The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

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Page 42 of 148

42 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 { education } Dear The Somm Journal Community, My name is Jay James, and I am honored to serve as Chairman of SommFoundation, known officially as The Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. Now in our fourteenth year, SommFoundation exists to aid sommeliers and other wine professionals with educa - tion efforts. The Somm Journal has graciously offered to assist with our mission, and we are most grateful for our partnership. Future issues will introduce the SommFoundation lead- ership, along with information about our programs and benefits. Some of the recipients of scholarships, enrichment trips and other experiences will tell you their stories here as well. SommFoundation raises funding and cultivates sponsors for four specific areas of bene - fit: scholarships, enrichment travel, education experiences and the SommFoundation cellar. A number of different scholarship programs are currently available, with more being planned constantly. Scholarships are awarded on varied criteria. For example, some are need-based, while other programs may be merit-based. Scholarship sponsors typically define how they want their programs to be directed. Similar decisions are made by the SommFoundation Board of Directors when designing unsponsored scholarship programs. We are excited about expanding our scholarship offers in the future, as this is one of the most important parts of the SommFoundation mission. Enrichment travel programs are usually sponsor-funded. Sponsoring organizations may be non-governmental trade organizations (i.e., the Austrian Wine Marketing Board or Wines of Greece), trade entities (such as a producer or an importer) or even individual patrons. Our goal with these programs is to help broaden the horizons and understanding of studying sommeliers through educational travel. Over the years, SommFoundation has facilitated enrichment trips for sommeliers all over the globe, and we look forward to continuing to curate these opportunities. Education experiences are another important part of the SommFoundation mission. The Rudd Roundtable, sponsored by Rudd Oakville Estate and held every January, brings some of the best and brightest studying sommeliers together for a one-day "sommelier boot camp" experience, to be mentored by senior Master Sommeliers and other industry heavies. SommFoundation leaders are also regularly featured in educational tastings at various events during the year, often showcasing wines of the SommFoundation Cellar. The SommFoundation Cellar has been generously provided by benefactors throughout our history, and it is a resource that makes our organization truly unique. We seek to maintain a "reference quality" collection of wines to be used for both education oppor - tunities (such as exposing new sommeliers to rare, aged wines) as well as to host and collaborate on events for fundraising. We rely on the generosity of enlightened wine collectors and progressive producers for donations of wine to sustain and grow the SommFoundation cellar. I hope this has been an enlightening look at why SommFoundation is here and what we hope to accomplish. Going forward, look for more chances to get to know us, our history and programs among these pages. We are thrilled to be working with The Somm Journal and very thankful for the opportunity. In Vino Felicitas! Jay James, MS An Open Letter from SommFoundation PHOTO: COURTNEY PERRY Jay James, MS, Chairman of SommFoundation.

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