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Best Sommelier of the World – they are 17 in the semi-finals


No inflation in the Best Sommelier of the World competition. The proof, if 19 candidates had been selected for the semi-final in Antwerp, this year in Paris they will only be 17 while the number of participants at the start was greater than in 2019.
The announcement of the qualifiers for the rest of the competition took place in the salons of the Paris City Hall and it was in duo that the co-directors of the technical committee, the Frenchman Olivier Poussier and the Japanese Shinya Tasaki, unveiled this highly anticipated list.

A cocktail of candidates logically expected
at this level and surprises.

In the front line the unfortunate finalists of the 2019 edition of the competition, whose presence seemed to be obvious. Namely Nina Jensen (Denmark) and Raimonds Tomsons (Latvia) respectively second and third in Antwerp.
Already noticed in Belgium for their place as semi-finalists, here is Wataru Iwata (Japan), Andrea Martinisi (New Zealand) and Reeze Choi (China).

Not surprising either to discover at this level Valeria Gamper (Argentina - Best Sommelier of the Americas 2022) or even Zlatic Suvad (Austria) bronze medalist at European level in 2021.

Carrying the hopes of France but virgin of experience in international competition, Pascaline Lepeltier is well at the rendezvous. But she will not be the only candidate based in the United States at this level since Mark Guillaudeu is also qualified.

French, precisely from Reunion, Réza Nahaboo represents Switzerland. Already semi-finalist at European level in 2021, he confirms this time on a global scale.

Finally, as they showed great talent and knowledge even if they did not yet have references on a planetary scale, Sotiris Neofytidis (Cyprus), Manuel Schembri (Iceland), Kai Wen Lu (Taiwan), Chuan Ann Tan (Malaysia), Jo Wessels (South Africa), Tom Ieven (Belgium) and Francesco Marzola (Norway) complete this list.

As in 2019, three women are qualified. In addition, Asia-Oceania is represented by 5 candidates, identical to the selection in Antwerp. Stability also for the Americas with two qualifiers and the return of a South African participant at this level as in 2016 in Mendoza.

Start of the tests this Friday, February 10 at 12:30 p.m. with a new written stage then a series of practical workshops.

Texte et photo : Jérémy Martin