As part of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2019, the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI), the world’s foremost organization of accredited sommelier groups, has announced that for the first time the United States will be part of its global Best Sommelier in the World competition, and will hold a national qualifying round in Kansas City this coming February to pick a U.S representative to go to the global competition finals being held the following month in Antwerp, Belgium.
ASI, founded in 1969 in Reims, France, is a global network of national sommelier organizations and has approximately 30,000 individual members spread over 60 member groups in as many countries around the world. Along with its mission of supporting national member organizations by encouraging standardized global practices and professional guidelines for sommeliers while fostering the formation of new member groups in countries not already with affiliates, ASI also encourages growth through enhancing the sommelier profession with its educational programs such as the ASI Sommelier Certificate program, educating consumers on sommelier best practices, and promoting the sommelier profession overall to a global audience.
With this U.S. competition, judged by a panel of expert judges including Evan Goldstein, M.S., and led by Doug Frost, M.S., M.W., ASI will be starting a dialogue with the U.S. sommelier community and hopes ultimately to pair with an organization here to offer membership and access to its network and programs.
“ASI is a big organization with a wide reach,” says ASI President Andres Rosberg who is based in Argentina, adding “and the one country we do have not an affiliation with is the United States. Given the number of sommeliers working in the U.S., we feel the time is right to do so, and next year’s Best Sommelier in the World competition is the perfect way to draw attention to ASI and officially bring America’s somms into the mix.”
“Officially” is key here, since American sommeliers have been competing for a number of years in ASI’s Best Sommelier program, but with no officially sanctioned event here, have been doing so by entering competitions in other countries to get access to the competition.
One such competitor is reigning World’s Best Sommelier Arvid Rosengren, Partner & Wine Director at Legacy Records in New York City. Rosengren, a native of Sweden, won the competition in 2016 on his second attempt after competing in his home country’s qualifying event, and it’s been a life-changer for him. “Since winning World’s Best, I have gotten a ton of requests for business around the world,” he says. “I was Best Sommelier of Sweden in 2010, and Best Sommelier of Europe in 2013 and now World’s Best. It adds more relevancy to my career.” Rosengren also holds the Sommelier Diploma from ASI.
For further information on the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale and its programs, or to find details on its Best Sommelier in the World competition, go to www.asi.info