Shinya Tasaki, a spotlight on the sommelier profession

Shinya Tasaki is the best sommelier of the world 1995. He is also the president of the “Association de la Sommellerie Internationale”.  He is a key player in the japenese wine industry with a French restaurant, a wine bar and a school for sommeliers in Japan.  

How many countries are part of the International Sommelier Association?
Shinya Tasaki : Our association was founded in France in 1969, today it counts 56 member countries, 30 of which are European, but there are also a lot of members throughout the Americas and Asia. The ASI is an international association, which makes it the most important association for the sommelier profession in the world.

Is the role sommeliers play in the restaurant business becoming increasingly important?
Shinya Tasaki : Oh yes, and this is particularly true in France, but also in Japan where our national sommelier association counts more than 10 000 members. Today the sommelier profession is a very dynamic one, this can be observed the world over, be it in New Zealand, in Australia, in Asia, in China, in Korea, or Singapore, where the sommelier associations are very active.

Today Hiroshi Ishida has won the Best Sommelier of Asia and Oceania competition, how do you feel about that?
Shinya Tasaki : I’m the President of ASI, but I’m also a Japanese and I’m very happy for Ishida San. He has already won the third place at the Best Sommelier of the World Competition in Montreal and it was obvious that he was aiming at representing his country at the upcoming Championships in Mendoza, Argentina in 2016.

According to you, what is the role Vinexpo plays in regards to the International Sommelier Association?
Shinya Tasaki : For us sommeliers, Vinexpo remains one of the most important exhibitions in all regards, be it communication, education or encounters, Vinexpo is where everything happens. It is important for the sommeliers from all over the world to participate in Vinexpo.