Three Italian sommeliers –Alessia Botturi, Diego Meraviglia, and Mauro Cirilli — founded the certification body in 2011 with the support of the Italian Sommelier Association (ISA). Initially, the sommelier certification was developed to promote Italian wines, and the first class offered was the Italian Wine Specialist.
The association’s first president was Alessia, who resigned in 2017 and now works for E & J Gallo. ISA went on to found the Worldwide Sommelier Association (WSA), which also promotes Italian wines.
Diego has worked as a sommelier since 2006 and was the US Brand Ambassador for Dom Perignon. He is now the Business Development Manager for the Wine & Spirits division of Avery Labels.
Mauro was trained in Italy as Sommelier and moved to the Bay Area with his wine in 2001. By 2015, he was the wine director at San Francisco’s Press Club. He is now the Tasting Room Manager for Littorai Wines in Sonoma.
Diego and Alessia are still listed as directors on the North American Sommelier Association’s website.
At its peak, the programs were offered in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago & New York City. Like the Court of Master Sommeliers, it relied on a team of PR professionals to get the word out. It was featured by the Chicago Tribune, Phoenix New Times, Paper City Magazine, and the Austin Chronicle; In 2018, NASA was cited in a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Wine Research.
The status of this sommelier accreditation agency is unknown. While it is still possible to purchase spots for programs, no dates or locations are identified. This has been the case for several years now. It seems that this california-based non-profit has dwindling resources. According to the IRS, NASA’s total revenue has dwindled from $262,733 in 2013 to $94,921 in 2017, the last filing on record.
This somm program is fine. They aren’t gone, and they do support their alumni,. I am not sure if they are accepting new students.
This program has promise, but seems more like a side gig and not a fulltime project.