User login

ASI welcomes new members

Best Sommelier of the World 2026 host is announced

In early July, the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale held its annual general meeting in Nagoya, Japan. This event, organised by the ASI, brings together the presidents and other representatives of its member associations. The meeting reviews the activities of the past year and the plans of the board and committees for the coming year.

“We see the ASI as one big family. Our task is to provide firm leadership and help guide our member associations and sommeliers around the world to an even better future. We were delighted to see the amount of our member associations that travelled to Japan or followed the meetings via our online platform. This confirms that we are on the right track”, says William Wouters, ASI President. 

During the General Assembly, ASI further consolidated its position as the world's largest sommelier association. Three new observer member associations (Colombia, Ecuador and Vietnam) were welcomed and Kazakhstan was promoted to full member status. Concerning the new members, William Wouters said: “We were honoured this year to welcome new associations to our family, which illustrate the global diversity of the sommellerie. Sommellerie continues to evolve, adapt and become an increasingly important part of the gastronomic world”.

Gabriela Pozo, President of the Ecuadorian Sommelier Association, declared about joining the ASI family: “We have been fighting hard to be recognized in the wine world, so when we finally joined ASI, it was an incredible opportunity for all our Ecuadorian sommeliers. The values of our association is to promote wine and sommelier culture. These values align perfectly with those of the ASI. I am excited that we can share our culture and products with our colleagues and learn from ASI through its programmes such as the ASI Bootcamp, ASI Certifications and the ASI Diploma”.

Tu Le Huy, president of the Sai Gon Sommelier Association (Vietnam), agrees: “Vietnam is an emerging wine market, and there is a need for qualified sommeliers to provide thoughtful advice to customers who want make informed wine decisions. There is currently no professional sommelier training in Vietnam. The ASI certificate and diploma programmes will only bring Vietnamese sommeliers closer to the international standard”.

Then, at the General Assembly, the ASI members voted on the host of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World competition in 2026. Latvia and Portugal made strong presentations, but the member associations finally awarded the rights to Portugal in a very close vote. On the Portuguese victory, William Wouters said: “Both countries presented outstanding bids, and I am convinced that either would have made an excellent choice. As a Portuguese resident, I am personally very happy to see the food, wine and hospitality of my adopted country showcased to the world. I look forward to supporting the Associação dos Escanções de Portugal (the Portuguese Sommelier Association) in the event's planning and execution”.

Text and photos : Association de la Sommellerie Internationale