The modern sommelier is responsible for more than their own personal skill and mastery at the tableside arts. Today, perhaps more than ever before, being a wine professional also involves being a good educator and communicator. This means remaining perpetually curious about the people, places, trends and events in the wider sommelier community.
Membership in an ASI national association is a good first step in this direction. ASI partner SommelierS International provides yet another. Since its founding in 1990, the magazine has informed a wide audience of professionals and well-informed connoisseurs through its unique overview of the world of wine and spirits. From competitions and events to tasting dossiers and winegrower portraits, the crucial shared knowledge at the heart of modern sommellerie is laid out in French and English in each monthly issue.
If global sommellerie has a communal zeitgeist, then Sommeliers International is part of the engine helping drive that adventure. We asked SommelierS founder, Aris Allouche, for his thoughts on what defines the sommelier today.
What three skills must every sommelier possess?
SI: Every sommelier must be curious, open-minded and dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge throughout his entire career.
What attributes, for you, separate a good somm from a great one?
SI: For me a great sommelier is a sommelier who understands the needs of his guest, who is able to share his knowledge in an accessible way, and because it bears repeating, is open-minded!