The final of the “Best Italian Sommelier” competition will be in Prague this year, and will be hosted by the local Italian Institute of Culture in its historic offices in the Mala Strana district. Giuseppe Vaccarini, Chairman of ASPI – the Italian association of professional sommeliers, announced the event when he arrived in the Czech capital to present his plans to institutions and the trade press. Central to the event, organised by the Italian embassy and the institute, will be the announcement of a Czech branch office of ASPI and a presentation of the figure of the sommelier. “The purpose of our permanent presence in this beautiful city will be to disseminate and enhance wine culture in the Czech Republic, initially by organising courses to train professional sommeliers and simple lovers of good quality wine,” he said at a press conference at the GastroFair Vino&Delikatesy food fair.
Vaccarini, who won the “ASI Best Sommelier in the World” competition in 1978, also pointed out that “at the moment the demand for sommeliers is much greater than the supply, which is having major effects on the employment market”. According to official figures there are 15,000 internationally accredited sommeliers representing 60 countries. The meeting was attended by the Italian ambassador, Aldo Amati, the president of the Czech Sommeliers’ Association, Ivo Dvorak, the secretary general of the Italo-Czech Chamber of Commerce, Matteo Mariani, and industry experts and operators.