Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix 2006 took place

In the evening of October 14th the best sommelier of the Baltic States in 2006 was selected in club Astoria Palace in Tallinn. Urvo Ugandi from the restaurant Balthasar won the high level Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix contest that was held for the first time. The second place in the contest of the best sommeliers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was taken by Gints Sniedzele, a representative of Latvia and the third was Estonian Kristjan Markii.
The president of the world wide association of sommeliers, Kostas Touloumtzis also attended the contest and he served as a member of the jury in the Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix 2006 contest organized by Estonian Sommelier Association and Liviko.

The results of the written test and practical task were added and based on that the top four participants were determined who made it to the final. Gints Sniedze (Latvia), Urvo Ugandi (Estonia), Kristjan Markii (Estonia) and Marko Hark (Estonia) participated in the final.

The four finalists competed in a very tense final round that required profound knowledge of sommeliers. The following areas were tested.

Blind Degustation:

– degustation of 2 wines (one red and one white)

– blind degustation of 3 strong alcohols


Sommelier was required to degustate and describe the specified wines. Also 3 different alcoholic beverages were on the table next to each other and the task of the sommelier was to identify the beverage and to name the manufacturer as well.

The following beverages were included in the blind degustation.


1. Riesling Kabinett 2003 Joh.Jos.Prüm, Germany

2. Shiraz 2002 Fairview, South-Africa


1. Ouzo by Metaxa

2. Vana Tallinn 50%

3.Hennessy VSOP

Correcting an inaccurate wine card.

An inaccurate wine card was given to the sommeliers and they were asked to make their corrections. Included were 2 champagnes, 2 white, 4 red and 2 dessert wines.

Offering beverages with a given menu.

Here the participants’ knowledge of pertinence of the food and wines were tested. All the drinks of the formal dinner menu were considered from the appetizer and water to the digestive and cigars.

Cigar recommendation.

Introduction of the content of an unknown box of cigars, description of the products and recommendations to the customers.

Cigar selection of the contest:

1. Trinidad Robusto Extra

2. Monte Cristo No.2 Pyramid

3. Hoyo de Monterey Robusto

4. Cohiba Petit Corona

5. Davidoff Special Culebra

6. Questa Rey Pyramid

7. Padron Imperial Robusto Extra Nicaragua

8. Davidoff Corona

Serving champagne (determining the places from 5 to 8).

Participators were these contestants who did not make it to the final to determine the order of the places from 5 to 8. All four contestants competed at the same time in champagne serving for accuracy and time. It was important to fill 9 glasses in one level to each glass and to pour just one time. The bottle must have remained empty and drink in the glasses as equally as possible.


1. Arminas Darasevičius (1980) /Lithuania/ Wine Club, 3^rd place in Lithuanian best sommelier contest in September 2006.

2. Dainius Vasiliauskas (1976) /Lithuania/ Wine restaurant „Petit Marseille“, „Saint Germain”, the Best Lithuanian Sommelier in 2006.

3. Aigars Lukstiņš (1968) /Latvia/ Wine shop “Vīna Vārti”, 3^rd place in Latvian best sommelier contest in March 2006.

4. Gints Sniedze (1979) /Latvia/ AS Interbaltija AG, the Best Latvian Sommelier in 2006.

5. Jānis Kaļķis (1973) /Latvia/ Restorānu Servisa Skola, 2^nd place in Latvian best sommelier contest in March 2006.

6. Kristjan Markii (1977) /Estonia/ Restoran Balthasar, got 3^rd place in sommelier contest in Estonia in May 2006.

7. Marko Hark (1978) /Estonia/ Dunkri Kaubanduse AS, got 2^nd place in sommelier contest in Estonia in May 2006.

8. Urvo Ugandi (1974) /Estonia/ Restoran Balthasar, got 1^st place in sommelier contest in Estonia in May 2006 and at the same time is 4-time the best Estonian sommelier.

The jury of the contest:

1. Mischa Billing, Secretary General of the International Association of Sommeliers, Head Judge of the contest

2. Pekka Mustonen, the President of the Finnish Sommelier Association

3. Romāns Komars, member of the management of the Latvian Sommelier Association

4. Kostas Touloumtzis, the President of the International Association of Sommeliers

5. Jurgis Šliogeris, member of the management of the Lithuanian Sommelier Association

6. Kadri Kroon, the President of the Estonian Sommelier Association

7. Matti Timmermann, member of the management of the Estonian Sommelier Association



1. URVO UGANDI (Estonia)



4. MARKO HARK (Estonia)

5. JĀNIS KAĻĶIS (Latvia)




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