ASI BOOTCAMP in Warsaw is a resounding success 




When William Wouters won the presidency of the Association de la Sommellerie (ASI) in November, 2020 he did so on a promise of change. According to Wouters “I think all of us involved in the first ever ASI BOOTCAMP in Poland wrote a milestone in ASI history. With the new administration we proposed the idea during our campaign, and we made ASI move from a competition driven association to one that supports sommelier education.  It was an idea that didn’t seem possible, but at once became reality because of a lot of goodwill from a lot of people… our national presidents that supported the idea, the attendees, the tutors, our ASI partners, the ASI team that executed the idea and of course, our host the Polish Sommelier Association.”







Discover Portugal: home to more than 250 indigenous varietals


Portugal has over 250 native grape varieties to explore, along with an incredible array of clones within each of these varieties. It’s this very diversity that positions Portugal well for future climate changes and a consumer more interested in exploring new varietals. We asked Dirceu Vianna Junior, the first South American male to obtain the title of Master of Wine title (2008), and recipient of the Viña Errazuriz Award for excellence for the Business of Wine paper, for his thoughts on Portugal’s native varietals. After three decades of experience of different sectors of the Wine Industry, he founded Vianna Wine Resources, a company that consults for wine businesses across Europe, Africa and South America. He is also a wine judge, educator, writer, and regular speaker at wine events around the world.







Isa Bal MS: on incorporating indigenous varietals into the wine program


Isa Bal needs few introductions as a sommelier. He has a more than 20-year career as a sommelier, notably winning the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe title in 2008 and holding the position of Head Sommelier for The Fat Duck Group for more than twelve years. In 2009 Isa passed the Master Sommelier exam. He is a highly respected member of the international sommelier community. We asked Isa for his thoughts about the rise of indigenous varietals and how sommeliers can present them in their wine programs.







A Return to Our Roots: ancestral and indigenous varietals


Today one is just as likely to hear tableside banter between sommelier and guests on the likes of Xinomavro, Xinestri and Baga as one is Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Climate change and pressures on sustainable farming are but a few of the reasons leading producers to return to their varietal roots. Join ASI Experience Manager Liora Levi on October 11th at 3:00 CET, along with special guests Dr José Vouillamoz (renowned ampelographer), Mark Squires (, Robert Parker: Wine Advocate), Arianna Occhipinti (winemaker/owner, Agricola Occhipinti) Isa Bal MS (former winner of the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe contest) and representing Wines of Portugal Dirceu Vianna Junior, a Brazilian-born Master of Wine and owner of his own consultancy firm. Liora and guests will explore the renaissance of these varietals and discuss how sommeliers can best communicate about them to their guests.


About Mark Squires

Mark Squires covers a wide range of lesser-known wine countries for including Portugal (except Madeira), Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, the Middle East, Denmark, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Albania, Russia, Canada and US regions excluding the West Coast.  Circa 1980 Squires was an attorney in Philadelphia. By the end of 1980s, he was teaching wine classes. By the mid-90s writing a wine blog, and finally began writing for in 2001. Squires is an advocate of unique indigenous varieties grown in the nooks and crannies of the wine world.





Photo Sedrik Nemeth

About Dr José Vouillamoz

Dr José Vouillamoz is one of the world’s leading authorities on the origin and parentage of grape varieties through DNA profiling. Swiss grape geneticist of international fame, trained with Prof Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis (USA), he’s the co-author with the two Masters of Wine Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding of the multi-award winning book Wine Grapes (Allen Lane, 2012), the ultimate reference on all the grape varieties that are cultivated in the world. He is also author and co-author of several scientific papers and grape books.





About Arianna Occhipinti


Arianna Occhipinti was born in Marsala; her story in the vineyards began in 2004, when, having finished her studies of Viticulture and Oenology in Milan, she decides to return to Sicily, starting to work a hectare of vineyard. Today the company has about 28 hectares, in the territory of Vittoria and Chiaramonte Gulfi and Arianna spends his day between farming in the vineyard, production in the cellar and the telling of her wines, which she loves and defines as witnesses of the land in which she lives.
“I love the grapes of these places, Frappato and Nero d’Avola. I feel myself in their expression, in being harmonic and unequal. I love the strength of the know-how to bring in the past and the future at the same time”






Remember When

In October at ASI…


And the magic of Kyoto worked… Shinya Tasaki had warned us. We were going to fall under the spell of this ancient capital of Japan, especially in October, the ideal month to visit the city, it seems. The Japan Sommelier Association welcomed the 24 candidates for the title of Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania 2018 but also the presidents of various ASI member countries, the Technical Committee and the Board in the mythical Okura Hotel. Some nice surprises were waiting for us…







In Case You Missed It


In last month’s roundtable discussion, we explored the digital influence in the wine world with guest’s Anaïs Égré, Directrice Marketing & Communication of Vinexposium, Hendrik Thoma MS, Amber Lebeau of Virtual Wine Events and Pauline Vicard of ARENI Global, a wine think tank.






