Written in conjunction with Yohan Castaing.
After being runner-up in the last two contests to be crowned best sommelier in the world, Paulo Basso of Conca Balla in Vacallo on the Swiss-Italian border won the keenly fought 2013 contest in Tokyo today.
He succeeds the first-ever UK winner Gérard Basset MW MS OBE who won in Chile where the contest was last held in 2010 and told me about his successor's performance in the competition, 'he was brilliant'. You can see all winners here. While Basset won after being runner-up twice, Paulo Basso was a runner up three times, having nearly won the crown in Montreal in 2000. (The contest is held every three years.)
For the first time ever this year, one of the runners up was - a woman! Véronique Rivest of Canada and Aristide Spies were the two 2013 runners-up.
I am indebted to Yohan Castaing for reminding me that today was the day of the finals and for telling me that one of the favourites, the Japanese candidate, was eliminated on the first day. Each participating country chooses a candidate, though French-born candidates are common. Australia, for instance, was represented by Frenchman Franck Moreau.