Somm360 designed ‘to help’, says founder as congress finishes

“If I were to describe my single main intention for Somm360, it would be ‘to help’”, said Vincent Lafortune, founder of the sommelier-focused congress, which finished yesterday.

Vincent Lafortune, founder of the sommelier-focused summit

Lafortune made the comment during a discussion with the drinks business on the eve of the Somm360 summit, which ran from Sunday to Tuesday this week in Montreal, and attracted as many as 300 people in the hospitality trade, with around 25% of these attendees from beyond Canada’s borders.

Speaking during the last day of the summit, he clarified his aims for the event, which comprised a mixture of presentations and tastings from sponsors and high-profile sommeliers, along with key figures in the wine industry.

“Why Somm360?” be began, “Well, it has five goals over two specific fields of action: and the first one is to host programmes specifically developed for sommeliers to help them maintain high standards,” he stated, echoing his previous remark.

But he also explained that the event was conceived to ensure “the integration of sommeliers in all regions and urban centres… to be inclusive”.

While he said that his third intention was to organise “several annual events designed to help sommeliers network, and share, and continue to learn,” he acknowledged that these were designed to be complementary to existing training programmes.

As for his fourth aim, that is to “increase the number and the calibre of candidates wishing to partake in competitions,” and finally, he said that Somm360 was set up to “provide support to our participants in preparation for special sommelier competitions organised by ASI and its members,” referring to The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale, and its Best World Sommelier award.

Concluding, he said that “The power of Somm360 is to have you all here, it is not about me or my team, you are Somm360.”

As previously reported by db, The Somm360 congress was held at Le Grand Quai in Montreal’s Old Port, and designed to help sommeliers obtain the MS (Master Sommelier), MW (Master of Wine) or WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) certifications.

The complete programme can be viewed below / over the following pages.

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