Surprised and relaxed

24 Mar 2019

Being an unexpected finalist may have become a positive factor in the German candidate’s victory, whose stress level was much reduced, as he explained after his win: “I was able to relax because I had already surpassed my goal. Everything that would happen beyond that was extra. My objective was to make it to the semi-finals, so I was completely surprised when I got to stay on stage. I still can’t believe it.”

After the selection, the German sommelier faced another waiting game, since he was going last. “I was in my lovely isolation in the cellars of the Elisabeth Centre, with no daylight and no one to talk to, so I took a 10-minute nap, to be quite honest, and then used some meditation and breathing techniques I’ve learned, to bring my energy back up afterwards. I also used visualisation, going through the tasks that could come up, thinking of what was set up on the stage – the beer bar, the decanting table, what equipment was there. I thought about how to react and went through some blind tasting structures in my head.”

Stepping onstage for a final round of tests that largely focus on elements of service made life easier for him. “A very important part of what I do is taking care of guests, and that’s not difficult, it’s what I like doing, and it’s my job. Blind tasting under time pressure, that’s more difficult for me than doing service in front of 1,000 people.”