The Vana Tallinn Grand Prix jubilee tournament saw Kaspars Reitups, also from Vincents (restaurant sommelier) taking second place, with Estonia’s Kristjan Markii coming in third. Ketri Leis was awarded the title of the best young sommelier (up to 27).
“The win went to the right place. Raimonds’ instant presence and specialised knowledge gave him a definitely advantage. The competitors’ levels were very high, as shown by their abilities to adapt to the new and, for them, the surprising structure of the final, where, as a new challenge, many tasks had to be performed while serving the group taking part in dinner, as well as interacting with the audience,” said jury chairman and AS Liviko’s quality wines product manager, Urvo Ugandi, who 10 years ago won the title of the best sommelier in the Baltic States at the first Vana Tallinn Grand Prix.
The grand prize is a trip to Hong Kong, sponsored by AS Liviko, where the winner will be able to attend the Asia-Oceania Best Sommelier competition as a spectator.
Estonia was represented by head sommelier at the Lyon cafe and restaurant, Kristjan Markii, who won the title in 2010 and has made it to the final in all 10 editions of the competition; Liviko HoReCa sales representative and winner of the title of Best Sommelier in Estonia in 2014, Karel Veski; Dominic restaurant sommelier Aron Rahu; and Leib Resto & Aed sommelier Ketri Leis.
Latvia was represented by the winner of last year’s grand prix, Vincents Reitups, as well as Tomsons (the winner of the 2007 and 2008 competitions); 2013 winner and brand management consultant for Noble Wine, Ronalds Pētersons; and Vina Studija’s head sommelier, Agnese Meiersone.
Lithuania’s representation included Boff steakhouse sommelier Artūras Vasilionok; sommelier Ada Sakalauskaitė; and Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square restaurant sommelier, catering manager, and current holder of the title of Lithuania’s best sommelier, Narimantas Miežys.
The chairman of the international jury was sommelier and AS Liviko quality wine product manager Urvo Ugandi, who took the title of the best sommelier at the first grand prix 10 years ago. The jury also included the president of the Estonian Association of Sommeliers, Kristel Nõmmik; president of the Latvia Association of Sommeliers, Janis Kalkis; president of the Lithuanian Association of Sommeliers, Arunas Starkus; president of the Polish Association of Sommeliers, Piotr Kamecki; two-time grand prix winner Kristjan Peäske; trainer and runner-up in the 2011 Grand Prix, Norway’s Liora Levi; and Liviko sommelier and wine expert, Aigars Lukstins, from Latvia.
The competition to find the best sommelier in the Baltic States was named after Estonia’s popular liqueur, AS Liviko’s Vana Tallinn. AS Liviko is one of the three largest alcohol firms in the Baltic States, Founded in 1898, it has built up alcohol distribution and wholesale networks in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, through which it markets both its own products as well as other brands.