For the new ASI Best Sommelier of the World, the 2019 contest is a sign of things to come. “In the last couple of years we have seen such a change in these competitions. There have been countries in the finals that had never been in the finals before. We’ve had so many people under the age of thirty reaching finals. I hadn’t thought about it, but I think I was the fourth youngest in the competition and managed to gain the title, while Nina Jensen was the youngest semi-finalist, and she is now the second best sommelier of the world.” Almert only began working as a sommelier 6 year ago, while Jensen started four years ago, which makes their top finishes all the more impressive.
Looking at his own future, with the title in hand, Marc Almert certainly doesn’t look like he’s getting carried away. While impressed by the 870 WhatsApp messages he received after his win – and struggling to answer them all – his steadiness and his deep love of the sommelier profession show clearly when he speaks of things to come. “I really like my job. I want to stay on the floor and take care of my guests, and we’ll see about the other things that will happen outside of that.”
He does want to complete the Master Sommelier training, still, as part of a constant process of learning. “My role model has always been Serge Dubs, who’s been a world champion longer than I’ve lived, and whenever I’m with him, I get the impression he’s so eager to still keep learning, at his age, and that is something you need to do if you want to keep being a great sommelier. I think the title will open up possibilities for me to do that. A lot of the former best sommeliers of the world have also offered their advice and their assistance, and I will gladly take that to see how I can repay the sommelier community.”