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After a selection process lasting several months, nine candidates were shortlisted for the European Champagne Ambassadors’ Awards. From the shortlist of nine different nationalities, Stefan Metzner, a sommelier and the founder of the Weininstitut in Munich, was crowned the 2018 European Champagne ambassador, raising Germany to the top spot on the podium.
The Belgian Kristel Balcaen, a sommelier, writer and educator in Gand, was the runner-up, while the Special Prize went to Italy’s representative, Pietro Palma, who owns a wine business and is an educator in Prato in Tuscany.
During the knowledge tests held on 8 November in Epernay, Stefan Metzner spoke about the topic of ‘disgorging and measuring’ with technical skill and precision. The judging panel was won over by his in-depth knowledge of Champagne wines and his practical demonstration. This is the second time that a German has won the European Champagne Ambassadors’ Award, following Ingeborg Aug’s success in 2007.
The presidents of the joint trade body, Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barrilère, and the chair of the judging panel, Sébastien Moncuit, Champagne Mailly Grand cru cellarmaster, presented the awards at a prestigious event held at Mailly Champagne and attended by wine industry professionals. They also praised the quality of all the candidates.
Following 12 years of competition, the national and European Champagne Ambassadors form a network of passionate educators who convey their knowledge of champagne worldwide and hold a large number of training sessions every year.