April 28, 2015

North American Sommelier Association Brings A Comprehensive Italian Wine Education to South Florida

JQI President Alessandra Orlich

Alessandra Orlich, is the official delegate for NASA in Florida, certified sommelier, and President of Just Quality Importer Inc. (Miami/Naples)

This year’s Miami presentation of two North American Sommelier Association (NASA) courses will take place at restaurants known for bringing authentic Italian food, culture, and ambiance to South Florida. There is no better way to learn about Italian wine than from Italian Sommeliers.

Italian Wine Specialist

Last year’s Italian Wine Specialist course was held at Big Fish Restaurant. JQI carefully selects the perfect Italian setting to enhance the wine learning experience. Participants who pass the exam receive a certification and NASA promotional membership.

Whether you are a wine professional or someone who loves wine and wishes to cultivate a greater knowledge of wine and viticulture, the NASA Italian Wine Specialist course offers 4 days (24 hours) of wine education from June 27-30, 2015, as well as a certification exam on Friday, July 31st at Ironside Pizza, Upper Eastside. All 20 Italian wine regions will be covered including wine laws, regulations, grape varietals, as well as a brief overview of cuisine and culture.

NASA also launches its newest one day, tasting course, Piemonte: King under the Mountain on June 26th at Toscana Divino located in Mary Brickell Village, Downtown Miami. A region in Northern Italy known to be shrouded in fog, this course aims to “lift” the mystery associated with the culture, food, and wine from Italy’s number 1 winemaking region.

The courses are led by Diego Grom Meraviglia, a Gold-Pin professional sommelier and Vice President and Director of Education for NASA, a non-profit organization directly affiliated and partnered with the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS - Associazione Italiana Sommeliers). Born and raised in Northern Piemonte, Meraviglia relocated to Los Angeles in 2005. He is one of NASA’s founders, in charge of the educational curriculum and teaches several courses across the U.S. and Canada. In 2008, he obtained the ‘Gold-Pin’ certification with the AIS and the Worldwide Sommelier Association (WSA). Meraviglia is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators in the United States and, in 2009, was awarded the prestigious international prize ‘AIS – Villa Sandi’, given to only 15 sommeliers worldwide.

“Italy is not a complicated wine country…it is a complex one,” said Meraviglia. “We hope that, in the end, not only will our students have learned about Italian wine, but will share the same heartwarming passion for this paradise that we do.”

Alessandra Orlich is President of Just Quality Importer Inc. and, as official delegate for NASA in Florida, is sponsoring both courses. Orlich is a certified sommelier through the United States Sommelier Association, Inc. and completed training through the University of Trieste, the Wall Street Institute, C.I.O.F.S., and the Inlingua Institute. She is a member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Sister Cities International and the United States Sommelier Association, Inc. From 2007 to 2008, she served as president of the charity association Merry-go-round, which aims to provide medical and psychological support to neglected children.

“We are very happy to be the first city in North America to host the Piemonte course,” commented Orlich. “For the people who have already received their certification and NASA membership, it will provide a deeper understanding of this region. However, people who appreciate wine, but are not ready to commit to 4 days of learning, will greatly enjoy this enhanced wine tasting event!”

The $650.00 Italian Wine Specialist fee includes all texts, wine colors charts, tastings that cover 30 wines representing all Italian wine regions, and a NASA promotional membership. Book before the end of May to receive a $50.00 Early Bird Discount.

The fee for Piemonte: King under the Mountain is $270.00. Current 2015 NASA members receive a $50.00 discount.

For more information and to register, visit, or call 786.427.9187.

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