After three very intense days for sommeliers from thirteen Balkan countries and nine guest competitors from other European countries, the Serbian Sommelier Association is proud to say that, once again, very successfully prepared and realized the competition for the best sommelier in the Balkans. Balkan Sommelier Challenge – Open Balkan 2022 was held from October 27 to 29, at the Hyatt Regency Belgrade. The gold medal this time was won by Sotiris Neofitidis, who took it from the hands of the previous winner, Vuk Vuletić from Serbia, to Cyprus.
The second place was taken by Juan Sebastian Giraldo from Hungary, while the third position went to Ivan Jug from Croatia. A special award was presented to the fourth finalist, Ellen Franzen from Sweden, who, as a guest competitor, according to the competition’s provisions, could not win. The Serbian representative, Dragiša Damljanović, showed exceptional knowledge and skills in the service and performed in the semifinals of the competition.
It is an understatement to say that these young people were brilliant in performing very demanding competitive disciplines, designed by an international jury, made up of recognized judges from eight European countries – Latvia, Austria, Iceland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Sweden and Estonia. Considering the number of participants and the complexity of the tasks set before the contestants, the Balkan Sommelier Challenge – Open Balkan 2022 has become the world’s third most important sommelier competition. Based on the work and success of the Serbian Sommelier Association, Albania, Croatia and Greece applied to be the next host, and the final decision will be made during the following year.
The general sponsor of the second Balkan Sommelier Challenge – OPEN BALKAN 2022 was Telekom Srbija. The Telekom Srbija company is the leader in the telecommunications market in Serbia, providing its users with a unique and integrated experience. Operating in Serbia under the brands mts, iris, m:SAT TV and Supernova, the company provides mobile and fixed telephony, multimedia and Internet services.