2020 was, among other things, an ideal year for housekeeping. Trapped at home, we had no more excuses for avoiding the hard work of getting better organized. Marie Kondo was a hit on Netflix, and home building supply shops did raging business.
One might say ASI rode this wave as well. With our normal calendar of contests, tastings and assemblies off the table, we spent our time reviewing internal practices and standards and orienting ourselves towards the future.
The fruits of these efforts are now ready to be unveiled as “2021: The Year of the Sommelier.” We have fully revisited and revised our communications strategy to put an increased focus on education and a greater spotlight on the accomplishments of our individual member sommeliers.
Starting now, our communications channel will focus each month on a new subject related to sommellerie. These will then become the basis for our larger communication platform, which calls for our social media channels and newsletter to feature deeper, more enriched content. With the input of sommelier leaders, you can expect more profiles and previews of topics such as the Diploma process and sommeliers who successfully complete it.
February will also mark the launch of our ASI Panel discussions. These roundtable webinars, featuring top sommeliers from around the world, are conceived to speak to a broad range of audiences, from young somms hoping to learn from mentors to experienced professionals interested in staying abreast of the latest developments. First up: “The Next Generation of Sommeliers,” an exploration of how ASI sommeliers are expanding their reach beyond the restaurant door with a panel of individuals nearly too good to speak out loud. Watch our social media channels for announcements!
But our ‘housekeeping’ went well beyond communication. ASI members can also look forward to new programs, educational offerings, and exciting events. These span from the aspirational (the first Gerard Basset Lifetime Achievement Award) to the social (the soon-to-be-launched Club des Sommeliers). Our goal is to carve out a larger spot for ASI in the working lives of our member sommeliers.
One of the most impactful changes will also come in the release of our ASI standardized grids for contests and exams. These authoritative documents represent a foundational moment for ASI as we strive to set the bar of international standards for sommeliers. The new social media infrastructure under development also offers the ideal platform for sharing the hard work undertaken this past year by our Education, Diploma and Contest Committees.
Stay tuned for all the exciting developments in store for ASI in 2021: the Year of the Sommelier!