From March 10th until 15th Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) in collaboration with the Belgian Sommeliers Guild organized the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World 2019. This was the 16th edition of this competition and this time it was hosted by Europe - Antwerp, Belgium - where Europeans were the main laurels. The first place was taken by the German Marc Almert, the second by the Danish sommelier Nina Hejgaard Jensen, and in the third place was the current European champion Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia.

My personal goal was to win a higher place than the previous time - higher than 7th place. Getting into such a championship final, of course, is a remarkable achievement for such a small country as Latvia, proudly tells Raimonds.

In the wine world, the ASI organized championship is considered to be one of the most difficult challenge for all sommeliers. 66 sommeliers from 63 countries took part in this contest. In order to participate, sommeliers must have been awarded not only in local, but also in international competitions organized according to the ASI Rules.

Unfortunately, I didn't cope with the psychological pressure, which prevented myself from showing up at 100 percent in the final. I'll start preparing for the next World Championship, which will take place in 2022, says the manager of restaurant "Vincents", the European champion and world’s 3rd best sommelier Raimonds Tomsons.

Preparation takes several years or even decades to get the knowledge you need. Sommelier must know not only the history and geography of wine, grape-growing, wine-making and grape varieties, but also law, spirits, beer, coffee, tea and cigars!

It is interesting, the theory test had a question about Riga Black Balsam, Raimonds recalls with a smile.