Belgium to host fifteenth Sommelier du Monde in spring

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Drinks: Drinks

Proud French sommeliers might want to look away now, because Antwerp has pipped Bordeaux to be announced as the host city for the 15th Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Meilleur Sommelier du Monde Competition.

The most prestigious of all sommelier competitions, the Sommelier du Monde pits the best in the world against each other over four high-stress days that test not just wine knowledge but also service techniques and inter-personal skills.

‘Today the job involves much more than just pouring wine,’ said William Wouters, president of the Belgian Sommeliers Guild which will help to organise the competition. ‘Not only does a sommelier dispense a broad knowledge of the ever dynamic wine industry, but also other drinks such as beer, spirits, water, coffee, saké, etc. They also need to have an eye for human interactions [and]have a broad social intelligence.’

With the 65 best candidates from Asia/Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas all taking part, it’s no surprise that the roll-call of past winners reads like a who’s who of sommeliering.

Recent winners have included Jon Arvid Rosengren (Mendoza, 2016), Paolo Basso (Tokyo, 2013) and Gerard Basset MW OBE (Santiago 2010).

It’s the first time that the global final has been held in Europe since Andreas Larsson won in Rhodes in 2007, and the first time that Belgium has hosted since Brussels in 1983.

The competition will be held from 11-15 March in the Elizabethzaal in Antwerp, but tickets are extremely limited. Only 2,000 are available, so the organisers will be showing the competition on a big screen, and live-streaming it online.

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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