Updated: Jun 28
Yesterday was a daylong competition that included challenging blind tastings of classic wines, as well as fortified wines from around the world, and even aged spirits; a tough theory examination that required intimate knowledge of wine grapes and regions, famed and lesser-known, and also spirits, cocktails and even cigars; and a high-paced service exam. After nine hours of exams during which the six finalists competed in French, Spanish and English (but not in their own native language), six judges chose a new U.S. national champion sommelier: Mark Guillaudeu.
Guillaudeu will represent the United States in the world competition being held in Paris in 2023. Because the United States must be prepared for any eventuality (especially in the continuing pandemic era), two runners-up were chosen as well. First runner-up is Dustin Chabert, the previous U.S. national champion. The second runner-up is David Bérubé
The judges: Cheryl Stanley (Cornell University), Andrey Ivanov MS, Alejandro Ferris, Doug Frost MS, MW, Evan Goldstein MS and Sara d'Amato.
The 2022 competition was held in Hermann, MO, one of the most important 19th century American wine regions. Indeed, the competitions took place in the historical cellars and the old grounds now owned by the Hermannhof Winery but created by George Husmann, a foundational figure in American wine, in both Missouri and Napa Valley.
Throughout, the competitors, judges and professional sommeliers acting as support staff were fed by famed chef Bernie Lee of St. Louis's Akar Restaurant (https://akarstl.com)