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Best Sommelier of Europe attends Sommelier Spring Class


Raimonds Tomsons, awarded "Best Sommelier of Europe" in 2017 and "Seventh-best Sommelier of the World" in 2016, attended this year's Sommelier Spring Class (#SSC17) at the invitation of Wines of Germany (Deutsche Weininstitut, DWI).

The Latvian sommelier is famous among wine professionals. In May he now received a warm welcome and a large round of applause from over 40 colleagues of 14 countries who congratulated him on the award when they gathered in Germany on the occasion of the Sommelier Spring Class (SSC17 on Facebook).

The blond and reserved Northern European star sommelier admits, however, that it's not that easy to be in the spotlight. But whoever spends some time with Raimonds Tomsons soon finds out about his excellent understanding and knowledge of wines, his personal drive and his inspiring professional ambition. The new European champion once graduated from the tourism academy in Riga and has been working for the restaurant Vincents for 17 years. "Wine is simply my favorite subject", Tomsons explains. "Sommeliers should not only have an understanding and knowledge about wine, they should also enjoy serving wine with style and communicating elegantly with guests. It's all about combining your theoretical and practical knowledge about wine and people", he adds.

Tomsons and over 40 sommelier colleagues of 14 countries met in Germany this May to participate in the training program 'Sommelier Spring Class' organized by the DWI. The objective of the program is to enhance sommeliers' knowledge and understanding of German wines and provide in-depth information about the 13 wine-growing regions in Germany. The visit program started Friday evening, 19th May 2017, with a tour to Schloss Vollrads which is one of the oldest wineries in Germany. Rowald Hepp, Managing Director of Schloss Vollrads, was glad to speak about the remarkable history and success story of Riesling produced in the renowned Rheingau vineyards.

Later on, Steffen Schindler, marketing director of Wines of Germany (Deutsches Weininstitut, DWI), presented basic facts on German wine. Among other topics, he reported on the development of German grape varieties, the impacts of climate change and growing import markets for German wine such as the United States, northern Europe and Asia.

Germany developed from a country that formerly produced sweet wines into a wine country internationally appreciated for its dry wines today, Schindler says. "We are thankful for our cool and moderate climate which is a great advantage", he points out with a view to rising temperatures and climate change. He also refers to German red wines which have become more and more a talking point among wine professionals worldwide.

Further items on the SSC 2017 agenda

On Friday participants of the Sommelier Spring Class paid a visit to Hochschule Geisenheim University for a lecture given by professor Hans Joachim Schultz and Jürgen Hammer. In the afternoon they took a boat trip on the river Rhine from Geisenheim to Bacharach and met with young winemakers of the initiative 'Generation Riesling' for a wine tasting. They also visited a winery situated in the Mittelrhein region. Grand finale in the evening was the spectacular Ball of Wine in Wiesbaden.

Sunday and Monday saw various small groups of participants travel to German wine-growing areas where they could go deeper into specific subjects such as "Organic, orange, vegan or natural - The future of wine?", "Pinot Paradise" and "The Road to Riesling".

The Sommelier Spring Class was rounded off by a joint final evening with all groups held at winery Weingut Rappenhof. Sommeliers had the chance to exchange impressions and views on 'wine country Germany' in a convivial atmosphere.

Wine expert Tomsons then closed the intensive information days with a toast. He swirled his glass, sniffed the wine for quite a long time, checked color and consistency and took a large sip. "Riesling is simply my favorite grape variety", he said and smiled.

Sommelier Spring Class 2017, #SSC17

Sommelier Spring Class 2017, #SSC17

Sommelier Spring Class 2017 at Hochschule Geisenheim University #SSC17

Sommelier Spring Class 2017, #SSC17

Sommelier Spring Class 2017, #SSC17