Vinitaly Day 3: Italian Sommelier Association Makes Push For Greater Visibility

During Vinitaly, in addition to tasting numerous wines, one gets to hear about what is going on in the sector. Yesterday’s exciting news, certainly for me, is that the Italian Sommelier Association is looking for more exposure and more worldwide recognition.

I became a member of the association in 2004 after finishing the three levels of classes. When I was awarded that certificate I was as excited as the day I got my Masters degree.The program is very interesting and gives one a great foundation in wine and a serious focus on the wonderful panorama of Italian wines. The third level course is all about pairing wine and food with a very particular set of criterion.

The association has a new president Antonello Maietta and Italy this year is heading up the Worldwide Sommelier Association with President Franco M. Ricci. Another piece of news is the arrival of a Director of Communication Daniele Cernilli who left Gambero Rosso earlier this year after many years. This renewed team seems intent of bringing AIS to another level.

For years I have been hoping to help them teach classes in the United States. I have always found it shocking that there are French and Spain academies that do classes all over the United States and that AIS has not followed suit. The press conference led me to believe this could be a new beginning.

Some 2.5 million people have taken classes with AIS since it’s founding in 1946. It is the largest sommelier society in the world and it is certainly time for this wonderful program to be more widely available especially because Italian wines are the number one imported wines in the U.S. and often the hardest to understand for consumers because there are so many regions, grapes and wines. I am thrilled.

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