(Decanter, May 2023) After working front of house for two decades at Vincents restaurant in Riga, Raimonds Tomsons is now wine director at Barents Wine Collectors in Latvia. In 2019, he came third in the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest; in February 2023 he took first place.
‘I came into the world of wine by accident. I planned to study foreign languages but didn’t qualify for university and had two options. Go into the army – because in Latvia at the end of the 1990s, you had to do military service – or train as a bartender. After that course, I got a job as a restaurant trainee and stayed at Vincents for 20 years until 2019. That’s where I found my passion for hospitality, great dining – and wine.’
‘My first wine memory is Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay. I wondered how it could smell of butter, banana and pineapple. That was one of the first international wines I ever tasted. I hadn’t been exposed much to wine at that point, but it was easy to understand.’
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