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UDSF met in Lyon

Philippe Faure-Brac re-elected before celebrating 50 years of history

Within a few hours time, the members of UDSF participated in an elective general assembly and then joined the Abbey of Collonges to celebrate the half-century of existence of the association that enables them to value and defend their passion-job.

Les membres du nouveau bureau de l’UDSF avec, de gauche à droite, Frédéric Devautour, Arnaud Fatôme, Philippe Faure-Brac, Fabrice Sommier et Antoine Woerlé.

Autumn is usually a good time to organize the annual general meeting of the members of the Union of the French Sommellerie (UDSF). But the habits are made to be changed and, this year, it is in early June that delegates from the different regional associations gathered in Lyon. A change due to the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of UDSF scheduled a few hours later. “But the current board will remain in office until next November, the end of his term,” recalled Philippe Faure-Brac, outgoing president, as a preamble.

He then quickly evoked the historical milestones justifying this meeting in June in Lyon. “It is here that on June 3, 1969 a meeting laid the foundations of what would become UDSF thanks to the local association and that of Paris uniting, joined later by that of Brittany-Loire Valley.” At the time of taking stock of nearly three years of action, the Best Sommelier of the World 1992 stressed on two specific points. “Let’s be proud to serve! The human interrelationship in our profession is something extraordinary and nothing replaces a smile, a look. But our job is also transmission and our mission is to create vocations based on exemplarity ...”

A video support ready soon

To encourage these vocations, communication is another major element. In the youth committee, Romain Iltis and Florent Martin have been working for several months in this direction. The fruit of their efforts will soon be concrete and take the form of two supports. A digital document intended for schools will present the sommellerie and will be accompanied by a film that will be finished  filming during the summer, thus visible at the beginning of the autumn. A true 26-minute short film subtitled in English, enriched with the interventions of many first-class professionals. “Our desire, then, is to support its dissemination in the regions and especially in hotel schools to allow students to understand this profession before they choose a métier.”

The communication commission also drew a positive assessment, Gisèle Marguin evoking the success of the newsletter ( sent to more than 3,500 recipients. It could gain visibility if the regional associations used it to pass on their news. In order to mobilize it a little more, Laurent Boyer succeeds Benjamin Roffet who has a lot to do by his new professional functions.

Près de 400 personnes ont participé à la soirée du cinquantième anniversaire de l’Union.

New structure for the contests

The organization of the competitions has also been discussed and deeply redifined. Though until now, Fabrice Sommier has been the contest director with faultless commitment Philippe Faure-Brac wished an evolution. “Instead of only one director we are going to designate one manager for each contest and they will all been placed under the authority of the national president. I will thus be totally committed in each competition and will not just come to give the prize to the winner. It is an important decision because of the burden and the image of the contests in the life of UDSF.”

At the end of a meeting organized in Paris in early July, the roles were thus distributed to the members of a team now enlarged. Jean-Pascal Paubert will be responsible for the contest of the Best Sommelier of France, David Biraud of the Best Young Sommelier of France and Bertrand Bijasson of the Master of Port. In addition, the responsibility for organizing the selection of the French candidates for the ASI Europe and World competitions has been given to Olivier Poussier while Serge Dubs will be in charge of the MOF (Best Craftsmen of France) Sommellerie. Finally, Eric Goettelmann is entrusted with the organization in France of the ASI certification, which also implies encouraging applications.

“It is up to each manager now to build up a small team. Knowing that I will validate the composition of each structure and that I will have a look at the definition of the workshops organized during the competitions”, concludes President Faure-Brac. Who has also entrusted each manager to look into the thorough re-examination of the rules of each competition, entirely under the responsibility of the UDSF.

Jean Bernard

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The (future) new board of UDSF

The only candidate declared for the election of the future new president, Philippe Faure-Brac was therefore re-elected for a second and last three-year term. It will take effect next November. The new board is a cocktail of old and new members. If Fabrice Sommier remains as Secretary General and Antoine Woerlé as Deputy Secretary General, Arnaud Fatôme will replace Jacques Boudin as treasurer and his deputy will be Frédéric Devautour, instead of Philippe Nusswitz.

The highlights to come

The first major meeting of the season will naturally be the events organized in Champagne for the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of Association de la Sommellerie Internationale on October 7th and 8th. One of the objectives being to constitute the biggest and most international brigade of sommeliers ever gathered in the same place.
On 20 and 21 October, in Paris, the final phase of the Master of Port is organized, hosted by Denis Verneau, Master of Port 2015 and Best Craftsman of France (MOF) Sommelier.
On 25 November, in Paris again, Olivier Poussier will welcome sommeliers (Best Sommeliers of France, Best Young Sommeliers of France and Best Craftsman of France) wishing to participate in the selection of the French candidate for the ASI competition of the Best Sommelier of Europe scheduled a year later in Cyprus.
During the first quarter of 2020, Jean-Pascal Paubert will organize the selection trials for the Best Sommelier of France competition, the final of which is scheduled to take place on November 15 during the EquipHotel trade fair.

50 years duly celebrated

In the presence of ASI president Andrés Rosberg, UDSF celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation in the lounges of the Collonges Abbey, near Lyon. Nearly 400 people were present on this occasion, sommeliers from all regions, of course, as well as the partners of the Union who had already had the opportunity to present themselves in a few words at the general meeting. “For France as for the international association, 50 years have passed but the objectives are always the same, train sommeliers and promote our profession,” Andres Rosberg said.
Philippe Faure-Brac also wished a special tribute to be paid to Gerard Basset, the most French of the British sommeliers. And therefore he invited Nina and Romané Basset to participate in this evening marked by a touch of emotion, the memory of the missing friends and the sense of feasting ...

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