ASI General Assembly, Monaco 2024

  • Celia Hay

ASI Association of Sommeliers General Assembly 2024 was hosted by the Monaco Sommelier Association at Le Meriden, Monte-Carlo.

Over three full days of conference, debates and strategy, balanced by socialising with the 60+ member countries of ASI. 

There was a vote on allowing competitors to use their mother-tongue (French, English, Spanish) in the competitions from 2027, however they will have marks deducted as a penalty for not doing the competition in a second language. We are waiting to see the detail around this vote.  The ASI Code of Ethics was ratified. Read more here. 

Running a non-profit organisation with volunteers, across multiple countries, languages and time zones is not easy. We are however, united in our shared sense of hospitality and conviviality. Once the conference doors were closed, warmth and generosity, underpinned by a shared inclination to taste fine wines and eat fabulous food triumphed.

Vietnam welcomed as ASI Member

 L-R Nikita Filippov from Kazakhstan, Jae Youn from Korea, Sarah Andrew from Australia, Saiko Tamura-Soga from Japan, Vice President Asia Pacific,  Celia Hay, Howard Hao-Chun Hsia from Taiwan and  Tu Le Huy from Vietnam.

The Asia-Pacific region welcomed Vietnam as a new and dynamic member. With a history as a former French colony, Vietnam has an established wine culture and comfortably sits within the sommelier world and with much to offer.

Prince Albert attends opening reception

Prince Albert is an active member of the Association Monegasque des Sommeliers and we were excited to have him join the reception.

Members of ASI Association of Sommeliers International. Seated in the front row is the board of ASI led by President William Wouters and Beata Vinkova as Secretary General.

Visiting Monaco

And, Monaco is something else. Hospitality is central to its economy with over 7 million tourists each year, serviced by a population that mostly lives nearby in France; Nice is 13 km away with 16 km to the Italian border.

Given our host's intrinsic sense of hospitality, gastronomic meals paired with outstanding wines, sake and spirits, refined tastes and sensibilities, it would be difficult not to have fun and even a cultural trip to Monte-Carlo’s famed casino was on the itinerary.

For the non-gamblers like me, the trip to the Monte-Carlo Casino, at midnight, was an adventure.

We were all issued with a complementary chip to get us on our gambling way and fortunately, my colleague Howard Hao-Chun Hsia from Taiwan, provided expertise on what to do. So, a small group of us invested in him, giving Howard our chips. He looked around tables and opted for CRAPS. Within 30 minutes, Howard had won our syndicate E1600! 

Many thanks to our hosts in Monaco and ASI for a superb few days in a breath-taking location.

The Prince's Palace, Monaco.

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