Friday, April 1, 2011

The Real Deal in Chile: A Guild of Sommeliers and Wines of Chile Production

I recently received an invitation from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Trust to attend a Wines of Chile tasting which will be held in Ft. Lauderdale on April 26th.  I had attended one of this organization's tastings late last year and had found it both educational and enjoyable.  I signed up for the upcoming tasting and then sought out my favorite Master Sommelier Andrew McNamara to get some insight into the Guild and the Wines of Chile event.

According to Andrew, the Guild of Sommeliers is a non-profit organization which was founded in 2003 and has as its mission the promotion and development of the wine profession and the individuals involved therein.  Sommeliers are not highly paid but the informational and educational burdens which they face are immense.  The Guild seeks to lessen these burdens by providing sommeliers with access to resources  such as trips, classroom activities and scholarships.  The guild has approximately 3100 members and measures success by membership and donation growth.

The Guild is currently headed by Fred Dame, Master Sommelier, who is also its founder.  Fred is supported in his activities by a Board of Directors (of which Andrew is a member) comprised of Master Sommeliers and non-MS members of the Wine and Spirits industry.  The Guild has some paid employees but the majority of the work done by Master Sommeliers in support of its activities is done gratis.  Andrew, for example, knows the level of effort required to gain the knowledge required for qualifications.  He is grateful for what he has accomplished and wants to give back and contribute to the goal-attainment activities of aspiring sommeliers.

In 2010 the Guild held over 18 tasting seminars to include Wines of Germany, Wines of New Zealand, and Wines of Bordeaux.  In 2011 they will be cutting back on these centralized seminar-type tastings and instead will seek to service members where they are.  The Guild will create podcasts and will send out wines to support small-group, podcast-driven tasting events.

The upcoming April 26th tasting has the Guild partnering with Wines of Chile to present an event titled The Real Deal in Chile.  The event will be held at Morton's Steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale and will feature a two-flight tasting of Chile's "Undiscovered Gems" and "Icons then and now."  The tastings will be led by Fred Dexheimer, Master Sommelier and Wines of Chile Educator.  One of the exciting aspects of this tasting is the opportunity to taste aged Chilean wines and then compare them with current vintages.

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