The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

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Page 17 of 124

{ education } IN 2015, THE GUILD OF SOMMELIERS Education Foundation (GSEF) expanded into two separate entities, and it would behoove you to know more about how they have decided to divide responsibility for their prestigious mission. The Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit corpora - tion, was founded in 2003 by a group of Master Sommeliers and culinary business leaders to create scholarship and enrich- ment opportunities for studying sommeliers. The most visible face of the GSEF has been, the highly success- ful membership and education arm of the organization, led by Fred Dame, MS, and Geoff Kruth, MS. has been so successful that the leadership elected in 2015 to establish it as an independent non- profit, leaving the GSEF free to focus on the philanthropic, scholarship and enrichment travel efforts. While both organizations are non-profit, GSEF, now working under the title SommFoundation, focuses specifically on charitable efforts benefiting the wine- interested public, with special focus on studying sommeliers and other wine profes - sionals. SommFoundation and guildsomm. com continue to work closely together. "We aspire to continue to be the strongest educational community in the world [regard - ing wine and beverage]," declares Jay Fletcher, Master Sommelier, Executive Director of Fine Wine for Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits–Colorado, Chairman Emeritus of the Court of Master Sommeliers–Americas and founding member of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. Fletcher is based in Aspen, Colorado, and passed the Master Sommelier exam in 1996. Jay continues as a member of the leadership of SommFoundation, serving as Cellarmaster. When asked about goals, short- and long-term, Fletcher stated, "We simply want to find funding to create opportunities that enrich the people around us. We want to improve the education and professionalism of the community, and help people achieve their dreams in this field." SommFoundation, subsidized by spon - sors and fund raising efforts, currently sends budding wine professionals on exploratory trips to wine regions both domestic and international. It is imperative that somme- liers have the opportunity to visit vineyards and wineries around the world in order to give them context, and upon returning, the stories and memories gained also provide a commonality to be able to share with guests and consumers. In addition to probative trips, SommFoundation also awards scholar - ships in order to alleviate the financial stress of obtaining accreditations and titles, providing subsidies for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory, Certified and Advanced Courses and the Master Sommelier Exam and Diploma in addi - tion to the Rudd Masters Roundtable and TexSomm. The benevolent organization also desires to expand further in this area, with plans to launch scholarship programs for other certification avenues soon. One of the best aspects of the wine industry is the mentorship and sup - portive nature of it. SommFoundation's mission is simply to aid the passionate people within this fantastic profession. As SommFoundation's media partner, The Somm Journal will be partnering with the organization on upcoming events and other opportunities. Watch these pages for the latest news and regular updates from the organization. Visit SommFoundation's website regularly to keep yourself abreast of any new scholarship or trip opportunities. See for more information. PHOTO: CREATIVEYE99 VIA THINKSTOCK { }  17 Do You Know SommFoundation? by Allyson Gorsuch

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