Local sommelier takes top honors at national competition

The awards keep coming for local somm phenom Andrey Ivanov, who took home the top prize at the highly regarded Chaine de Rotisseurs Young Sommeliers Competition in Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 15.

The two-day competition started with nine regional competitors, but only three, including Ivanov, moved on to the final rounds, which were held in front of an audience of 80 people including judges and fellow competitors.

“It is a big honor to bring the trophy back to St. Louis,” Ivanov said. “This was the last year I was eligible to compete, so it’s a nice way to go out. It opens the door for other St. Louis talent.”

Normally Ivanov would go on to compete at the international competition in Adelaide, Australia, but due to a recently added bylaw, the Chaine de Rotisseurs only allows first-time national winners to vie for top international honors. Ivanov tied for first with New York City sommelier Jane Lopes last year.

After departing Santa Barbara, Ivanov landed in Aspen, Colo., where he sat for the service and tasting portion of the Master Sommelier examination on Tuesday, May 19. Ivanov passed the service portion and will sit for the tasting examination in 2016.

“My goal for this year is to taste a lot of wine,” said Ivanov. “It’s a huge, huge, huge relief and weight off my shoulders to have passed the service portion. Next year, I just have to go into a room and dominate. I’m set up with a good tasting group here in St. Louis. We all know where we need to go and can help each other get there.”

Upon returning to St. Louis, Ivanov plans to put his experience to good use when he and Matt Daughaday open Reeds American Table in Maplewood this July.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking