Friday 4 November saw Lithuania’s Martynas Pravilonis named the best sommelier in the Baltic States at the Vana Tallinn Baltic Sommelier Grand Prix in the Latvian capital Rīga. The exciting final saw Lithuania’s Narimantas Miežys take 2nd place, while Latvia’s Agnese Meiersone finished in 3rd place. Estonia’s Marika Tikas was named Best Young Sommelier.
“The announcement of the winner was the third time in my life that I’ve cried from happiness! I’ve put a lot of effort into achieving this success, but it still feels amazing to be named the best among such strong rivals for the title,” Martynas Pravilonis said upon winning the Grand Prix.
“The tasks in the 11 years of the competition have become quite broad and complicated, but they’re practical and related to the daily life of the sommeliers. Compared to previous years, this year the contest was quite a lot about matching wines with food. So the finalists needed to blend different tastes, to know what customers prefer, and the winner was actually the sommelier who made the best food and wine recommendations,” commented jury member, AS Liviko Product Manager for Quality Wines and sommelier Urvo Ugandi, who was the recipient of the very first Best Baltic Sommelier title at the Vana Tallinn Grand Prix.
The main prize in the competition – a wine-themed trip – is sponsored by AS Liviko. The winner of the Best Young Sommelier title receives an exclusive corkscrew and renowned bottle of wine from Chateau Laguiole.
“Looking at the participants in the contest we can be confident that wine lovers are receiving good advice and being taken care of outside of the Vana Tallinn Grand Prix as well – and that the Baltic States have become part of a global gourmet world,” said AS Liviko Marketing Director Liivi Tadolder.
The members of the international jury were Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia, the winner of last year’s Vana Tallinn Grand Prix and the best-performing Baltic entrant at the world sommelier championships to date, finishing in 7th place; the presidents of the sommelier associations of each country; AS Liviko Product Manager for Quality Wines and sommelier Urvo Ugandi; Polish Association of Sommeliers chairman Piotr Kamecki; and sommelier and Master of Wine title-holder Gašper Čarman from Slovenia.
The competition awarding the title of Best Baltic Sommelier takes its name from Liviko’s legendary Vana Tallinn liqueur, the most popular beverage of its kind in Estonia. AS Liviko has been organising the Vana Tallinn Grand Prix in cooperation with the sommelier associations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 2006.
Founded in 1898, AS Liviko is a producer of high-quality alcohol with 117 years’ experience. It has a well-developed distribution and wholesale network in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, through which it markets not only its own products but also imported international quality brands. Liviko is one of the three biggest alcohol companies in the Baltic States, placing as much emphasis on imports as it does on production.