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UK rep for ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2021 announced

Published:  09 September, 2020

The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) has announced that Eric Zwiebel MS has been selected to represent the UK at this year’s ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa competition.

Zwiebel was UK Sommelier of the Year in 2004 and currently works as Cellar Master at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorset. 

The selection process to find the UK’s representative for the competition took place yesterday at Trivet in Bermondsey – the restaurant co-founded by Isa Bal MS. 

The two shortlisted candidates – Romain Bourger and Eric Zwiebel MS – were put through their paces in three separate tests; knowledge, blind tasting and practical skills. 

They were assessed by a panel of judges which comprised Katherine Larsen MS; Rachel Webster DipWSET, WSET EMEA business development director; Matthieu Longuere MS and and Isa Bal MS.

Larsen, who is head of AFWS’ technical committee and premium wine ambassador at Enotria & Coe, said: “Both candidates performed strongly but Eric’s experience put him firmly in the winner’s seat, and he will be a great representative for the UK.”

Commenting for Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), which jointly manages AFWS, Webster, added: “It was great for WSET to be involved with this selection process as part of its new role with AFWS. The level of wine knowledge and tasting skills displayed by both candidates was impressive.  We wish Eric every luck at the competition in March.”

The competition, originally due to take place in November this year, has been rescheduled for March 2021 and will be held in Cyprus, where Zwiebel will compete against up to 40 candidates, from as many as 40 different countries. 

The last edition of the competition took place in 2017 in Vienna, with Raimonds Tomsons of Riga, Latvia winning the title.