Monday 22nd of April saw the semi-final and final of the WSA Best Sommelier in the world competition, nestled in a gorgeous setting of an old London hotel (Park Lane Sheraton) and kissed by an unusually sunny and warm springtime weather for this world class city.
The semi-final consisted in a brutally intense series of examinations and trials leading to the 3 highest-scoring candidates to take the stage for the afternoon final. A sprint-timed written test of 50 questions from enology & viticulture to enography (wines of the world), blind tastings, food pairing, spirits, beers, producer & label recognition and an oral communication trial.
The list of semi-finalists represents the best the world has to offer from 21 different countries that adhere to the WSA (Worldwide Sommelier Association) "umbrella":
Albania: Sokol Mdreko
Belgium: Carlo Ferrigno
Brazil: Athila Ross, Diego Dequigiovanni
Canada: Andrea Tonicello
China: Cheng Yi Chen
Czech Republic: Stepan Zraly
France: Jonathan Fillion
Germany: Vasilica Marinella Ardelean
Italy: Andrea Balleri, Dennis Metz, Luca Martini
Latvia: Maksims Merkulovs
Mexico: Juan Carlos Flores Mazon
Peru: Fernando Cubas
Russia: Denis Ovcharenko, Novikov
Romania: Claudiu Stefan Timofti
San Marinio: Elida Sota
Singapore: Matteo Lussana
Slovenia: David Vasiljevic
South Korea: Oliver Brandeburg
Switzerland: Angelo De Raimondo, Giuseppe Albaceli
USA: Diego Maraviglia
UK: Sam McDonald
Representing the USA and NASA (North American Sommelier Association) was our Vice President & Director of Education DIEGO MERAVIGLIA, who ranked 5th in the overall end results.
"It was heavy! This was one of the most challenging tests I have ever taken and I am very satisfied with the result ! My bad, I ran out of time in the written test and did not answer the last 60-point question which would have most likely resulted in a higher ranking. It was a fantastic experience though and I would do it over again. I ran into old friends, met new colleagues, made new friends and had a great time. I am happy with my ranking and I will try it again in 2 years ! Kudos to the winner Luca Martini (Italy) and to all the other candidates that came from around the world...this took a lot of courage and being there in the semi-final is a great honor for everyone and anyone. I deeply thank the WSA and its President Franco Ricci, VP Antonello Maietta, the local organizers of the event Andrea Rinaldi (UK Sommelier Association) and all the jury as well as all the great Somms that were there to compete...thanks for making it a memorable day ! FOr me this was a victory nonetheless and I dedicate it to all our members, my supporting friends and family as well as the recent victims of Boston."
The next WSA 'Best Sommelier In The World' competition will take place in 2015 in Cancun, Mexico. NASA will run a national selection competition for the 3 best candidates to represent USA for this prestigious title, towards the 2nd half of 2014. Stay tuned !
North American Sommelier Association