Remember July 2014 in Champagne. It was the 45th anniversary of the ASI, celebrated at Les Crayères in Reims and the holding of an Extraordinary General Assembly to revise our by-laws. In addition, during the two previous days, July 3 & 4, all the Best Sommeliers of the World, along with some other influential sommeliers from various parts of the world, met to reflect on the status of sommelier and the place of sommellerie in the 21st century. Michèle Chantôme participated in this seminar. She recounts:
“At that time, Moët & Chandon was running the ASI World’s Best Sommeliers Club and had asked for a coach to channel and optimize these meetings. Nespresso and SanPellegrino/Acqua Panna, a historical partner of ASI, also supported the process.
It is particularly important to mention this event at a time when ASI is creating the Club des Sommeliers. The Best Sommeliers of the World will be members by right, but also the winners of the continental contests and the ASI graduates. In short, the elite of the world’s sommellerie. 365 sommeliers representing 35 countries.
Here are the themes that were proposed to us for reflection:
– Our mission: who are we? Why do we exist?
– Our vision for the future: what do we want to accomplish in the years to come?
– Our strategic challenges: what do we need to do to meet our mission and objectives?
Then, in sub-groups, a brainstorming session allowed us to discuss the challenges of our strategic mission before presenting all these issues in a plenary session.
Action plans came out of these meetings and were presented by the different brainstorming groups while other points were studied:
– Impact of competitions to be better restaurant wine list managers
– Price positioning for wines served in restaurants
– How to structure a wine list
– Evolution of food and wine pairing
– Luxury restaurant experiences
– Interior design of restaurants and hotels
– Which glasses to use to enjoy champagne?
A very rich program that allowed the emergence of some original ideas (and sometimes difficult to achieve, even unfeasible in 2021!) to promote the profession of sommelier. Judge for yourself! Erecting a statue of a sommelier or a stele engraved with the ASI logo at the top of Everest, or why not on the moon or on Mars… But also an exceptional dinner for the great leaders of the world, during a G7, G20 or other event, prepared by starred chefs, with the food and wine pairings developed with the Best Sommeliers of the World, and with the drinks served by the MSM themselves… Or simply special cuvées made, for example, for a champagne or another wine, a spirit, a liqueur… stamped by the club or/and the ASI…
I must add that we were welcomed by Moët & Chandon first at Trianon for our work and that these two days placed under the sign of sommellerie and gastronomy (exceptional participation of Yannick Alléno) were concluded at the Château de Saran around a birthday cake after many tastings and a superb lunch. ASI was celebrating its 45th anniversary. That was seven years ago.
Why not take up some of the points of this program? Food for thoughts! These topics are timeless.