Chicago-based Dustin Chabert has claimed the first-ever “Best USA Sommelier” title. Chabert, sommelier at Spiaggia restaurant and DNS Wine market manager for Illinois, took first place in the two-day competition in early February.
Following a thorough first-round theory competition in January, the top four candidates competed in-person in Kansas City. A panel of prominent U.S. sommeliers conducted the judging, including Doug Frost, MS, MW and Véronique Rivest, former finalist in the Best Sommelier of the World 2013 in Tokyo and winner of the Best Sommelier of the Americas contest in 2012.
Finalists included Chicago-based Jill Zimorski, MS; New York-based Maxime Blaise; and Seattle-based Paul Coker. Zimorski took the second place award.
Chabert will be the first competition winner to compete as the U.S. delegate to the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) “Best Sommelier of the World 2019” competition in Antwerp, Belgium, March 10-15, 2019.
The 2019 Best Sommelier of the World competition will include 66 candidates representing 63 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. The winner holds the title for three years; the reigning Best Sommelier of the World is Arvid Rosengren of Legacy Records in New York.