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WSET helps AFWS select UK representative for ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2021

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The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), jointly managed by WSET and the Institute of Hospitality (IOH), has announced that Eric Zwiebel MS has been selected to represent the UK at this year’s ASI Best Sommelier Europe and Africa competition.

Eric was UK Sommelier of the Year in 2004 and currently works as Cellar Master at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorset. The competition, originally due to take place in November this year, has been rescheduled for March 2021 and will still be held in Cyprus.

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 Isa Bal MS.

Kathrine Larsen MS, Head of AFWS’ Technical Committee and Premium Wine Ambassador at Enotria & Coe, comments, “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 at the Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa next year in Cyprus.”
Commenting for WSET, Rachel Webster, adds, “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.

Left to right: Isa Bal MS, Kathrine Larsen MS, Eric Zwiebel MS, Matthieu Longuere MS
Left to right: Isa Bal MS, Kathrine Larsen MS, Eric Zwiebel MS, Matthieu Longuere MS

In March, Eric will compete against up to 40 candidates, from as many as 40 different nations, to earn the title Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa. The last edition of the competition took place in 2017 in Vienna, with Raimonds Tomsons of Riga, Latvia winning the title.

To find out more about the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale visit