Welcome to the second installment of the “Geographical Digest” Virtual Wine Series! Today, we’ll be discussing the wines of the Loire Valley. This region of France has a surprising diversity of wine country. From the cool, maritime climate of the Atlantic coast to the warm, continental climate of the river valleys, the Loire Valley has it all. From the limestone soil of the Coteaux du Layon to the schist of the Savennieres, the Loire Valley has more than a few surprises.

The Somm Journal, part of the Virtual Wine Journal series, is a continuously updated interactive database that allows consumers to learn more about wineries, wines, and the people behind them. Every entry contains a short description about the winery and their wines, a custom map, and links to their website and social media accounts. The SOMM Journal is a crowd-sourced project that promotes wineries that embrace the “sustainable ethos, independent ownership, and small production.”


In partnership with the SommFoundation, SommGeo and National Geographic Books, the popular global wine tasting series has been revamped to offer attendees a more immersive virtual experience.

21. April 2021 (Los Angeles, CA) – SOMM Magazine has announced an expanded partnership with SommFoundation and SommGeo, as well as an ongoing partnership with National Geographic Books and The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia to present the next installment of Geographical Digest’s acclaimed educational webinar series. These virtual events, featuring some of the biggest names in the industry, are streamed live and are available on demand. They offer a more complete experience for attendees looking to immerse themselves in the world of wine, including the new SommGeo interactive virtual vineyard tours and scholarship opportunities offered by the SommFoundation.

Launched to coincide with the release of the sixth edition of Sotheby’s New Wine Encyclopedia, Geographical Digest was inspired by a desire to help wine lovers explore the world’s wine regions, despite pandemic-related travel restrictions. Following a recent collaboration with SommFoundation and SommGeo, the popular trial series can now reach new heights in terms of education and innovation. It offers a diverse audience of wine lovers and professionals the opportunity to discover and explore the vineyards, wineries, geography and history of some of the world’s most important wine regions on a much deeper level, without having to fly. In addition, at the end of each webinar, participants will have the opportunity to win cash prizes in an essay contest organized by the SommFoundation, with scholarships ranging from $400 to $1,000.

By popular demand from our professional and consumer audiences, we have updated and expanded our National Geographic Geo Digest webinar series to include scholarships and special vineyard mapping. We are also excited to partner with our esteemed colleagues at SommFoundation and SommGeo to create a series that will be interesting and educational for all wine lovers, said Meredith May, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of SOMM Magazine.

Our ongoing collaboration with The SOMM Journal and its dynamic partners gives us the opportunity to reach a global audience, said Lisa Thomas, editor of The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. And the Sotheby’s New Wine Encyclopedia provides additional information on the world’s wine regions.

The SommFoundation is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help aspiring wine and spirits professionals achieve the highest level of qualification and accreditation in the food and beverage industry. Led by a group of master sommeliers, philanthropists and businessmen, the SommFoundation offers sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine journalists and winemakers the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the world of wine and spirits and increase their expertise in understanding the business of drinking. The SommFoundation is pleased to collaborate with SOMM Magazine on many projects, including trade shows, physical enrichment trips, and online events. Our shared goals of providing education and helping beverage professionals reach their full potential make this partnership a natural fit, said Lynn Fletcher, CEO of SommFoundation.

SommGeo is a unique 3D experience developed by Greg Van Wagner. SommGeo was born from the concept that everything in the world of wine, beer, sake and spirits originates in a physical location. SommGeo brings wine regions to life with virtual tours of wineries and vineyards, offering the best you can imagine from an in-person visit. With its unique 3D platform, SommGeo allows attendees to view the entire region or zoom in on a single vineyard, then go into details such as climate, production techniques, soil, history, grape varieties and bottling. SommGeo began as a way to bring people closer to the wine they drink and create a more modern version of wine education. It took more than three years to build the platform, which is constantly evolving, Van Wagner says. Given all the work the SommFoundation does for the wine community, I knew this would be a great project to raise money for donors.

Geographic Digest begins the next phase of its educational series with Pinot Noir: Aspects ranging from delicacy to longevity, with one for the 11th. May 2021: virtual broadcast planned. Although pinot noir can delight or disappoint, be delicate or robust, a muse or mischievous, this quirky grape still inspires winemakers with passion and pride. With insights from seven Pinot Noir experts from around the world, participants will learn the intricacies of this infamous grape and discover the secrets of Pinot Panacea production.

Internationally renowned Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, winner of three James Beard Awards and one of only 26 female Master Sommeliers in the world, will present the first session of the new series along with Lars Leicht, Vice President of Education for SOMM Journal. Robinson shared: My passion for Pinot Noir lies in its ability to convey such diverse expressions of terroir, possessing both purity and depth. So you’ll never be bored with Pinot Noir, because you’ll always find something new.

Frankly, SOMM Journal has been a pioneer and a stumbling block for the sommelier community since its inception, and even more so now that they’re focusing on collaborations like this one with SommFoundation and SommGeo, Robinson explained. At a time when the sector is facing serious social and economic problems, we must make an effort to learn again, support each other and become aware of the geology and ecology of wine, which are ultimately bigger and more important than all of us put together.

Pinot Noir : Aspects of Delicacy to Longevity will take place on Tuesday, May 11 at 9:00 am Pacific Time, 12:00 pm Eastern Time, 6:00 pm Central European Time and 4:00 pm New Zealand Time. The panel will include representatives from seven wineries from around the world, including Merry Edwards of Sonoma (Russian River), Anderson Estate of Sonoma (Anderson Valley), Lloyd Cellars of Santa Barbara (Sta. Rita Hills; Calera de Mt. Harlan AVA/Central Coast; Louis Jadot from Burgundy, France; Willakenzie from Willamette Valley, Oregon; and Giesen from the Marlborough region, New Zealand.

At SommJournal.com, interested parties can register for a free webinar or view past sessions on demand. Future webinars in this series will be held monthly in 2021 and 2022 at 9:00 Pacific Time, 12:00 Eastern Time, 18:00 Central European Time and 4:00 New Zealand Time. 20. May: The fault of Napa’s upper echelon; 8. June: Aromatherapy : The appeal of white wine flavor is an opportunity; 13. July: Phenolic substances : Color, tannin and flavor; 10. August: The domain of the mind: Fruits of an extraordinary source; 14. September: Balancing: Chardonnay at its best; 12. October: Big reds: Old world vs. New World; 9. November: Southern Hemisphere : 14. Location is crucial, but height can also be crucial. December: Emblematic grapes: Distinctive regions; and from 2022, the White Slate: A who’s who of Sauvignon Blanc, 17. February.


The SOMM Journal is written by and for the wine and beverage industry. SOMM magazine, edited by Meredith May, publisher/editor-in-chief, provides industry professionals, both new and experienced, with a better understanding of the industry. Sections cover the enology and mixology programs of top restaurants, in-depth discussions of the world’s wine regions, industry trends and techniques, and explore current topics of greatest interest to sommeliers. SOMM magazine is available online in digital form and the free print edition is distributed across the country.


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