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Best Sommelier of the World: an Olympic contest

Anyone in the wine world will have heard of the Best Sommelier of the World competition. Organized by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale - ASI - it is one of the most difficult challenges in the world of wine. The competition is fierce as the prestigious title opens the door to a lucrative, international career.

Vintage talents from all over the world

In the 2019 competition, 65 sommeliers from 62 countries will be competing with the best of the best from around the world. In order to qualify for participation in the contest, candidates must be members of their country's local ASI chapter and must work in a restaurant, a wine bar or the food and wine business. Every one of them will already need to have proven themselves, by winning their regional and national competitions also organized according to the ASI Rules.

Olympic training

Preparation takes years, with candidates sharpening their knowledge, attending tastings to familiarise themselves with the broadest array of wines and spirits, visiting vineyards, talking to cultivators, keeping abreast of industry news, learning of any new appellations and memorising scores of new information. It can take years or decades of dedication to make it to the finals.

Get a feel of the competition

Grand cru competition

The competition has three components: a written exam, a segment in which contestants serve wine to the judges, and a blind taste test. The profession of Sommelier is a rather complex discipline, not only wine knowledge but also about beers, spirits, sake, waters, coffee & tea belongs to the acquaintances of the Sommelier of the 21st century. Sommeliers hoping to be the new Best Sommelier of the World have only three days to prove themselves worthy of the title, demonstrating the results of their devotion to study and learning.

And the winner is…

They say participating is more important than winning, and this certainly applies to the Best Sommelier of the World championship. Those who compete all become better sommeliers than when they first started out. As a result, customers worldwide now have access to better, more knowledgeable sommelier services.

Uncorking excellence

The Best Sommelier of the World combines a passion for wine with a love of fine food, and knows how to share this passion with his or her clientele. An excellent sommelier is first and foremost one who delights his customers, offering them a service they will want to experience again.

The Rating System

Qualities that distinguish an excellent sommelier:


The sommelier serves the wine correctly: at the ideal temperature, at the right time, and precisely as ordered. The sommelier is an excellent taster.


Welcoming and agreeable, a sommelier aims to delight the guests. He/she is an expert and cultured person, unobtrusive, humorous and sociable.


The sommelier understands the needs and budget of customers and does not impose his/her views or personal taste.


Familiar and up-to-date with production areas, a sommelier knows the quality of different brands of wine, and all characteristics necessary to evaluate wine and pair it with food. Computer-literate and at home with social media.


The sommelier has a good business brain and knows the wine market: he or she is well versed in buying, pricing, selling and stock control.

People Management

The sommelier is an excellent teamplayer and is capable of training his/her assistants.

Wine Promotor

He/she is respectful of the wine culture and a great ambassador for wine producers.


A sommelier is also a communicative person, ready to share his/her knowledge of the wine world with guests.

Top Service

A sommelier is a highly trained, knowledgeable wine professional who is at the service of his/her customers. The sommelier gains their trust with correct and objective wine assessments and recommendations.

Rating the stars

The quintessential qualities of an excellent sommelier will be evaluated by an unbiased and expert technical committee with representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The judges are either winners of national and international sommellerie competitions, or presidents of associations that strive to promote sommellerie in their own countries.