The ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 competition has recently been announced as taking place in Antwerp, Belgium, on 11-15 March 2019. Sommeliers Australia has the opportunity to send potentially two sommeliers to compete* on the international stage, against sommeliers from Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania.

This is the first time that Sommeliers Australia has held a National Sommelier Selection Process, outside of our tri-annual Best Sommelier of Australia competition. The NSSP has been initiated to allow the best possible candidate(s) to represent Australia at a global level prior to Sommeliers Australia hosting the ASI Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania in 2021.

Highly qualified Australian sommeliers interested in testing their skills and knowledge at an international level are invited to take part in the NSSP, which will be conducted in two stages during November 2018. The best NSSP candidate will be offered the opportunity to travel to Antwerp, to compete in the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 competition for Australia, with flights and on-ground costs (during the competition period) covered by Sommeliers Australia and ASI.

Conducted by the Sommeliers Australia Education Committee, the NSSP will rigorously assess individual performances in areas of service, tasting and knowledge that are required at the highest echelons of the profession.



*Sommeliers Australia has two candidates taking part in the ASI Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania Competition 2018 in Kyoto, Japan (15-18 October 2018) – Mattia Cianca or Banjo Harris Plane. If either of these two wins the regional competition they will automatically receive a position at the World competition.

The NSSP winning candidate will then become Sommeliers Australia’s second candidate in the World competition.

Entry Criteria

To qualify for the Competition, potential candidates must:

  • be a current ‘Sommelier’ member of Sommeliers Australia
  • be actively working in the hospitality industry
  • have completed at least WSET Level Four (Diploma), CMS Advanced or have equivalent industry experience
  • be available to attend both stages of the NSSP assessment.


NOTE: To compete in ASI regional and international competitions all candidates representing Australia must have been working in Australia for 3 or more years consecutively, and must compete in a second language – either English, French or Spanish.


Registration to Compete

All candidates wanting to undertake the NSSP must register their intent to sit the Stage 1 Assessment Exam in their State by completing the online registration/application form. Registrations must be submitted by midday on Monday 15 October.


CLICK HERE for the NSSP registration form

Stage 1 | Entrance Examination

Open to all candidates who qualify for entry, the Stage 1 of the NSSP will be a written exam. Stage 1 exams will take place in each State where a candidate has registered their interest.

Theoretical knowledge will be tested in areas of viticulture, viniculture, laws and regulations, global awareness of regions and producers, wine list corrections, spirits, beers and other beverages.

Prior to Stage 1, each candidate will receive a competition number and all exams will be marked using this number; papers will be judged anonymously to ensure impartiality.


Stage 2 | Tasting, Theoretical & Service Assessment

Based on the results of Stage 1, the top 5 performers will undertake Stage 2 tasting, theoretical and service assessment. Stage 2 will be completed over the course of one day, in a State and venue to be advised. Top 5 candidates required to travel from interstate, will have their return flights covered by Sommeliers Australia.

Stage 2 will include: a written exam requiring more detailed knowledge of the above-mentioned subjects; a tasting assessment of wine, spirits and liqueurs; and a practical element.

Candidates will need to dress professionally (either in a suit or work uniform) and provide their own equipment as required for service in a restaurant: wine knife, matches, pens and paper. Equipment will be provided for a decanting assessment.

In the case of the top 2 candidates achieving equal scores, they will undergo a knockout stage of testing – tasting or service – yet to be determined by the Judging Committee. All candidates will be advised of the format for the knockout stage prior to the commencement of Stage 2.



The best performing NSSP candidate, as determined on point scores for each Stage section, will be selected to compete as a ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 candidate, travelling to Antwerp as part of Sommeliers Australia’s delegation.

Judging Committee

The Sommeliers Australia Education Committee is charged with developing the content and assessing the candidates at all stages of the competition. The members of the Committee are:

  • Chris Crawford – Sommeliers Australia Co-President and Education Committee Chair
  • Sarah Andrew – Sommeliers Australia Co-President
  • Benjamin Hasko MS – Sommeliers Australia National Executive Committee
  • Jonathan Ross MS – Sommeliers Australia Victorian Committee

Key Dates

  • Registrations close: midday Monday 15 October 2018 (online)
  • Stage 1 | Entrance Examination: Monday 12 November 2018
    (held in each State where a candidate has registered)
  • Entrance examination assessments completed: Friday 16 November 2018
  • Top 5 candidates notified: by Monday 19 November 2018
  • Stage 2 | Tasting, Theoretical & Service Assessment: Tuesday 27 November
    (State & venue to be confirmed once Stage 1 assessments completed)


For any queries please contact Executive Officer, Imbi Knappstein via email – [email protected]