The SOMM Journal Geographical Digest Virtual Series

  • Deadline

    November 9, 2021, 09:00 AM (Pacific)

  • Sponsors

    The SOMM Journal, National Geographic Books, The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia


Join SommFoundation and The SOMM Journal for a 12-month virtual educational webinar series.


Southern Hemisphere: Location is Key

Is winemaking in the Southern Hemisphere about mirror images or a brave new world? Terroir changes but basics remain the same, with parallels to be drawn [pun intended.] Join us on November 9 to explore the flip side.



This Geographical Digest educational webinar series, sponsored by The SOMM Journal, will take place monthly, starting in May of 2021 through April of 2022. This series was inspired by a desire to help wine professionals explore global wine regions despite ongoing travel limitations brought on by the pandemic. The sessions will feature deep-dives into wineries, vineyards, geography, and history of some of the world’s most important wine regions. Each session will include a random drawing for eight recipients of SommFoundation’s SommGeo, scholarship essay competitions for awards ranging from $400 -$1000 and a copy of the New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia to the top scorer.

Scholarship information and eligibility:

  • Access to SommGeo will be given to eight attendees per session, selected by a random drawing
  • The person with the highest score on each monthly scholarship essay competition will receive the latest edition of the New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia
  • One $400 scholarship will be awarded to the best essay written for each of the May, June, July, August, Sept, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, and March sessions.
  • Two $1000 “Grand Awards” will be granted to the best essay written for the October and April sessions – this essay prompt may ask you to incorporate information from the five previous sessions, so if you’d like to compete for this award, we encourage you to attend all sessions to be best prepared.
  • Scholarship awards are available to qualified beverage professionals only -you must currently be working in the food and beverage industry, or must have been doing so prior to the March 2020 Covid shutdown.
  • Current or past employment may be verified
  • Essay competitions will be scored by SommFoundation
  • Anyone may join for all sessions, however essay competition awards will be limited to one $1000 award or two $400 awards.

The series is scheduled as follows, all sessions begin at 9am Pacific/12pm Eastern:

November 9th – Southern Hemisphere: Location is Key

December 14th – Iconic Grapes: Distinctive Regions

January 20th – A Cross-Section of Western Europe

February 17th – Rising Stars of the Wine World

March 24th – The Minerality Factor: How Does it Come Across in your Wine?

April – TBD

Past Sessions Information:

October 12th – Big Reds: Old World vs New World – view the recorded session here.

(Grand Prize Competition)

September 14th – Balancing Act: Chardonnay at its Best – view the recorded session here.

1st Place – Alexandra Lesnak, Bar Harbor, ME Read Alexandra’s essay here:

2nd Place – Nathan Ricks, Hood River, OR

August 10th- Estate of Mind: Fruit from an exceptional source – view the recorded session here

1st Place – Aga Hilferty, Miami, FL Read Aga’s essay here.

2nd Place – Anne Hampton, Summerville, SC Read Anne’s essay here

July 13th – Phenolics: Color, Tannins, and Taste – view the recorded session here

1st Place – Jeannie Boutelle, Chicago, IL Read Jeannie’s essay here.

2nd Place – Aga Hilferty, Miami, FL Read Aga’s essay here.

June 8th – Aroma Therapy: The Lure of White Wine Scents-ability – view the recorded session here

1st Place – Jeannie Boutelle, Chicago, IL Read Jeannie’s essay here.

2nd Place – Heather Johnston, Bozeman, MT

May 11th- Pinot Noir: Aspects from Delicacy to Durability – view the recorded session here

1st Place – Kerry Callender, Hampton, VA

2nd Place – Heather Korte, Ozaukee Country Club, Mequon, WI


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.”

ABOUT The SOMM Journal

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.