Getting Beyond Glass: The Modern Faces of Alternative Packaging
Even as the sommellerie loves to honor tradition, working sommeliers spend their days (and nights!) addressing and accommodating an endless stream of new technologies. Winemaking methods, inventory, and commercial tracking systems, even the very stemware used to serve wine continue to evolve and expand.
One technology, however, has proven extremely resistant to change. We’re talking here about glass under a natural cork closure. Is it time to rethink traditional bottle and corks allegiances and consider a wider spectrum of packaging?
Manuel Negrete, ASI Silver Diploma Sommelier, Mexico
Nina Jensen, Runnerup ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019, Denmark
Tori Haysom,Sommelier, New Zealand
Bruno Scavo, ASI Silver Diploma Sommelier, Monaco
Join ASI on April 19 (3:00pm CET) via the Association de la Sommellerie’s Facebook page for a live panel discussion about Alternative Packaging, hosted by Liora Levi. In this enlightening discussion, we are exploring the science, the marketing, and the service of wine with non-traditional closures and packaging. Guests include sommeliers Manuel Negrete (Mexico), Nina Jensen (Denmark), Tori Haysom (New Zealand), Bruno Scavo (Monaco) and special guests StĆ©phane Vidal (Head of Innovation and General Manager Europe, Vinventions) and Robert Joseph (United Kingdom).
Every Bottle Better: A Talk about Alternative Closures with Stephane Vidal of Vinventions
Stephane Vidal is the Head of Innovation and General Manager Europe for Vinventions. Vinventions is the most comprehensive provider of closure solutions worldwide. Vinventions House of 7 Brands includes a portfolio of seven product and services brands designed to support the diverse requirements of still wine producers across five continents. Stephane is passionate about the wine industry and the contribution of the closure solutions to the betterment of wines.
Embracing Alternatives in Mexico: Talking with Manuel Negrete
Manuel Negrete, 29, serves on the ASI Marketing Team as social media assistant and translator of the ASI newsletter into Spanish. Manual is a Silver ASI Diploma holder (No 3098) and Certified Sommelier by the CMS-A. He was also the 2nd runner-up at the Concurso Nacional de Sommeliers 2017 (Mexico’s Best Sommelier 2017) and was awarded winner at the Master of Champagne 2018 contest in Mexico among many other distinctions. ASI asked Manuel for his view on alternative packaged wines in the restaurant setting.
On Innovation: a Talk About Alternative Packaging with Robert Joseph
Robert Joseph has never been a sommelier but he needs little introduction to somms across the globe. He founded Wine International magazine, was columnist for the Sunday Telegraph, launched the International Wine Challenge in the UK and then Asia and Russia. After selling the magazine and the IWC, he together with two partners conceived of Le Grand Noir as a French New World-style brand, helped to start Meininger’s Wine Business International and established his successful consultancy to wine regions and companies. We asked for his input, from a marketing perspective, about alternative packaging options in todays world.
Gerard Basset, ASI 2010 Best Sommelier of the World. Photo Credit: Jean Bernard
Remember When…This Month in ASI History
While April is a popular month for milestones in ASIs history, one in particular deserves special mention. It was 2010, Chile and Gerard Basset had just won the ASI World’s Best Sommelier Contest. We asked Michele Chantôme to share her memories with us.
Industry News
Alistair Morrell muses on the enduring importance of the sommelier. Photo: Sommelier Business
Promising news in the fight against cork taint. Read the article.
Wine Enthusiast podcast reviewing cork closures and alternatives. Illustration by Ellen Surrey.

Watch our previous Round Table Panel Discussions on our ASI YouTube channel.



Trapiche opens Estacion 83, the newest wine bar on the Mendoza wine route

Trapiche recently opened a wine bar called Estacion 83 in the gardens of its historical winery (founded in 1883). Built from a refurbished freight train car once used to transport the harvested grapes, Estacion 83 is docked at the Trapiche winery in Maipo, Mendoza. A list of draft wines selected by Chief Winemaker Sergio Casé smash into street-food style cuisine from chef Lucas Bustos in the idyllic open-air landscape of the olive grove by the winery’s pond.

Familia Torres

Familia Torres, looking forward

At Familia Torres, siblings Miguel and Mireia are continuing the work of four generations of their family: a dedication to quality wines and brandies while preparing for new challenges like climate change.

Miguel embodies a forward-looking legacy. Under his leadership, the family’s wines have come to represent the finest appellations of origin in Spain, all at a winery firmly committed to organic viticulture.

Mireia leads the Research Development and Investigation (RDI) efforts, including on-going studies into non-invasive methods in the vineyard, measures to adapt to climate change and natural treatments against new pests and potential threats to the vines

Chateau Laguiole

Melchior Collection: a fine addition to any sommelier’s toolbox

In a recent ASI poll, ASI asked 10 top somms from around the world what tool they rely on most. The answer was universal: the corkscrew. Chateau Laguiole, the world’s benchmark for professional corkscrews, is launching a new product line worthy of today’s sommelier: The Melchior collection. With a modern touch, a beveled handle, the Melchior announces its presence clearly and ensures an excellent grip of the sommelier knife.

MELCHIOR refers to the largest bottle of wine: 18 liters, the equivalent of twenty-four 750 ml bottles. The name is of Biblical origin: Melchior was considered the King of the Persians, one of the 3 Magi and a symbol of wisdom.


KRYSTA sets the bar for crystal stemware

It is no coincidence that Chef&Sommelier has been an ASI partner for more than 10 years! The sommelier profession is a job for enthusiasts, the type of people willing to call wine the love of their lives. The sommelier’s role, of course, is service: opening, decanting, serving, and ultimately explaining the wine. And the quality of the wine tasting experience that the sommelier can offer to his guests depends strongly on the quality of the glasses in use.

Chef&Sommelier has long offered a wide range of glasses, from timeless to ultra-modern, to ensure sommeliers have the right tools to fit their wine pairings. Yet design is not everything. Because glasses in many restaurants will be used intensively, they must also be exceptionally durable.