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The UDSF convened for its general assembly in Colmar

Entourant Eric Straumann, maire de Colmar, les délégués de l'UDSF réunis à l'issue de l'assemblée générale.

Expanding, energizing, unifying

As he concluded his first year of presidency, Fabrice Sommier highlighted the areas of focus for himself, his team, and all members.

Once again, Alsace demonstrated its hospitality in welcoming delegates from various regional associations comprising the Union de la Sommellerie Française. A blend of conviviality, with an evening set in the prestigious setting of Château de Kientzheim, home to the Saint-Etienne Brotherhood, and seriousness during the conduct of the general assembly in Colmar.

Serge Dubs et Romain Iltis ont accueilli Fabrice Sommier au sein de la Confrérie Saint-Etienne.

Fabrice Sommier and his team reviewed the outcomes of their first year's work, marked by an increase in membership, support from new partners, and unifying projects.

The most innovative one, aimed at fostering connections with young sommeliers, was named the Young Somm' Festival. It will take place at Mas Neuf in Hérault, one of the domains of the AdVini group, and was conceived by the UDSF Youth Commission. Scheduled for October 20th and 21st, the national bureau will cover the transportation costs of one participant per region. “And the goal is to achieve zero cost for the students”, emphasized Fabrice Sommier after Audrey Brugière's presentation of the event.

While communication efforts yield results on social media, one element could shine a spotlight on French sommellerie. It's the competition for the ASI Best Sommelier Europe-Africa. A title that has eluded France for 24 years, and the entire team, led by David Biraud, is working to prepare Pascaline Lepeltier under optimal conditions. To the extent of organizing a trip to Belgrade to scout locations and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Serbian capital.

 Florian Balzeau, Bertrand Bijasson, Frédéric Voné, Georges Gracia et Florent Martin.

A Champagne blend and an exhibition

In the spirit of bringing together various stakeholders in the wine world, Fabrice Sommier mentioned an informal rapprochement with the Fédération des cavistes indépendants (Federation of Independent Wine Merchants), whose Cyril Coniglio, a sommelier by training and current president, was present in Alsace. "Sommeliers and wine merchants share a common core: wine and all other beverages. In fact, many wine merchants come from sommelier training programs. However, we are not considering merging but rather meeting occasionally as we have done with oenologists and as is also the case with bartenders," emphasized the president of UDSF.

Finally, a few projects were discussed. One took shape with the work of five young sommeliers, accompanied by Xavier Thuizat, to create a blend of Champagne with Philipponnat. A blend to be unveiled in two years under the name Transmission.

Two others are yet to be realized: the creation of a booklet presenting the service of Japanese sake and the organization of an exhibition scheduled for 2026 to showcase all aspects of the sommelier profession.

By then, the UDSF will have gathered twice. In November of this year in Lyon for a board meeting associated with the 60th anniversary of the regional association and in spring 2025 in Champagne for the annual general assembly.

Text and photos : Jérémy Martin