The votes are in and France has won! In an anonymous vote by the presidents of the member chapters of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI), France was selected to host the next Best Sommelier of the World Contest, to be held 8-13 May 2022.
“It is a proud moment for our association,” said Philippe Faure-Brac, the president of UDSF – Union de la Sommellerie Française. “We appreciate the vote of confidence that our peers have put on both our nation’s sommeliers and our nation’s ability to host such a high-profile contest. While our project will take place in Paris, all the French sommeliers join me in expressing our strong commitment to organize and host this incredible event”
Four sites had vied for hosting honors. Their final pitches to the voters offered a stark contrast in focuses.
France, cradle of not just the ASI, but the profession itself, emphasized its desire to share its rich wine heritage and prosperity with the ASI family.
Another European contender, Latvia, beckoned with the rich culture and fantastic quality of life in Riga and the public enthusiasm it could generate for the contest.
Observing member New Zealand focused its pitch on the island nation’s natural beauty, warm hospitality and proximity to the winegrowing regions around Auckland.
Finally, Georgia made an impassioned plea for consideration featuring the nation’s president, Salome Zourabichvili. The country successfully hosted the ASI’s general assembly in 2018 and offered the Black Sea resort of Batumi as precisely the kind of exotic location that would solicit generous support from sponsors.
“What fantastic candidates! Our only regret is that we were forced to choose just one among them,” said ASI president Andrés Rosberg. “With the vote now decided, we look forward to working with Philippe Faure-Brac and his host committee on what is sure to be a thrilling contest.”
The ASI’s Best Sommelier of the World contest has been held since 1969. The most recent event was held in Antwerp, Belgium in 2019, where Marc Almert of Germany narrowly prevailed over a strong field of qualified candidates.
The high-carat jury was comprised of past winners of international sommellerie competitions, presidents of the ASI’s member associations and a few notable guests from the larger world of wine.
The ASI was formed in Reims, France in 1969. It recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in Champagne, drawing attendees from its 56 active members and 5 observer countries.
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