Jessica Wood at the ASI Malaysia Sommelier Bootcamp

  • Celia Hay

Photo credit: ASI Sommelier Association; @somlaymalaysia

1. What surprised you most about the ASI Malaysia Sommelier Bootcamp?

The scope and variety of masterclasses covered in just three days, as well as the number of high-profile wine professionals, Master Sommeliers, and Best Sommelier competition winners from around the world who led our seminars and tasting sessions.

It was fantastic to have the time to ask them further questions outside the masterclasses, such as at dinner or over a glass of wine at the tasting events.

There was an enormous opportunity for networking with other sommeliers and wine professionals despite the tightly-timed ‘Bootcamp’ schedule which was fantastic and I came away with lasting friendships and connections.

The level of detail in the planning and preparation of the Bootcamp by the ASI and Association Committees is second to none and enhanced my experience without a doubt.

2. What session/s did you find the most insightful/valuable to you on a personal level?

The seminar given by Marc Almert on competition preparation was a definite highlight, he provided some excellent advice and inspirational stories.

I really gained a lot from the region-specific seminars, particularly the flight of Californian Pinot Noirs with Evan Goldstein MS, appellations of Southern Rhone with Florian Garrigues of Famille Perrin, and all things Sake with Sean Ou DipWSET.

The practicals on blind tasting with rotating tutors, and wine service for competition with Marc Almert and Sören Polonius were enormously helpful - even though we do this every day at work, the competition setting carries great pressure!

Lastly, it’s not often one gets the chance to taste five decades of Vintage Port, and it was wonderful to discover the Wines of Moldova with Robert Joseph and the passionate Diana Lazar. Really I should just say them all!

3. How will you apply the ASI Malaysia Sommelier Bootcamp experience to advance your own career?

In particular, I plan to utilize the knowledge gained for further study and future competitions, the most immediate being the CMS Advanced Certificate in August 2023, as well as apply best practice within my role as a sommelier.

I have further ideas for wider reading around the world of wine, and most importantly a new global network of sommelier friends which I know I will meet again at some point in our careers.

Bootcamp has really inspired me that it is achievable to pursue my sommelier career to the very top - MS and/or MW are definitely on the cards!

Thank you to ASI Association of Sommeliers International, New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals and the Sommelier Association of Malaysia for this outstanding and rewarding experience.

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