Due to the Australian Government Stage 3 response to COVID-19, candidate registration for Best Sommelier of Australia has been extended once again.

Registration now closes 5pm, Friday 15 May.

The Stage 1 | Entrance Exam has also been rescheduled for Monday 22 June (should Government advice allow).


The Best Sommelier of Australia 2020 competition is an endeavour to highlight the exceptional service and knowledge standards achieved by the professional sommelier community working within Australia.

Conducted by the Sommeliers Australia Education Sub-Committee every three years, the competition will rigorously investigate individual performances in areas of service, tasting and knowledge that are required at the highest echelons of the profession.



To qualify for the Competition, potential candidates must:

  • be a current ‘Professional’ member of Sommeliers Australia*
  • be actively working as a sommelier in the hospitality industry
  • have completed at least WSET Level 3, CMS Advanced, or have equivalent industry experience
  • provide a current CV outlining relevant employment and education information
  • be available to attend all stages of the competition process.


NOTE: To compete in ASI regional and international competitions (i.e. ASI Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania 2021 competition) all candidates representing Australia must have been working in Australia for 3 or more years.


* In the case of current extenuating financial circumstances: Any sommelier in a legitimate position to compete in the Best Sommelier of Australia 2020 competition (all other criteria are fulfilled) but not able to renew/purchase a Professional membership, is asked to email Imbi Knappstein at [email protected] with a copy of their current CV, to discuss options available to them.



Candidates must indicate their intent to compete by registering to sit the Stage 1 | Entrance Exam in their home State by completing the online registration/application form. Registrations must be submitted by 5pm, Friday 15 May 2020.

As part of the registration process, it is strongly recommended that applicants take part in one of the now postponed Sommelier Competition Q&A sessions being held in Sydney and Melbourne (once dates have been rescheduled).


CLICK HERE to submit your registration




Sommelier Competition Q&A with Peer F. Holm – POSTPONED

A free Sommelier Competition Q&A session to be held in Sydney and Melbourne, have unfortunately been postponed.  It is hoped that these dates can be rescheduled in time for Best Sommelier of Australia candidates to take part.

Hosted by Peer F. Holm (President of the Deutsche Sommelier Union and ASI competition judge), these Q&A sessions give Sommeliers Australia members the opportunity to meet and discuss with Peer the working details of competing in a sommelier competition. With German sommelier Marc Almert winning ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019, Peer is well placed to offer tips and tricks to those wanting to compete at national and international levels.


Stage 1 | Entrance Examination
Monday 22 June – in each State where a candidate has registered

Open to all candidates who qualify for entry, Stage 1 of the competition will be a written exam and tasting assessment. This stage will take place in each State where a candidate has registered.

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.

The tasting assessment will be two wines served blind. Beyond a qualitative assessment, and commentary on serving conditions (glassware, temperature, appropriate food) the Education Sub-Committee will be looking for as much detail as to the identity of the wine; variety, country, region, vintage, producer.

At the examination, each candidate will receive a competition number upon registration and all exams will be marked via this number; papers will be judged anonymously to ensure impartiality.


Stage 2 | Semi Final
Date to be confirmed – to be held in Melbourne

Based on the results of the Stage | 1 Entrance Exam, the top 12 performers will compete in the Stage 2 | Semi Final in Melbourne. The top 12 candidates will be responsible for their own travel arrangements, however flights and 2 nights’ accommodation and breakfast (for interstate candidates), plus lunches in Melbourne will covered by Sommeliers Australia.

Stage 2 assessment will include a written exam requiring more detailed knowledge of the above-mentioned subjects, further tasting assessments with the addition of spirits and liqueurs, and conclude with a practical element.

The sommelier profession requires so much more than detailed product knowledge; a great sommelier has poise and grace of movement, engaging communication skills, and the ability to sell an experience. Each candidate will be asked to present and serve a bottle of wine to a table of five guests. The candidate will then be given a wine to assess verbally, looking for the same conclusions as in previous tastings. This stage is about articulation of what each candidate sees in the glass and should be approached in the way as participants would ordinarily communicate to their customers.

Candidates will need to provide some of their own equipment as required for service in a restaurant: wine knife, matches, pens and paper. Equipment will be provided for a decanting assessment.


Stage 3 | Final
Date to be confirmed – to be held in Melbourne

The three best performing candidates of the Stage 2 | Semi Final round will move on to the Stage 3 | Final round. This stage is focused on practical elements and tasting. In a mock service setting, each of the candidates will be required to provide further decanting service, Champagne service, food and wine matching advice, wine assessment and spirit tasting.



The best performing candidate in the Stage 3 | Final round will be selected as the Best Sommelier of Australia 2020.

They will go on to represent Australia at the New Zealand Sommeliers & Wine Professionals Annual Competition in Auckland and the ASI Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania 2021 competition  in Australia.



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

The members of the Sub-Committee are:

  • Chris Crawford – Sommeliers Australia Co-President and Education Sub-Committee Chair
  • Sarah Andrew – Sommeliers Australia Co-President
  • Matthew Brooke – Sommeliers Australia National Executive Committee
  • Liam O’Brien – Sommeliers Australia National Executive Committee
  • Kim Bickley – Sommeliers Australia NSW Committee
  • David Lawler – Sommeliers Australia President 2014-2018 and industry expert


KEY DATES (as of 1 April 2020)

Friday 15 May Registrations close 5pm (online)
Monday 22 June Stage 1 | Entrance Exam, held in each State
Friday 3 July Stage 1 assessment completed
Tuesday 7 July Stage 2 | Semi Final Top 12 candidates notified
Date TBC Stage 2 | Semi Final candidates arrive in Melbourne
Date TBC Stage 2 | Semi Final assessment
Date TBC Stage 3 | Final assessment and
Best Sommelier of Australia 2020 announcement lunch



For further information please contact Sommeliers Australia via [email protected]


Sponsorship opportunities for the Best Sommelier of Australia 2020 competition are available. Please contact [email protected] to request information.