Almert, who won Best Sommelier of Germany in 2017, took the prestigious world title competing against 65 other sommeliers from 63 different countries. Originally from Cologne, he is currently in charge of the wine department at five-star hotel Baur au Lac‘s two-Michelin-star restaurant Le Pavillon in Zurich, Switzerland.
During the competition, the 66 sommeliers were tasked with a range of tests, including written exams and tastings. The top 18 were selected for the semi-finals, and just three competitors moved on to compete in the finals at the Elisabeth Centre in Antwerp.
Alongside the competition, the candidates were able to take part in more than 10 masterclasses, with topics ranging from viticulture to winemaking, and ancient grape varieties to old vintage-focused tastings.
The two runners-up were Nina Højgaard Jensen from Denmark (Best Sommelier of Denmark 2017 and Best Young Sommelier of Europe 2016) and Raimonds Tomsons from Latvia (Best Sommelier of the Europe and Africa 2017). Eric Zwiebel, 45, was the only representative from the UK; Zwiebel is currently in charge of the wine department at the Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Dorset.