Over the weekend of Feb. 4, sommeliers and wine professionals from across the United States battled with serious decorum at the very first Best USA Sommelier competition held in Kansas City, Missouri. Competitors were tested on the traditional sommellerie disciplines of blind wine tasting and identification, food pairing, and wine service. After the demanding two-day competition, Spiaggia sommelier and DNS Wine market manager for Illinois, Dustin Chabert, finished on top to take the first-ever title.
Judging was conducted by a panel of prominent U.S. sommeliers including Doug Frost, MS, MW and Véronique Rivest, a 2013 finalist in the Best Sommelier of the World competition and the winner of the Best Sommelier of the Americas contest in 2012. Second place was awarded to Jill Zimorski, MS of Chicago. Other finalists included Maxime Blaise of New York and Paul Coker of Seattle.
Chabert will go on to compete on behalf of the United States at the Best Sommelier of the World 2019 competition taking place in Antwerp, Belgium, March 10-15, 2019.