New Best Somms: Austria, France, Italy and Croatia

31 Jan 2019


Andreas Jechsmayr, an Upper Austria native who works as a sommelier at the Landhotel Forsthof in Sierning, captured the title of Best Sommelier of Austria on November 5, 2018, in front of some 200 people. Jechsmayr, who has been competing in national and European championships since 2006, came out on top after a tricky final, filled with traps and surprises for the candidates. Suvad Zlatic, of Raffl’s Star Hotels in St. Anton, and René Antrag, of the Restaurant Steirereck, in Vienna, respectively came in second and third. Interview with the winner you can find in February edition of ASI newsletter.



It was an rare occasion, on November 11, as the Union de la sommellerie  professionnelle de France’a 2018 Best Sommelier of France title went to Pascaline Lepeltier, the first woman to ever win the current title (two other women had won the Best sommelier of France in the restaurateur category in 1978 and 1980). It was a second major success in 2018 for the New York-based Lepeltier, who had previously become the first woman to achieve the Meilleur ouvrier de France in sommellerie, the previous month. The other four finalists to the five events of the finals (tasting, pairings, service, beer, and coffee and spirits), were Florian Balzeau, Isabelle Mabboux, Pierre Vila Palleja and Aymeric Pollène.

Interview with the winner you can find in February edition of ASI newsletter.


The Associazione della Sommellerie Italiana’s 2018 Best Sommelier of Italy is Davide Dargenio, a Milan native who has worked in many prestigious restaurants internationally, and now teaches and works as a head somm at the Berceau des Sens restaurant in Lausanne’s École Hotelière EHL.

Second place went to Paolo Saccone, currently working in Sydney, Australia, while third place went to Salvatore Castano, head sommelier at Mash restaurant in London, UK. Interview with the winner you can find in February edition of ASI newsletter.


In the hotly disputed finals of the 22nd Croatian Sommelier Championship, the title went to Ivan Jug from Noel restaurant, in Zagreb, who came out just ahead of the previous year’s champion, Siniša Lasan, from Proto in Dubrovnik, while another sommelier from Noel, Goran Perić, came in third. The winner had particular success in the tasting and guest service aspects of the competition. Organized by the Croatian Sommelier Club, the 2018 contest, held on October 22-23 at the Bellevue Hotel in Lošinj, featured a record 34 candidates, including 8 women.

Interview with Ivan Jug you can read below.