Marc Almert, world’s best sommelier, discusses Austrian wine

The man named last year as the Best Sommelier of the World by the International Sommelier Association (ASI),  showcased wines from Austria at a special Vinexpo event.

Organised by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, the Discover Austria’s Wine masterclass highlighted the many regions and types of wine that Austria has to offer at a time of growing interest from the public.

Contestants were given tips by Almert on how to taste wines

“I think Austria has really come a long way in the last couple of decades. To me it’s really interesting to see there are many different grapes on offer,” said Almert. “There are many whites and reds, and you have many interesting sweet and rose wines, and the quality to price ratio is really good. They’re good for sommeliers and wine buyers to put on their lists. On many of the key estates you’re seeing the second and even the third generation coming up and so they’re at an interesting point in their development.”

Almert said the Zurich hotel where he works as head sommelier, the Baur au Lac, which includes the Pavillon restaurant, offers several Austrian wines, including some by the glass. Certain Austrian wines, he said, can be enjoyed in their youth while also having great ageing potential: “We definitely see a growing interest, especially in the red wines and sparkling wines. They’re more established and popular in Switzerland because many guests know Austria from their skiing holidays and want to enjoy Austrian wines when they’re back at home.”

All the wines at the event were from exhibitors who were on site, so attendees were able to visit their stands to taste some more.

Almert’s diary during the three days of Vinexpo Paris was a full one and Discover Austria’s Diversity was not the only event in which he took part. He was also hosting the Vinexpo Challenge, during which participants attempted to identify wines by grape variety, country of origin and vintage. Almert gave tips on how to approach a blind tasting.

The wine expert’s schedule has been full for most of the past year since he was named Best Sommelier of the World in early 2019. “It’s been a very exciting year with a lot of travelling and a lot of chances to discover new people. It’s been a really fascinating years,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a very exciting time because the nice thing about the wine world is that it never stands still.”

“We see new wine regions entering the market, including China and others, some with a long wine-growing history – Eastern Europe, Portugal and Greece. As any industry, we always face challenges, but we have enough dynamism to face the challenges and turn them into opportunities,” concluded Almert.

Photo: Marc Almert, named last year as the Best Sommelier of the World by the International Sommelier Association (ASI)


Le Pavillon is gourmet restaurant in the heart of Zurich. As one of the top restaurants in Switzerland, the restaurant boasts two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points awarded to Chef Laurent Eperon.


The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) participates in all events related to wine, spirits and other drinks, and runs a competition to find the World’s Best Sommelier.

France will host the next Best Sommelier of the World Contest from 8-13 May 2022.