Home Industry News Releases The SOMM Journal Launches New Chapter for Geographical Digest Virtual Wine Series

The SOMM Journal Launches New Chapter for Geographical Digest Virtual Wine Series


In collaboration with SommFoundation, SommGeo, and National Geographic Books, the popular global wine tasting series has evolved to offer a more immersive virtual experience for participants.

sommjournalApril 21, 2021 (Los Angeles, Calif.) The SOMM Journal announced its expanded alliances with SommFoundation and SommGeo, along with its continued collaboration with National Geographic Books and The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, to present the next phase of its popular Geographical Digest educational webinar series. Featuring some of the most high-profile names in the hospitality industry, these virtual events, broadcasted live and available on-demand will offer a more comprehensive experience for participants looking to immerse themselves in the world of wine, including new interactive virtual vineyard tours available from SommGeo and scholarship opportunities through SommFoundation.  

Launched in tandem with the release of the sixth edition of The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, Geographical Digest was inspired by a desire to help wine enthusiasts explore global wine regions despite the ongoing travel limitations brought on by the pandemic. After recently aligning with SommFoundation and SommGeo, the popular tasting series is now able to reach new heights in both education and innovation, allowing a diverse audience of enthusiasts and professionals the opportunity to discover and explore the wineries, vineyards, geography, and history of some of the most important wine regions around the globe on a much deeper level – all with the added convenience of not having to board a plane. Even more, each webinar will conclude with an opportunity for participants to win cash scholarships via an essay contest through SommFoundation, with scholarship awards ranging from $400 – $1,000.

“By popular demand from our audience of trade and consumers, we have revamped our National Geographic Geo Digest webinar series to include scholarships and special mapping of vineyard sites. We’re also thrilled to work with our esteemed colleagues at SommFoundation and SommGeo to curate a series that will be both captivating and educational for wine enthusiasts around the world,” said Meridith May, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of The SOMM Journal.

“Our continued partnership with The SOMM Journal and its dynamic partners provides us the ability to reach a global audience,” said Lisa Thomas, Publisher of The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. “And The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia provides the additional backdrop on the global wine regions.”

SommFoundation is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting aspiring wine and spirits professionals to achieve the highest level of proficiency and accreditation in the food and beverage industry. Led by a group of Master Sommeliers, philanthropists, and business professionals, SommFoundation provides enrichment opportunities and scholarships to sommeliers, restaurant professionals, wine journalists, and winemakers to further their knowledge about the world of wine and spirits and elevate the level of competency in the understanding of the beverage profession. “SommFoundation highly values our collaborative efforts with the SOMM Journal on many projects, including scholarship opportunities, physical enrichment trips, and online events. Our mutual goals of providing education and assisting beverage professionals to achieve their highest potential makes it a natural fit,” said SommFoundation Chief Operating Officer, Lynn Fletcher.

SommGeo is a first-of-its-kind 3D experience developed by Greg Van Wagner. Born out of the concept that everything in the world of wine, beer, sake, and spirits originated from a physical place, SommGeo brings wine regions to life through its virtual tours of wineries and vineyards, offering the next best thing to visiting in person. Using its unique 3D platform, SommGeo allows participants to view an entire region or zoom in on a single vineyard, then delve into such details as climate, production techniques, soils, history, varietals, and bottlings. “SommGeo started as a way to help bring people closer to the wine they drink and to build a more modernized option for wine education. The platform took over three years to make and is continually evolving,” explained Van Wagner. “With all the great work the SommFoundation does for the wine community, I knew it’d be best as a benefit to donors.”

Geographical Digest will launch the next phase of its education series with “Pinot Noir: Aspects from Delicacy to Durability,” scheduled for virtual broadcast on May 11, 2021. Though Pinot Noir can gratify or frustrate, be delicate or durable, muse or create mischief, this quirky grape always seems to inspire passion and pride in winemakers. Drawing on the insights of seven Pinot Noir whisperers from distinct terroirs around the world, participants will learn about the intricacies of this notorious grape and discover the secrets to producing Pinot with panache. 

World-renowned Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson – winner of three James Beard Awards and one of only 26 female Master Sommeliers in the world  will co-host this first session in the revamped series alongside Lars Leicht, VP of Education, The SOMM Journal. Shared Robinson, “My passion for Pinot Noir stems from its ability to transmit such a diversity of terroir expression, with both purity and depth. Because of that, with Pinot Noir, you will never be bored because you’ll always encounter something new.” 

“Honestly, The SOMM Journal has been a pioneer and rock of connectivity for the sommelier community since its inception, and even more so now with their focus on collaborations like this one with SommFoundation and SommGeo,” explained Robinson further. “As the industry navigates major community and economic challenges, we need work like this that brings us back to learning, supporting each other, and grounding ourselves in the geology and environment of wine, which, in the long run, are bigger and more important than all of us put together.”

“Pinot Noir: Aspects from Delicacy to Durability” will take place on Tuesday, May 11 at 9 AM PST, 12 PM EST, 6 PM CET and 4 AM NZST. Panelists will include representatives from seven global wineries, including Merry Edwards of Sonoma’s Russian River; Domaine Anderson of Sonoma’s Anderson Valley; Lloyd Cellars of Santa Barbara County’s Sta. Rita Hills; Calera of the Mt. Harlan AVA/Central Coast; Louis Jadot of France’s Burgundy; Willakenzie of Oregon’s Willamette Valley; and Giesen of New Zealand’s Marlborough region. 

Enthusiasts can register for the live webinar or view past on-demand sessions, at no cost, at SommJournal.com. Stay tuned for the upcoming webinars in the series every month through 2021 and into 2022 that will take place at 9 AM PST, 12 PM EST, 6 PM CET and 4 AM NZST. May 20: Napa’s Top Tier Wines; June 8: Aroma Therapy: The Lure of White Wine Scents-ability; July 13: Phenolics: Color, Tannins, and Taste; August 10: Estate of Mind: Fruit From an Exceptional Source; September 14: Balancing Act: Chardonnay at its Best; October 12: Big Reds: Old World vs. New World; November 9: Southern Hemisphere: Location is key, but elevation can be pivotal; December 14: Iconic Grapes: Distinctive Regions; and beginning 2022 with The Blancs Slate: A Who’s Who of Sauvignon Blanc, February 17.


The SOMM Journal is written by and for wine and beverage industry professionals. Owned by Meridith May, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, The SOMM Journal broadens both emerging and veteran industry professionals’ understanding of the business. Departments cover top restaurants’ wine and mixology programs; in-depth profiles of the world’s wine regions; industry trends and technology; and exploration of current issues that most concern sommeliers. The SOMM Journal is available digitally online and the print edition, which is free to trade, is distributed nationally.

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