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The Icelandic Sommelier Association was founded in 1997 by a group of sommeliers who participated in the selections for the first Sopexa Competition where Icelanders sent a candidate. The first president was Haraldur Halldórsson. There was no possible training of sommeliers in Iceland but the Hotel and Restaurant Management School gave all its support for the association. The new sommeliers got a good experience and competition training in Alsace Wine Contests for the nordic countries. Seminars and local competitions were organized, which made it possible to send candidates to the Nordic Championship, to the Ruinart Competition of European Sommelier and finally to the World Competition. The first candidate was Thorsteinn Gislason in 1998, then Stefan Gudjonsson in 2001, Saevar Sveinsson in 2004 ans Elísabet Alba Valdimarsdóttir in 2008. Iceland hosted the Nordic Championship three times, first in 2000, in October 2005 and in September 2010.
Main competitions: Sommelier of the Year. Theme competitions: Alsace, Rhône, Spain, Italy - one per year.
There is no specific sommelier training program at the Hotel and Restaurant School. The association has had the responsibility of planning specific courses, competition training, organising trips to wine regions. The newly created Wine School (www.vinskolinn.is) has specific training in wine science for sommeliers and trainees from 2007.
The main projects and activities of the association are: the annual dinner of the wine and spirit branch, the yearly Golden Glass Trophy, which is awarded each year for the 10 best white and red wines in the Monopoly in a specific category, wine trips to wine areas in collaboration with the Wine School, training program in collaboration with the Wine School, small exhibitions and tastings, national and themed Competitions.