The contest for Best Albanian Sommelier of 2019 took place in the Hilton Garden Inn of Tirana from 6-7 December. Nine competitors were put through a variety of practical and theoretical tests, starting with the language of the event, which was held in English. Irdi Lushi, a runner-up two years ago, emerged victorious this time around. Enkeda Haxhiu earned second place honors, while third place was awarded to Klejdi Xheko.
The impressive international jury included members such as ASI former President and 1978 ASI World’s Best Sommelier Giuseppe Vaccarini, Vice President of the ASI Europe William Wouters, and famed enogastromist and food critic Carmelo Sgandurra. Albanian Sommeliers Association President Dashamir Elezi served as technical director.
A side competition centered on one specific Albanian wine, Kallmet Prestige, was held on day two. Donald Veliu was chosen as the best degustator by the committee led by enologist Ernest Melani.