Staged in the cultural capital of Vienna, the second Gaggenau Sommelier Awards brought wine and coffee culture to life. In an inspiring final round, all five young sommeliers showcased their abilities in front of an expert judging panel as well as international media, provided insight into their approach towards the duties and responsibilities of a sommelier and demonstrated their professional skills.
The evening event took place in the historic venue of Palais Liechtenstein and culminated in the finalists’ presentation of the wines chosen as a pairing to Harald Irka’s five-course menu.
The palace, built by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein over 300 years ago, offered the perfect backdrop for the festive evening programme that combined culinary delights with musical and architectural pleasures.
As an opening, jury member and award-winning pianist Zhao Yinyin gave a private piano recital, followed by Harald Irka’s menu.
The young Austrian chef and rising star, renowned for his contemporary and forward-thinking cuisine, surprised the guests with his balanced compositions of genuine ingredients.
At the end of two full days, Marc Almert (middle) was elected the 2016 winner and international Gaggenau cultural ambassador, followed by Tansy Zhao (right) and Norbert Dudziński (left) in second and third place, respectively.
Besides the Gaggenau nail trophy, Marc Almert, as the winner of the 2016 Sommelier Awards, received a special training and mentoring session at one of Europe’s top vineyards, Fattorie dei Dolfi, Tuscany. Its owner, Giovanni Dolfi, mirrors the characteristics of a cultural connoisseur in the best sense, and as such, is an ideal host. With Gaggenau’s mission to promote the extensive knowledge invested in wine enjoyment, Marc Almert also became an international Gaggenau cultural ambassador and was present at events on a global scale. All other sommeliers brought wine culture to life in their respective markets.