 2013 and Miloš Šeša, sommelier at Terasa restaurant Novi Sad, Serbia.

In the final they had 7 tasks to show thei r sommelier skills:

-    oral blind tasting of two wines and 5 spirits
-    food and wine matching
-    serving a magnum of champagne in to 24 glasses
-    decanting red wine
-    correcting a wine list
-    cigar knowledge
-    recommendation to the guest
-    surprise task given by president of jury

The best in final was Srdjan Janjic and he will represent Serbia in next A.S.I. World and European sommelier championships.

Second place : Vlada Stojanov, third : Miloš Šeša.

The competition was supported by domestic wineries and a few companies who are friends of SERSA:  Gorda Å ljivovica, Hotel Zira, Misaco Ltd., NS Promo Team, Gastromaster. Wineries who supported this competition: BaÄina, Matalj, RadovanoviÄ, Temet, Brothers RajkoviÄ, KovaÄeviÄ, AleksandroviÄ, Zvonko Bogdan, KiÅ¡, AleksiÄ, Budimir, Rubin, CiliÄ, Imperator, Belo Brdo, IvanoviÄ.




The Best Sommelier of Japan 2014

The Final of the Best Sommelier of Japan 2014 competition was held on October 16th, 2014 in the city of Fukuoka. An audience of some 700 people witnessed Hiroshi Ishida (Restaurant-I Keisuke Matsushima, Tokyo) winning the title of the Best Sommelier of Japan for the third time.
First runner-up, Akihiko Nosaka (K.O. Dining, Hong Kong), second runner-up, Makoto Iwabuchi (Château Tcc, Singapore)

This competition was also a qualifying trial for earning berth for the A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania which will be held later in 2015 in Hong Kong and both Hiroshi Ishida and Akihiko Nosaka will represent Japan.

 



Wines of Portugal - Japanese Sommelier of the Year 2014

âWines of Portugal Japanese Sommelier of the Year 2014â, first-ever co-organized competition by the Japan Sommelier Association and Wines of Portugal, the official partner of A.S.I., was held on October 7th, 2014 in Tokyo.10 semi-finalists competed in the Final in front of an audience.
The winner, Atsuhide Hoshiyama (Yakiniku-house Rengaya, Hyogo) will conduct 4 training masterclasses throughout 2015 and will participate in the one-week wine tour to Portugal wi th 4 other finalists.

 




Antoine Lehebel,  Best Sommelier of Belgium 2014-2015

On Sunday 12th  October the final of the Contest of the Best Sommelier of Belgium 2014-2015 took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Brussels, and was won by Antoine Lehebel, sommelier of Restaurant La Villa Lorraine, Uccle.
The competition was organized by the Gilde des Sommeliers de Belgique, the Club Gastronomique Prosper Montagné and the association VVS (Vereniging Vlaamse Sommeliers). 
The three finalists were : Benoît Couderé (Restaurant De Karmeliet à Brugge), Antoine Lehebel (Restaurant La Villa Lorraine, Uccle), Jasper Van Papeghem (Hostellerie Lâ Esco - Wetteren). Those three sommeliers, one French speaking, two Dutch speaking, had been selected among 11 semi-finalists, three weeks befo re. 
The final was in front of an audience, and 15 judges, national and international experts and journalists specialized in wine had to evaluate the three sommeliers through high level tests including a tasting of 3 wines and 6 spirits, lthecorrection of a wine list with errors, matching food and wine, serving a champagne, decanting a red wine, answering a question in a foreign language. 
The Gilde des Sommeliers de Belgique being the only national official association active member of the Association de Sommellerie Internationale -A.S.I.- the winner will have the opportunity of representing Belgium in the next A.S.I. Europe and World Sommeliers Contests.


Luis Antonio Morones, Best Sommelier of Mexico 2014

In septembre 2014,  the Asociación de Sommeliers Mexicanos AC (ASM),  organized for the second time the national Contest for Sommeliers, with the support  of the Four Seasons Hotel Ciudad de México. The winner was Luis Antonio Morones, Head Som melier of âThe Palmâ from the Group Presidente. Second, Crescencio González, Sommelier of âEl Desafueroâ in Puebla, and third, Steve Ayón, independent Sommelier.
The ASM has a goal : to spread the culture of wine with honesty and responsability by professionalizing the sommelierâs job and enhance the image of sommellerie.
The candidates of the contest are all profesional sommeliers with an experience of one year at least. They are also active members of the ASM. 
Letâs point out that this contest is supported by the Alianza Panamericana de Sommeliers (APAS) and the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (A.S.I.) that gathers the national associations of sommeliers around the world (55 countries including Mexico, represented by the AMS). 
The Final took place in the Grand Salon of the Four Seasons Hotel. After a written questionnaire on the history of wine, viticulture, wine making, vitivinicultural geography, the job of sommelier⦠practical tests like decanting, service of a sparkling wine, profesional tasting, correction of errors on a winelist and surprise questionsâ¦allowed the judges to decide on the final score.


