The ASI Diploma exams were successfully held on March 2, 2020. Fourteen different national sommelier organizations administered the exams to 76 candidates in all, including both a written exam and oral/practical tests. This represented a 12% year-on-year rise in candidates compared with the 68 candidates from 2019.
The Diploma program establishes international standards that promote greater quality and professionalism in the quality of sommelier work worldwide. Applicants must be working sommeliers (in restaurants, wine bars, wine retail, distribution, etc), with at least 4 years of sommelier experience. The basic plan for the exam was originally approved by the ASI Board in 2002, during the presidency of Giuseppe Vaccarini, but was not implemented until a decade later.
Vaccarini, who currently chairs the Diploma committee, believes that the exam represents an attractive qualification for individual sommeliers: “It is clear that the ASI Diploma, especially for young people, offers not just the personal gratification of obtaining it, but also can be used in the workplace to promote career advancement, to obtain roles of greater responsibility and adequate remuneration.” He is joined on the Diploma committee by Coordinator Michèle Aström Chantôme (Morocco), Saiko Tamura Soga (Japan), Edwin Raben (Netherlands) and Jean-Vincent Ridon (South Africa), as well as logistics advisor Alberto Merico (Italy).
Due to travel restrictions related to the Coronavirus, the committee has not yet been able to meet to review the March 2020 exams. Negotiations are underway on replacement dates, although there is hope the process will not be significantly behind schedule. After all, the results of the 2019 exam were not announced until May 2019.