Every three years, since its founding in 1969, the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale has been organizing a major event: the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest. It is a celebration of sommellerie, hard work, talent and camaraderie that brings the best professionals of more than sixty countries together to compete for the most prestigious and exclusive prize a sommelier can win: the title of Meilleur Sommelier du Monde, currently held by only fifteen people on Earth.
The competition, which is also an opportunity for learning with its many master classes, is returning to Belgium, as a tribute to its first edition, exactly fifty years ago, when Armand Melkonian from France was crowned the first ever Best Sommelier of the World in 1969, in Brussels. This time, the world’s sommellerie capital will be beautiful Antwerp, and ASI will have a remarkable opportunity to put our métier in the spotlight, to showcase the work of our global family, and to continue promoting sommellerie in every part of the world.
Will a woman finally win the title? Where will the winner come from? Will it be an established star or a surprise winner? This – and much more – is what we shall find out on the evening of March 15th, at the outcome of the contest finals, in the wonderful Elisabeth Center, in downtown Antwerp. Those who will be in Antwerp and would like to attend the finals can procure tickets at www.BestWorldSomm.com. Others will be able to follow every stage of the competition through social media, and even a live streaming of the final round through ASI’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Meanwhile, many other remarkable things are also happening. ASI’s presence in the Americas continues to grow, and in particular in the United States. Thanks to an agreement with Doug Frost MW MS, he organized a Best Sommelier of the USA championship at the beginning of the year. As a result, the country will be sending a candidate to compete in Belgium, marking the return of the United States to an ASI contest after many years of absence. Asia is on the radar too, as after months of negotiations a contract has been signed with the government of the wine region of Ningxia, as both partners of ASI and hosts of the 2020 ASI Annual Meeting in mainland China.
Through all these actions and partnerships, we continue to spread the word about sommellerie, all around the globe. As they say, a rising tide lifts all the boats…
President, Association de la Sommellerie Internationale