Ruben Kwakman, Best Sommelier of the Netherlands 2014

On Monday 22nd September, the Dutch Association of Sommeliers (NGS) organized, in partnership with importer Wijnkooperij De Lange and the Restaurant Valuas, its biennial contest, the Henriot Trophy, to award the title of Best Sommelier of the Netherlands.
This time the NGS was the guest of Marcel and Erik Swaghoven at the Restaurant Valuas* in Venlo.
The jury consisted of: René van Heusden (head of the jury, writer and journalist for the magazine Perswijn); William Wouters (former president of the Belgian sommelier, working for Luis Pato Wines, Portugal); Cees He lder (former owner and Chef of the Restaurant Parkheuvel*** in Rotterdam); Magda van de Rijst (wine journalist and author of various books about wine); Roy Pelgrim (Master-sommelier of the Restaurant Cordial* in Oss); Bob Jurjens (sommelier of the Restaurant De Leest*** in Vaassen); Martijn Verkerk (owner of import company Wijnkoperij Smaragd Wijnen).

The participants showed their knowledge and value through four tests:

-    a tricky theoritical exam and a tasting;
-    a practical part including food and wine pairings;
-    an oral comment of two wines;
-    decanting of a great wine.

Further to these semi-finals, the three best candidatesâJob Seuren (Librije), Lotte Wolf (Pure C) and Ruben Kwakman (Parkheuvel)âhad to fulfill high-end tests and fiercely faught for the title in the finals held in front of an audience. Ruben Kwakman ranged first and will hold the title of Best Sommelier of the Netherlands for two years.

Ruben Kwakman (Restaurant Parkheuvel in Rotterdam), winner of the 2014 Henriot Trophy, receives from WOSA (Wines of South Africa) a journey to South Africa and qualifies for the preselection of the A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Word (Mendoza 2016) and/or of Europe (Vienna 2017).



Salvatore Salerno, Best Sommelier of Italy 2014

Salvatore Salerno,  Best Sommelier of Italy 2014


Salvatore Salerno, Sommelier at restaurant Joel Robuchon from Hotel Metropole in Monte-Carlo, won the prestigious title of Best Sommelier of Italy ASPI for the year 2014.The final took place in Roncegno Terme, at the l'Istituto Alberghiero e di Alta Formazione, and gathered Salvatore, as well as Daniele Arcangeli,  second, and Marco Grassi, third.
Within the frame of the contest, Daniele Arcangeli  won the very first « Birra Moretti Prize» focused on creative food and bier pairing. For this Prize, the candidates had several tests in semi-final and final. In semi-final, all the competitors had to answer questions about beer, then taste two products from the Moretti family. For each of these bie rs, they had to suggest the best food pairing. During the final, they had a surprise test : serving a Moretti Gran Cru, as in a restaurant with customers around a table. 
This Prize shows that the sommelier profession is evolving, out of the world of wine. The sommelier is now dedicated to the world of beverages.
Birra Moretti, actor of the great Italian and international history, wants to share and support this evolution, put on the front stage a beverage more and more present on our tables,  beer. 
Daniele Arcangeli, born in Viareggio, got a great experience in Italy and abroad (Principe Forte dei Marmi, Badrutt's Palace of St. Moritz, Lido Palace of Riva de Garda). He is currently Sommelier consultant for several restaurants of Tuscany.
Marco Grassi, is Sommel ier at Metro Italy. 2014 is an important year for him as he passed the prestigious A.S.I. Exam last February, thus got his A.S.I. Sommelier Diploma. This Exam is available in every association active member of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale all over the world. And ASPI is the unique Italian association recognized at the international level.
The panel of judges  was, once again, high level : Marco Larentis, President of the panel, Piero Sattanino, Best Sommelier of the World (1971), Giorgio Grai, eonologist internationally renowned, Ivan Persolja, President of the Sommeliers Association of Slovenia, with a Board member, Davorin Skarabot, Claudia Moriondo, expert in food and eonogastronomy, Giovanni Profumo, Director Confcommercio Trentino, Loredana Camin, province assessor for teaching and training, Federico Samaden, manager of the Istituti di Rovereto e di Levico Terme, Massimiliano Peterlana, restaur ateur and  President Fiepet, Giorgio Colli, specialized journalist for eonogastronomy, Nino Pappalettera, risponsable of the local ASPI coordinators  and Niccola Silini, restaurateur from Milano.
A special Thank you to the students and teachers of the Istituto Alberghiero e di Alta Formazione di Roncegno Terme for their involment and great professionalism!



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