As I write these words, many parts of the world are beginning to re-emerge and re-open after their coronavirus lockdowns. Others are still battened down and waiting for the storm to pass.
Many of us are likely to remember this difficult spring of 2020 for the challenges to health, livelihood and community that we have faced individually and collectively. But there is more to the story than that. We have also witnessed everyday heroism, remarkable shows of societal solidarity and tremendous civic responsibility.
For us at ASI, part of our collective memory of this period should focus on the innovative solutions and clever answers that we devised to grow closer together despite ‘social distancing’. In a period where the normal elements of our work — tableside service for guests… tables and guests at all — has been made impossible, I couldn’t be more proud of how ASI, its individual members and its partners have found ways to educate, inspire and connect.
Social media has been the unlikely tool for maintaining and even growing community bonds. As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, numerous ASI member organizations have offered online classes in the past month to keep their members sharp and fresh. It takes a lot of work to prepare and set up even one of those sessions, so my hat goes off to the organizers.
Our individual sommelier members have been no less visible in their use of social media to spread stories of hope. The inspiration from their daily battles — against the virus, against despondency at the economic situation, against the inherent depression of isolation — are a brilliant antidote for the remoteness that goes with flattening the curve.
Finally, I’d like to mention our partners, who have also stepped up remarkably to the challenge. The upcoming virtual master classes are precisely in the spirit of building stronger ties between our working members and the larger world of wine.
These are all active ways we are working to make the world better and sunnier for the long-term.
Until we all can toast again in person: I wish you all a virtual Santé!