Marc Almert, the 27-year-old Head Sommelier at Zurich’s iconic Baur au Lac, was crowned “Best Sommelier in the World” at the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Best Sommelier of the World competition on March 15, where 65 sommeliers from 62 countries fought for the title over four days at the event held in Antwerp, Belgium. Last year, Almert secured the award for “Best Sommelier in Germany,” and at the same time, qualified for this year’s competition. Organized by both the ASI and National Sommelier Associations, the international competition has been held every three years since the ASI was founded in 1969.
The award comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that the Baur au Lac’s Pavillon restaurant, where Almert manages wine service, was awarded its second Michelin star – two major accolades as the Baur au Lac celebrates its 175th anniversary.
“A sommelier is not just a wine connoisseur. He is rather a pleasure manager,” said Almert. The sommelier discovered his talent only by detour – he did not like alcohol until he was 18 and wanted to become a hotel director. His education led him to the study of food and beverage, where he finally discovered and expanded on his passion. Almert eventually chose to work at the Baur au Lac for its extensive wine collection, which draws foreign wine connoisseurs from around the world. The five-star hotel even maintains its own in-house premium distribution entity, Baur au Lac Vins, which houses more than 3,000 wines and spirits from over 300 winemakers and producers.
To learn more about the Baur au Lac, please visit: www.bauraulac.ch/en
ABOUT THE BAUR AU LAC:
Voted the number one hotel in Europe in the 2018 Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, the 119-room Baur au Lac has been owned and operated by the same family since it was built in 1844. A short walk from Zurich’s world-famous Bahnhofstrasse, the central Paradeplatz, Lake Zürich and the city’s bustling financial district, the hotel is a long-time favorite among the world’s elite, and is one of Europe’s few grand hotels that is still family-owned. In 2009, the hotel completed an approximately US$45-million renovation of its Michelin-starred Pavillon restaurant, Terrasse restaurant and various rooms and suites.
Becca Singelenberg at WEILL