Helsinki to be brimming with international wine connoisseurs in July

Helsinki will become a centre of international wine culture for a week when the annual meeting of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) is held in Helsinki on 4–5 July. Restaurant and wine professionals from up to 65 different countries will come to Helsinki. During the meeting, the participants will also get to know the Finnish restaurant culture and competence and high-quality Finnish food and drink products. The timing of the event is also very fortunate from the Finnish perspective, because summertime ingredients grown under the midnight sun taste better than anything else.
Sommelier työssään.
Photo: Pasi Murto / Suomen Sommelierit Ry

The aim of the event is to highlight Helsinki as a European centre of the restaurant and wine business and to showcase Helsinki as an international city that enables the development of the wine and restaurant industry. Finland is the first non-wine-producing country and the first Nordic country to host an annual meeting of the ASI. The responsibility for organising the event is also an acknowledgement of the operators in the food and drink business in Helsinki. At the same time, the event is significant for the restaurants in Helsinki that get to show their competence to the international top experts in the field and to discuss their own ideas with them. The restaurants in Helsinki visited by the participants of the event will definitely be remembered and receive international attention.

“It is a great honour to welcome international friends and colleagues to Finland and Helsinki. This is also an opportunity for us to show how wonderful our country and our urban culture are. We are proud of our Finnish restaurant and wine competence and we hope that after the event our skills and ambition will be known even better around the world,” says Samuil Angelov, restaurateur and member of the ASI Board.

City residents get to enjoy international restaurant and wine culture

Helsinki residents will also get the opportunity to enjoy international wine and restaurant culture, as some of the additional programme of the event is open to the public interested in the world of wine and restaurants. The programme includes things such as Bar de Sommelier on the terraced roof of Klaus K, lunch events in Little Finlandia and a gala dinner on 5 July for which tickets can be purchased. The dinner will also be attended by top professionals of the industry from around the world.

The main events of the annual meeting of the ASI will be held in Little Finlandia. Some of the wine-related programme will be held in places such as the restaurant Pastis and the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia.

Helsinki investing heavily in food tourism 

Helsinki is implementing the city’s tourism and event programme created for 2022–2026 in which the vibrant urban culture and its events, tourists and restaurants have been made into a strategic focal point that promotes the city’s vitality and well-being. Food and drink have recently become internationally significant pull factors of tourism. Therefore, Helsinki wants to invest more in food tourism. The aim is to promote the competitiveness of the tourism and food sector as part of a vibrant urban culture and to increase the recognition of the Finnish food and drink culture. Food, restaurants and food tourism products could in the future be an even more significant part of Helsinki’s international image. In the context of this work, the annual meeting of sommeliers is an excellent display window for Helsinki and an opportunity for the city to showcase itself.

“The restaurants get more exposure and customers when the city promotes food tourism and the tourists who enjoyed their stay in Helsinki tell people back home about their experiences. Unique and shared experiences support the development of Helsinki into an international gastronomic gem. Wine experts from over 60 countries will see for themselves the appreciation that the city and its residents have for their food and restaurant culture,” says Jukka-Pekka Tolvanen the City of Helsinki’s business liaison responsible for restaurant cooperation.

Alongside the annual meeting of the ASI, a Wine Symposium will be held for wine experts. The event will, in line with the previous symposiums, focus on discussion about the current themes and the future of the wine industry. The key theme selected for this year is biodynamics and the speakers of the event are international top professionals such as Romana Echensperger MW.