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Best Sommelier of the World 2019
Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius
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One of the world’s best sommeliers works at Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius

One of the world’s best sommeliers works at Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius

Vilnius, 25 March 2019 - Martynas Pravilonis, Head Sommelier at Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius, ranked fourth in the Best Sommelier of the World 2019 contest held on 11–15 March 2019. There were 66 wine experts from 63 countries competing to win the title of the best wine professional.

Tastings and theoretical tests while competing for the title of the best sommelier

“The very beginning was the hardest. In the quarterfinal, the first task was blind tasting. In 15 minutes, we had to taste two varieties of wine and describe their taste and aroma, identify the country and region of production, grape variety and the year of wine harvest, and pair this wine with food, as well as indicate the price,” said the wine professional, sharing his impressions from the event.

This was only one of the tasks in the quarterfinal. It was followed by a test and a wine-serving task: the contestants were asked to serve two guests who requested the white wine of a particular year in two minutes, while there was no such wine in the wine bucket.

The challenges that had to be dealt with by the participants in the semi-final: an essay on what it takes to be a good sommelier; blind red wine tasting; and pairing wine with particular food. All these tasks were much easier for a many-time champion in Lithuania and the Baltic countries. When he reached the semi-final with the 19 best sommeliers in the world, Martynas felt that he had achieved his goal already and completed the tasks in a fairly relaxed way. He particularly enjoyed and demonstrated a superior performance in the last task – he had to present the Sakartvelo qvevri wine marketing plan for the Belgian market. Most probably, this performance helped him win the fourth place.

A good sommelier must be both a psychologist and a diplomat

“This is a truly incredible and memorable moment, not only for the hotel but, moreover, for Martynas, who has been proudly representing Lithuania, which has traditionally been known as a ‘beer country’. But this achievement clearly shows that it is quickly evolving, and, when it comes to wine culture, is now on par with the best in the world. We are very privileged and proud to have such a highly specialised and passionate professional as Martynas as part of our Kempinski team here in Vilnius delivering beautiful performances for all our guests,” said Kai Schukowski, General Manager of Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius.

Martynas has been working at Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius for three years already. He is responsible for the selection and pairing of beverages with food at the Telegrafas Restaurant, Atelier Wine Boutique and Le Salon Bar. Martynas has been interested in wines for 12 years already. After he had completed his psychology studies at Vilnius University, the wine expert learned the secrets of wine in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and The Court of Master Sommeliers courses.

“In my opinion, the best quality of a good sommelier is the desire to study and to improve, because the wine world is very large and diverse. Besides this, he must be a good psychologist and a diplomat and feel what the restaurant guests like and know how to communicate with them. In addition, he must be an ambassador of winemakers at the restaurant,” claimed Martynas.

And how should a professional sommelier act when he hears that a guest wants to order a wine that does not go with the food at all?

“I can offer my advice but I will not insist on my opinion. As we learned, the most important thing is to pair the wine not with food but with a person. Tastes differ, and if the guest likes the wine, he or she will enjoy the taste, and it means that the dinner will be perfect,” believes one of the best sommeliers in the world.

About Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius: Ideally located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Vilnius Old Town in Lithuania, Grand Hotel Kempinksi Vilnius offers 96 lavish rooms and luxurious suites featuring picturesque views of the Old Town and the city’s iconic Cathedral Square. Its unique location, rich history and opulent décor create a sense of luxury, elegance and exclusivity, making Grand Hotel Kempinksi Vilnius ideal for leisure or business travellers. The hotel features the award winning Telegrafas restaurant, along with Le Salon Bar & Lounge, Atelier Wine Boutique and Tasting Bar, Le Café and a modern 600 sq.m. Conference Centre as well as Kempinski The Spa, our haven of exceptional relaxation and wellness.

About Kempinski: Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski’s rich heritage of impeccable personal service and superb hospitality is complemented by the exclusivity and individuality of its properties. Kempinski now comprises a portfolio of 78 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries and continues to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Each one reflects the strength and success of the Kempinski brand without losing sight of its heritage. The portfolio comprises historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts, and prestigious residences. Each one imbues the quality guests have come to expect from Kempinski while embracing the cultural traditions of its location. Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. · ·

Media contacts:
Birutė Leimontaitė · Director of Sales & Marketing
Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius
Universiteto 14 · 01122 Vilnius · Lithuania
T +370 5 220 1165 · M +370 610 880 94 ·

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