19 Jun 2020

A highly successful series of online ASI Gold Partner panel sessions were held on May 18 & May 25. Originally conceived as an alternative way for ASI to present its partners in light of the cancellation of ASI’s in-person events due to COVID-19, the events proved well-attended and highly popular among the sommelier community.

Several decisions were made in an attempt to reach the greatest audience possible. First, the event was split into two sessions to encourage sommeliers from time zones around the globe to participate. Second, while the events themselves were conducted using the Zoom meeting platform, they were also simulcast on the ASI’s YouTube channel as well as on Facebook to lower the hurdle to joining in.

Peer F. Holm, PR, Communication & Marketing Coordinator for ASI, served as host for both sets of sessions. The first panel, which convened on May 18, featured ASI Gold Partners Torres, Famille Perrin and Graham’s. This grouping seemed a natural fit, as all are members of the PFV (Primum Familiae Vini). Euan McKay, Commercial Director at Symington Family Estate, served as guest moderator.

The second round on May 25 featured other ASI Gold Partners: AdVini, Vinventions, Wines of Argentina and Trapiche, with Liora Levi (ASI Head of Press & Communications) joining Peer as host and moderator.

Each session was held once in the morning and once in the evening and followed an identical format: after a brief welcome by Peer, a short poll was conducted to learn where the participants were located and their role in the wine industry. The moderator then took over and asked each partner a series of questions related to various topics in wine. The sessions ended with a Q&A by Peer with questions directed to the different partners by the audience, both on Zoom and on FB.

The events were advertised across all of ASI’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As of May 26, the events had reached 63,175 people across all channels — and those numbers will continue to rise, as the events are still available online for anyone to view. ASI Partnership Director Claire Berticat expressed tremendous pleasure with the results: “This shows clearly that ASI is not just a ‘competitions organizer.’ We are much more than that: we are a real community of sommeliers around the planet.”

While there are no concrete plans at present for further events, the overall success of the project and positive feedback from partners makes it highly likely that similar events will be scheduled going forward.