Jeunes Sommeliers Competition - Judges

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Profiles of this year's Panel
" We are certainly indebted to Salvatore and his team for all their efforts and professionalism "

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to our panel of judges.

We are certainly indebted to Salvatore and his team for all their efforts and professionalism ensuring that the Semi-final and Final were faultless in their organisation and implementation.

Marie Jones
Chair, Jeunes Sommeliers Competition Committee
International Vice-President

Salvatore Castano - Maître Sommelier, Bailliage of Great Britain
Salvatore started to work in hospitality as a summer job in Sicily at the age of 15. After graduation, he made the decision to travel and work at restaurants around the world. By working in several top hotels and restaurants, Salvatore says he naturally became very curious about wines and spirits. He decided to take few courses and improve his knowledge. When he arrived in London, Salvatore encountered Sommeliers who had already started the Court of Master Sommeliers programme and so his rise through the ranks commenced. He recently earned the title of ASI Best Sommelier Europe & Africa. Despite being only the 14th person to achieve the title, Salvatore’s humility continues to resonate. It was his gracious nature, and self-effacing humour that won over the crowd at the final of the contest held in, Limassol Cyprus.

Virginia Philip MS - Échanson Provincial, Bailliage Provincial of Southeast, USA
Virginia is The Breakers’ wine director who owns and operates an eponymous wine shop in Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach, Florida. In 2002 she became the 11th woman in the world to earn the coveted Master Sommelier accreditation. Virginia has received numerous accolades during her career. Of particular note from 2002-2006, she was named “Best Sommelier USA” by the American Sommelier Association. In 2015, Virginia received an Honorary Masters Degree in Oenology from her alma mater, Johnson & Wales.

Maximilian Wilm - Maître Sommelier, Bailliage of Germany
Since participating in the 2017 International Final of the Chaîne’s Jeunes Sommeliers Competition, in 2019 Maximilian won the title of “Germany’s Best Sommelier” in the national competition organised by the Sommelier-Union Deutschland. Furthermore, he came a creditable 6th in the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa 2021 held in Cyprus. Maximilian is Sommelier at Kinfelts Kitchen & Wine in HafenCity, Hamburg, not far from the Elbphilharmonie.

Gašper Čarman - Échanson, Bailliage of Slovenia
The owner of Gašper Wines, Gašper Čarman has been twice awarded Best Sommelier of Slovenia (2013 and 2015). He has finished WSET 4 level diploma and in his second year of studying for the Master of Wine qualification. From an early age Gašper was working in the family-owned restaurant. This was when he fell in love with wines. In 2004 he started his own business selling wine leading to creating his own wine brand in 2013.

Lisbon, October 16-20, 2024

International Final 2024

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Slovenia did us proud!

International Final - Ljubljana (Slovenia), September 15-16, 2023

Profiles of the fourteen who participated

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