Baltic Wine Forum + Awards Ceremony

March 1, Friday, at 10.00-18.00

Art Academy of Latvia, Riga, Kalpaka bulvāris 13, 2nd floor hall

Language: English

79 EUR, or free entrance for Baltic Wine List participants


  • Registration

    Tea, coffee, champagne, networking

  • Morning session: Wining & Dining

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    Opening remarks | Aigars Nords, founder of Riga Wine & Champagne

    Aigars Nords is wine lover & entrepreneur, the first in the Baltics to acquire WSET Diploma in 2010. Since Aigars set up Riga Wine & Champagne festival in 2012, the festival has grown into a grand celebration of fine wine & champagne, and includes Latvia’s most anticipated tastings & events – Top 101 Wines + Chefs, Wine of the Year competition, Bubble Parade at the National Museum of Arts, Baltic Wine List Awards.

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    My perspective on Wining & Dining | Ian D’Agata, Italy

    Ian D’Agata is one of the world’s leading wine authorities, a wine writer and author of internationally renowned books, Creative Director of the Collisioni Wine & Food Project, Scientific Director of the Indigena Festival, Director of the Italian International Indigenous Center for Wine & Food Studies (3iC) and Senior Editor of VINOUS. In 2016 Ian was nominated in France as one of the eight most important wine writers in the world by Les Plumes d’Or, the prize awarded in Paris in France, and promoted by the most famous wine producers of France and the Chefs des Grandes Tables du Monde association.

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    Behind the scenes of 67 Pall Mall | Ronan Sayburn MS, UK

    Ronan Sayburn MS is the Head of Wine at 67 Pall Mall, London private members’ club for wine lovers with possibly the world’s greatest wine list, and the COO for the Court of Master Sommeliers Europe. Ronan’s previous experience includes Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, Pied à Terre, the Gordon Ramsay group as Executive Head Sommelier for 8 years, as well as the Head of Wine for the prestigious Dorchester Collection UK, which consists of the Dorchester (home to the 3 Michelin star Alain Ducasse restaurant), Coworth Park and 45 Park Lane. He is a previous winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year competition, and has represented the UK in the European Sommelier Competition twice.

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    Making Fine Wining & Dining Work | Piotr Pietras MS, Poland

    Piotr Pietras MS is the best Polish Sommelier of 2015 & 2016, and the 2nd best at A.S.I. Best Sommelier of Europe competition in Austria in 2017. Piotr is originally from Kołobrzeg, Poland. Starting his career near his home town in the Sheraton Poznan Hotel, Piotr moved to the five-star City Park Hotel & Residence, where he developed one of the biggest and most diverse wine lists in Poland. He moved to London in 2013 to take the position of assistant head sommelier at Corrigan’s Mayfair, before moving onto the Michelin-starred Maze by Gordon Ramsay, then head sommelier at Launceston Place in 2015, and as director of wine at the famous Hide in 2018.

  • Wining makes the world go round

    Discussion by Ian D’Agata + Ronan Sayburn + Piotr Pietras

  • Light lunch with Amber Beverage Group’s wines

  • Afternoon session: Who’s the boss here?

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    Rise of Wining & Dining in Russia | Ekaterina Yatsenko, St. Petersburgh

    The Chef-Sommelier in Aram Mnatsakanov’s restaurants. Presides over 6 projects in Saint Petersburg and the flagman Italian restaurant "Probka on Tsvetnoy" in Moscow; has taken part in the wine list’s development for the first Aram Mnatsakanov’s European restaurant "Mine&Wine" in Berlin, Germany. In charge of the private import for the restaurant group and other wine projects, including making wine list concepts, staff training for restaurants and arranging enogastronomic tours. In 2018, awarded as The Best Sommelier In Saint Petersburg by "", the most influential magazine in the city. In the same year, was in top five best sommeliers in the "Where to eat" wine award.

  • Some of the best talent in business are Ladies | Discussion by Ekaterina Yatsenko, Marika Tikas (Noble Rot), Linda Karpenko (Vincents)

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    I did it my way | Michael Sager, UK

    Michael Sager’s passion for wine started in San Francisco, where he spent two years living. He worked under award-winning sommelier Raj Parr, where he learned the variances between the different wines. Since moving back to the UK, he has overseen institutions including Milk and Honey and Quo Vadis. In 2012, he opened Sager and Wilde, which currently has two establishments, both of which have received a prestigious 3 Star Award from World Of Fine Wine. He has won various key industry awards for his success in wine, including UK Sommelier of the Year, GQ and World's Best Restaurant Bar Winner, Tales of the Cocktail 2018. Michael's latest opening is Fare Bar + Canteen, with Marcis Dzelzainis, and is a multifunctional space split across two floors offering an intimate cocktail and wine bar and restaurant serving a selection of modern seasonal plates.

  • What’s hot for 2019? | Sommeliers’ Top Wine picks

  • Closing remarks and brake


  • Baltic Wine List Awards Ceremony in association with Cross Keys Gin

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    What’s up with wine friendly restaurants in the Baltics? | Aigars Nords, founder of Baltic Wine List Awards

  • Conversing with the Jury | Raimonds Tomsons, Aigars Nords, Arūnas Starkus, Kristjan Peaske, Michael Sager

    Raimonds Tomsons is the Head Sommelier and CEO of Vincents restaurant in Riga, Latvia, one of the top restaurants in the Baltic countries. In 2017 Raimonds won the title of The Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa. Raimonds is a Board member of the Latvian Association of Sommeliers, Jury member of Latvia’s Wine of the Year competition, The Head of Jury of Baltic Wine List Awards

    Arūnas Starkus is one of the founding fathers of Lithuanian wine scene - he set up Lithuania’s Sommelier Association and founded the Sommelier School alongside his duties of running a successful wine importing business Vyno Klubas, and organizing Wine Days exhibition. Arunas is also studying for Master of Wine qualification.

    Kristjan Peäske is partner of Leib and Umami restaurants in Tallinn, Estonia. He started his career as a maître d’ at Pädaste Manor on the island of Muhu, worked in 5* hotels across Estonia and won a number of sommelier competitions (Estonia’s best sommelier, Baltic’s best sommelier) before opening Leib in 2011 and Umami in 2014. Kristjan is former Vice-President of Estonia’s Sommelier Association.

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    Baltic Wine List Awards Ceremony

    Followed by Gin & Tonic with Cross Keys Gin

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