Member News


Sad news from Ireland… RIP Andy!

Andy O’Gorman, a pillar of Irish sommellerie, appreciated by all at ASI, has just left us, victim of cancer…










Vincent Ridon and Philippe Faure-Brac Win 2021 OIV Awards

ASI would like to congratulation Jacques Orhon for being recognized for his book “Les Fruits de l’exil”, Jean-Vincent Ridon for his contribution titled “Passion for Pairing” and 1992 ASI Best Sommelier of the World Philippe Faure Brac for “Accords Vins & Mets.”



Suvad Zlatic is Austria’s New National Sommelier Champion!

In 2014, Suvad Zlatic became Best Sommelier of Austria after a tough competition. On September 14th, the Tyrolean reclaimed the coveted title and will represent Austria at both the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa contest scheduled for November 2021 in Cyprus and the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest in Paris, France in 2023.






Wikus Human is the Best Sommelier of South Africa

On September 15th, The South African Sommeliers Association announced Wikus Human as the Best Sommelier in South Africa, taking top honours competing against finalists Jean Vincent Ridon and Laurie Cooper.








Kirsi Seppänen is Finland’s Best Sommelier of 2021

On September 6th, Kirsi Seppänen from Tampere’s Restaurant Bertha won the Best Sommelier of Finland 2021 competition. In the final competition, Antero Niemiaho from Restaurant Vinnkel in Helsinki took second place and Juulia Eloranta from Restaurant C in Tampere came third.







Ukraine Crowns Maryna Revkova as its Best Sommelier of 2021

On September 5th, Ukraine crowned Maryna Revkova as its best sommelier. Revkova will be representing the Ukraine at the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa contest in Cyprus, this November.








Ellen Franzén Wins Nordic Sommelier Championship

The Nordic Sommelier Championship, 2021 Reykjavík, came to a grand conclusion on Sunday, September 26th after two days of intense competition. As is custom, two candidates from each of the Nordic countries, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were tested on their knowledge, blind-tasting and practical skills in a variety of challenges. After the first round of competition on Saturday, six semi-finalists went on for another round on Sunday morning.





35 candidates competing for ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa contest in Cyprus

35 candidates from Albania to Zimbabwe will be competing at the Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa contest in Cyprus next month. The diverse nature of the contestants reflects the spread of sommellerie to all corners of the globe. Follow ASI’s social media platforms to learn more about the contestants and upcoming contest, November 15th to 19th in Limassol.









Industry News



How to Taste the Fermentation Vessel in Your Wine

With the rising use of eggs, amphora, concrete tanks and larger oak vessels savvy sommeliers need to understand how the fermentation vessel translates to the glass.









The Sommelier Shift

As restaurants reopen across the country, Wine & Spirits magazine explore how sommeliers are adapting to the new normal.











Among World’s Best Vineyards to visit


Trapiche has been selected among the World´s Best Vineyards 2021 Top 50 ranking in the #18 position by a prestigious voting academy made up of over 500 leading wine experts, sommeliers, and travel correspondents from across the globe. The Top 50 list is published by William Reed Media



New Lys Exaltation Sparkling Wine Glass

The benefits of Chef&Sommelier’s new Lys Exaltation sparkling wine glass are well known. Chef&SommelierTM has tried it on Awa Saké during a Masterclass with journalists, and it works!

An innovative effervescence treatment on the stemglass, (patent pending), creates a very beautiful visual effect, with an important ballet of bubbles. The convection currents generated by the bubbles allow, as observed by the Reims Institute supported by Ligier Belair on Champagne or any type of sparkling wine, to continuously stir the body of the liquid, thus picking up subtle aromas.





Les Chorégies 2016, a new masterpiece for Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes

Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes, jewel of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation since 1880, reveals a new cuvée in 2021, « Les Chorégies » 2016.
“Les Chorégies” is a tribute to the soul of Châteauneuf du Pape terroir, encapsulated in its purest form by Edouard Guérin, technical director at Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes

According to him, great wines are not made in the cellar but in the vineyard, with living soils and great terroirs; therefore the “Les Chorégies” cuvée is only made in the best years of the appellation and with the oldest Grenache and Syrah vines selected from the best plots for their quality. Harvested as late as possible to                                                                                           achieve a perfect balance between maturity, complexity, and elegance.