2019: Maximilian Wilm wins the German WoSA Sommelier Cup

Cologne/Baden-Baden, July 2019 – South Africa congratulates Maximilian Wilm on winning the "WoSA Sommelier Germany" title. Wilm won the German semi-final of the prestigious Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup. In an exciting finale, Maximilian Wilm overtook Angelika Grundler and Marco Gulino to gain first place. The 31-year-old works at Kinfelts Kitchen & Wine and is looking forward to participating in the international finals and to visiting the wine regions of South Africa. The successor to Marc Almert, reigning World Champion (ASI) and WoSA Sommelier Champion 2016, will be decided in Cape Town on 21 September. 
Maximilian Wilm won the German semi-final of the WoSA Sommelier Cup and was awarded the WoSA Sommelier Germany 2019 prize. He impressed the jury with his extensive knowledge of South Africa and his dedicated service to the guest. Angelika Grundler (Landgasthof Paradies, Frickingen) came in second. Marco Gulino (Hofgut Ruppertsberg) was awarded third place. A total of six finalists qualified for the WoSA Sommelier Cup Germany finals. 
Among the first well-wishers was the six-member jury: Peer F. Holm (President of Sommelier-Union Deutschland e. V.), Marc Almert (Best Sommelier of the World 2019 [ASI]), Jo Wessels (Best Sommelier South Africa 2018, Top-25 -Sommelier [ASI, 2019]), the experienced Sommelier competitors Christina Hilker (Sommelier-Consult) and Thomas Sommer (Sommelier-Union Deutschland e. V.) and Cape Wine Master Peter Gebler (IWI, International Wine Institute).
The German WoSA Sommelier Cup was aimed exclusively at sommeliers working full-time in gastronomy. 30 people applied this year and 19 were admitted. The competition was divided into two rounds: a written preliminary deciding round, which qualified the six best for the practical testing section, and a second round that focused on professional practice. The contestants had to taste wines blind, describe them in a well-substantiated manner, and make appropriate food recommendations. Professional practice played an important role, including business topics and guest service. Their craftsmanship and their demeanour as a host were evaluated. Parts of the exam had to be in English, which was particularly intended as optimal preparation for participating in the international finals in Cape Town. 
21 September 2019 – the Grand Finale in Cape Town   
The successor to Marc Almert, international winner of the WoSA Sommelier Cup, will be decided in Cape Town on 21 September 2019. At the grand finale, 31-year-old Maximilian Wilm will meet the best sommeliers from Africa, Asia, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and the USA. The best of these countries will be judged by an expert panel of renowned and competitive sommeliers from Germany, the UK, Sweden and the South African Sommelier Association (SASA). Marc Almert, WoSA Sommelier Champion 2016, is looking forward to travelling to South Africa again and experiencing the competition from the perspective of a juror. 
With this professional competition, the South African Wine Export Association is creating an attractive incentive to engage more intensively with the wine country of South Africa. As a reward for taking time out from their work to participate, the finalists will be invited on an excursion to the wine regions. This excursion will be taking place for the first time this year following the finale. Petra Mayer, Market Manager of WoSA Germany: "For the contestants, this means a bit more preparation effort, but then the wine tour will also be a real reward for all contestants. Freed from any competitive pressure and rivalry, they can enjoy their time in South Africa, making personal contacts in a more relaxed setting, discussing things more openly with international colleagues and winemakers – and, of course, celebrating the champion!"
(from right to left) Petra Mayer, Wines of South Africa Market Manager, Peer F. Holm (President of Sommelier-Union Deutschland e.V, Marc Almert (Best Sommelier of the World 2019), Christina Hilker, Maximilian Wilm (WoSA Sommelier Deutschland 2019) Thomas Sommer, Jo Wessels, Peter Gebler 
(from left to right) Maximilian Wilm (WoSA Sommelier Germany 2019), Petra Mayer (WoSA Market Manager Germany), 
The WoSA Sommelier Cup has been held every three years since 2010 by the South African Wine Export Association, Wines of South Africa. This year, a total of 498 sommeliers participated worldwide. Compared to the last competition in 2016, the number of contestants has more than doubled. 
The six contestants in the semi-finals of the WoSA Sommelier Cup
• Marco Gulino, Hofgut Ruppertsberg
• Angelika Grundler, Landgasthof Paradies
• Julian Grunwald, Le Ciel, Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden
• Connor Münster, Restaurant Le Flair
• Martin Süß, Süssmund
• Maximilian Wilm, Kinfelts Kitchen & Wine
(alphabetical order)
Further information and pictures from the WoSA Sommelier Cup: