>> Marc Almert (GERMANY)

ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019
Marc was born in Cologne (1991), completed his training in hotel management then got his first job in the field in the restaurant Ente (1* Michelin, Wiesbaden) Rheingau region, known for its Rieslings. He returned to the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg, as chef sommelier in the 2* Michelin restaurant Haerlin. In 2017 Marc moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where he is currently in charge of the wine program at the 5* hotel Baur au Lac, including the 2* Michelin restaurant Pavillon.

Inspired by his discovery of wines, Marc began training seriously and participating in various competitions. He admits to being naturally competitive, with a goal to excelling in everything he undertakes. He is an active member of Somm360° and the German-based Sommelier College, where the best German sommeliers meet colleagues and mentors, as excellent preparation for the Master Sommelier (MS) exams. 
He passed his Advanced Sommelier Exam by the Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2015 he got awarded as best Sommelier, Concours National des Jeunes Sommeliers, organised by Chaine des Rotisseurs Germany In 2016 he won the WOSA Sommelier Cup 2016 in Cape Town and the Gaggenau International Sommelier Award in Vienna. In 2017 he was awarded as Best Sommelier of Germany. 

In March 2019 Marc won the ASI – Best Sommelier of the World in Antwerp, Belgium. He is the 16th winner of the world’s best sommelier competition since the event was founded in 1969. He is also one of the youngest to take the prize, at just 27 years old. Marc was nominated as the German Candidate to participate at this world-class Sommelier Competition and he competed against 66 candidates from 63 countries. 

>> Sören Polonius (sWEDEN)
Trainer and head coach of the Swedish national sommelier team, ”Swesomm”. Wine director for the Adam/Albin Restaurant Group and proud father of two. So in short, a balance artist, managing three full time roles 24/7.

During his years as a trainer and coach, Sören has trained numerous successful sommeliers, both Swedish and foreign, in national and international competitions.
However the most important winnings was the European and the World championships, for both Andreas Larsson and Arvid Rosengren.

Besides a full time job at Adam/Albin, Hands on training of the national Sommelier team and the family commitments, Sören runs his own consultant company. Travelling around the world helping other nations training and setting up national sommelier teams. 

However, being afraid of growing moss if sitting still, Sören took on the task, of being the director of the Didactic Committee for A.S.I. (Association de la Sommelerie International) 2018. Rumor has it, that Sören has discovered the 25th and 26th hour in the day.

Sören works by an ephigraph, from the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle.  ”We are what we repeatedly do, excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

>> Gareth Ferreira (UNITED KINGDOM)
After graduating with a Travel and Tourism Diploma Gareth Ferreira worked in numerous hotels around the world including The Ritz-Carlton Naples and Doha before starting his Sommelier career in his native country South Africa.

Gareth held a Senior sommelier position at the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai as well as being Head Sommelier and Beverage manager at the 5 star Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg before moving to London in 2014. After a stint as Head sommelier at the Michelin starred Launceston Place restaurant. Gareth was assistant head sommelier at private members’ club 67 Pall Mall, serving under the leadership of Ronan Sayburn MS, who he counts as one of his great inspirations. Gareth is currently head sommelier at Core by Clare Smyth in Notting Hill which opened 2017. After opening in 2017, Core by Clare Smyth received recognition and went straight into the 2018 Michelin guide with 2 stars.

Gareth represented South Africa in the Finals of the Chaine des Rottiseurs international young sommelier competition in Athens in 2011 and won the 2016 South African Sommelier of the year competition qualifying him to compete in the 2016 A.S.I Best Sommelier in the World Competition in Mendoza.

Gareth passed his Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced exam in 2012 and is currently preparing for the Master Sommelier Diploma.
2016 - Judge for the Decanter World Wine Awards
2017 – runner up Moët & Chandon UK Sommelier of the Year


>> James Tidwell MS (usa)
Tidwell is Beverage Manager with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Co-Founder of TEXSOM; Producer of the TEXSOM International Wine Awards; and Publisher of the magazine Sommelier. James has achieved numerous accreditations and serves the food and beverage industry through his positions on Boards of Directors for education and certification organizations. In 2005, James co-founded TEXSOM, the premiere professional beverage education conference in the country. Also in 2005, James was elected to the Society of Wine Educators Board of Directors in which capacity he served three terms. Currently, he serves on the Boards of Directors for the Court of Master Sommeliers – Americas and for the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation; and, serves on the Advisory Councils of the Specialty Tea Institute and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. In 2009, James passed the prestigious Master Sommelier examination. In addition, he has attained certifications in various areas of thebeverage industry, including the Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust; Certified Wine Educator from the Society of WineEducators; Certified ea Specialist from the Specialty Tea Institute; and, Certified Sae Professional from the Sake Education Council. Previous to entering the wine business, James graduated Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in International Trade and Finance and the Culinary Institute of America, earning a degree with Honours. He has been nominated the past fie years for a James Beard Foundation Award in the categories of Outstanding Wine Program 2011-2014 and Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional in 2015.

>> Will Predhomme (CANADA)
Will Predhomme’s career began in the hospitality industry in his teenage years as a cook in Windsor Ontario Canada. Fast forward 10 years & Will was leading one of Canada’s most respected wine programs, at Oliver & Bonacini’s Canoe Restaurant & Bar. Will also managed the group beverage training & education programs until starting Predhomme Inc. in 2013.  Will’s work experience includes Canadian & Global brands such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Harrah’s - Caesars Entertainment, & the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Will was awarded Best Sommelier in Ontario in 2010, & represented Canada at the Meilleur Sommelier du Monde in Tokyo Japan in 2013.  Will is producing wine under the North Shore Project label in Ontario as well as Pearce Predhomme Wines in Oregon.  In the media, Will hosts of the Wine Basic’s Video Series produced by The Globe & Mail, Canada’s largest daily newspaper. Will holds the Advanced certificate through the Court of Master Sommeliers & is an educator at the University of Guelph (Ontario).

>> Ronan Sayburn MS (UNITED KINGDOM)
Ronan was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire and has been involved in the wine business for nearly 20 years.  His previous experience includes Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, Pied à Terre and wine merchant OW Loeb.    He worked for the Gordon Ramsay group as Executive Head Sommelier for 8 years, mainly in the 3 Michelin star Royal Hospital Road plus created the wine lists and trained wine service teams for Claridgethe Connaught, the Savoy, Boxwood Café, Maze and several overseas operations. He was also at the Greenhouse restaurant (which has the UK’s largest wines list of 3,400 bins) and the Director of Wines and Spirits for the Hotel du Vin group (14 hotels). Also as the Head of Wines for the prestigious Dorchester Collection UK that consists of the Dorchester, Coworth Park and 45 Park Lane (with the 3 Michelin starred Alain Ducasse restaurant and Wolfgang Pucks restaurant – Cut).   Currently he runs his own consultancy and wine training company The RS Wine Academy. pecialising in managing private portfolios, wine training to the trade and public and wine events. He also acts as the COO for the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe and as Head of Wines for the private members club 67 Pall Mall.  He is also a Master Sommelier, previous winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year competition and competed twice representing the UK in the European Sommelier Competition.   When not drinking wine Ronan runs marathons and can be found deep diving shipwrecks from the south coast of England.