International Sommelier Summit in Montréal
The list of participants reads like the Who’s Who of the international sommelier scene…
From 25–29 November, top sommeliers from all over the world will converge upon the city of Montréal in Quebec. Because what they can look forward to there over the course of the summit-conference ‘Somm360’ is most certainly worth a visit to Canada: sophisticated and professionally-focused tastings, educational tastings with experts from various wine regions throughout the world, in-depth workshops, on-stage training… Simply everything that a sommelier might need in order to delight his/her guests with something out of the ordinary, and satisfy them with articulate and detailed information.
Pier-Alexis Soulière MS, Best Sommelier of the Americas 2018, works as sommelier at the renowned restaurant La Chronique in Montreal. ©SOMM360
Pier-Alexis Soulière MS: “I constantly try to push the limits of my knowledge, to better serve my customers and for the pure pleasure of learning and surpassing myself. I believe that sustained and intensive training in competition is one of the keys to success.”
Event organiser Vincent Lafortune knows full well that active sommeliers have little free time available for continuing education, and that sommeliers who enter competitions quite often do so without any support network. It was precisely in response to these circumstances that Somm360 was conceived – and one might say, tailor-made. The summit conference in Montréal, held for the first time this year, consists of three parts:
1. The Congress
From 25–27 November, some 300 people will be able to participate in a wide range of event modules focussed on continuing education: to deepen their knowledge in tasting sessions, to refresh their knowledge at the presentations and to perfect their professional skills with practical training sessions. Participants will attend a master class devoted to saké, a tasting of Rhône wines, an exchange of experiences with the wine director of the restaurant Mugaritz in the Basque country, a tasting of white Bordeaux, an Austrian master class, a blind tasting of wines from Portugal – and much more. In addition to active sommeliers, others who work in the wine & spirits trade or in the specialised press can also participate in the congress.
It costs $399(CAN) to attend this three-day event if you buy your ticket at the box office. Tickets purchased in advance are far less costly – $199(CAN). The complete program can be seen at somm360.com/schedule
2. Boot camp
Twenty-two top sommeliers from a total of twenty countries have been granted a scholarship to attend the conference. In addition to Pier-Alexis Soulière MS, the reigning European champion Raimonds Tomsons(Latvia) is also included, as well as the USA’s Pascaline Lepeltier (originally from France, where she just won the Best Sommelier in France award at the Union de la Somellerie). Julie Dupouy from Ireland, Piotr Pietras from Poland, Mexico’s Luis Morones, Reeze Choi from China and Iulia Scavo from Romania will be also on hand, to list only a few. Not only will you be able to attend all of the educational events at the congress without additional cost, but you will also be able to attend special training sessions presented by the world’s most renowned sommeliers. These training sessions will provide an exceptional opportunity for young sommeliers who plan to test their skills at national and international competitions, or to prepare for MS (Master Sommelier) or MW (Master of Wine) exams. Many will compete at the Sommelier World Championships in Antwerp next March. The full list of scholarship holders can be found here: somm360.com/whatprogram
Carl Villeneuve-Lepage, Best Sommelier of Canada 2017, is one of twenty-two selected candidates who have received a scholarship. He is the head sommelier at the prestigious Montreal restaurant Toqué. ©SOMM360
Carl Villeneuve-Lepage: “I have always thrived on competition. For my customers, I try to make wines attractive and accessible with clear explanations and I try to transmit my passion. Challenges are what nourishes me and what pushes me to improve constantly. I love studying and I can’t wait to acquire new tools at SOMM360’s Boot Camp.”
Sommeliers wishing to apply for sponsorship to the next session of Somm360 can now subscribe to the waiting list on the website.
3. The Wine Experience
On Thursday 29 November, the grand finale will take place in form of an interactive wine tasting. At the same time, the best boot camp sommeliers will undergo various tests of skill, performing for the audience. Attending this event is exciting for prospective sommeliers, wine industry experts and private wine lovers because it simultaneously provides insights into active work techniques and enjoyment of wine at the highest level. Cost of participation is $250(CAN).
Tickets can be purchased online at somm360.com.
From 25–29 November 2018, the educational & networking event Somm360 will take place for the first time in Montréal. It is presented by a non-profit organisation, its objective to support and assist sommeliers from all over the world as they pursue various types of accreditation (MS, MW or WSET). Creator and founder of the event is the Canadian
Vincent Lafortune, who, as a former sommelier himself, participated in competitions and thus is acquainted with the needs of sommeliers. He is publisher of the magazine Un Monde Exquis, and has organised Somm360 in collaboration with Canadian wine event promoter Emilie Althot-Robitaille and the native Austrian, currently Canadian
PR-pro Stephanie Artner.
This event can take place thanks to the support of leading wine industry promotional organisations and businesses:
- Major Partners: Rhône Valley Vineyards, Wines of Portugal, Air Canada, Desjardins, Cossette
- Masterclass Partners: Austrian Wine, Wine Australia, Bordeaux Wine Council, Château de Beaucastel, Les Domaines Paul Mas, Alto Moncayo
- Collaborating Partners: Coravin, VDP.Die Prädikatsweingüter, Le St-Sulpice Hôtel Montréal, Expert´Ease, Tessier Services d´Exposition, Premium Estates of Austria, Domaine Queylus, Breville, Eska, Laurier du Vallon, Cacao Barry, Vinum Design, DOCa Rioja