Where are the Best Sommeliers in Dalmatia? Dubrovnik!

Lauren Simmonds

On Thursday, May the 18th 2017, at the Hotel Park in Split, the premiere of the ”Sommelier of Dalmatia” was held as part of a conference consisting of top wine-lovers and experts.

As DuList reported on the 23rd of May, 2017, two of the three finalists have seasonal addresses at the beautiful Proto and Nautika restaurants in Dubrovnik, which suggests that Dubrovnik as a destination understands the significance of this field and is therefore raising its general level of service in its regard. Proto and Nautika are long standing ”giants” of the Dubrovnik restaurant scene and are often referred to as two of the ”go to” spots for fine dining in the city and surrounding area.

The winner of the contest was Sinsa Lasan, a sommelier from Proto, and second place was taken by Marko Sram from Nautika. The third place was won by Branimir Vuksic from the well known Pelegrini restaurant in the coastal town of Sibenik.

This kind of competition requires a high level of concentration since it is a full-day, totally concentrated test. Candidates first must take a written test in which overall knowledge of both Croatian and international varieties of grapes and wines, wine regions, wine legislation and other professional topics related to the subject at hand is tested. Then there is a ”blind tasting” of wine and a practical section in which participants must demonstrate the skill and expertise in their daily work and their general behaviour in front of their guests.

Three of the most successful entries in the finals then go on to compete in time-limited skills: the opening and serving of sparkling wines for which they have 3 minutes available, the decanting of wines for which they have 7 minutes available, the blind tasting of three wines and three strong alcoholic beverages within 3 minutes and the correction wine tickets within a time limit of 3 minutes. The final discipline is the one which perhaps requires the most skill and the most absolute concentration from the participants, it involves correct magnum bottles (1.5L) in a certain number of glasses, the level of poured wine in all the glasses should be exactly the same and the bottle should remain empty.

Sommelier’s competitions are an opportunity to promote the profession as well as raise awareness of the importance of improving service in this field, especially in cities and towns which rely so heavily on tourism, such as Dubrovnik. Therefore, it is no surprise that the overall wish at the end of the competition was to organise the next event next year in the home of Proto and Nautika – Dubrovnik!


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