On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, the second Southeastern US presentation of the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Italian Wine Specialist Immersion course came to a close at the Big Fish Restaurant in North Miami Beach. A group of 16 people, who are either wine and food industry professionals or simply wine enthusiasts, were energized by the expertise demonstrated by instructor, Diego Meraviglia. Last year, Meraviglia ranked 5th Sommelier in the world by the Worldwide Sommelier Association – the largest Sommelier association in the world. This competition involved 21 countries and 26 semi-finalists. He is also the Vice President and Director of Education for NASA as well as a Gold Pin Sommelier.
“What makes this course different from other associations, is that Diego is an Italian Sommelier,” commented Marcello Palazzi, Florida Area Manager for Winebow in Naples. Palazzi appreciated the deep focus on Italian wines. “I feel that this course is the best compared to other societies. The history and culture can only be best conveyed by a native Italian.”
The four day course deeply and fully explores all 20 wine regions of Italy, their wine laws, regulations, grape varietals, traditions, trends, history, and a brief overview of the cuisine and culture. An exam to achieve certification will take place on May 4th.
The course is designed for both the professional and wine enthusiast. “The pace suits people from different backgrounds and experiences. Diego designs his lessons so that everyone can follow,” remarked Brian Cornacchia, a restaurateur based in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s a lot of information, but also explained clearly for people who are not so familiar.”
Just Quality Importer Inc., a Miami Beach company that specializes in the distribution of Italian wine and olive oil, sponsored this course. Owner and President, Alessandra Orlich is the official delegate of NASA Sommelier, FL. All of the company’s employees are certified wine specialists. Orlich’s goal is to eventually bring other NASA courses to South Florida. Currently, the higher level courses are offered in California.