The 2nd Annual Somm Slam

The 2nd Annual Somm Slam
  • Hosted by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, the 2nd Annual Somm Slam will give sommeliers, so very polite by profession, the opportunity to grit their grape-stained teeth in a real-time pairing competition. Over three days, 10 sommeliers will square off to see who can create the best pairings on the fly in front of an audience at the 6th Annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) in the historic Park Avenue Armory,
    October 2 – 4.

    Somm Slam Winner
    Alexander LaPratt


    Jill Zimorski
    Alexander LaPratt


    Julian Mayor of Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel – Washington, DC
    Jill Zimorski of Volt – Frederick, MD
    Paul Einbund of Frances – San Francisco, CA
    Alexander LaPratt of DB Bistro Moderne – New York, NY
    Thomas Pastuszak of Colicchio & Sons – New York, NY
    Matthew Carroll of Rogue 24 – Washington, DC


    Somm Slam Competitors

    Name Restaurant
    Chas Boynton Dante –  Needham, MA
    Matthew Carroll Rogue 24 – Washington, DC
    Paul Einbund Frances – San Francisco, CA
    Brent Kroll Adour at The St. Regis Washington – Washington, DC
    Alexander LaPratt DB Bistro Moderne – New York, NY
    Gregory Majors Craft – New York, NY
    Julian Mayor Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel – Washington, DC
    Thomas Pastuszak Colicchio & Sons – New York, NY
    Thomas Perez Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel – Carmel, CA
    Nick Robinson Tocqueville – New York, NY
    Brooke Sabel Ninety Acres Culinary Center – Peapack-Gladstone, NJ
    Jill Zimorski Volt – Frederick, MD
  • Day One:

    Ever seen a sommelier sweat? Day 1 throws out all (okay, most) of the rules of front of house propriety in exchange for the intensity of the game show format, complete with red buzzers and a live (sommelier) studio audience. Fred Dexheimer will assume the host role (no loud tie required), leading the way as our somms are challenged with blind tastings, trivia, and a pairing showdown(they’ll have to match a variety of Artisan Wisconsin cheeses with a cabinet of wines from Sud de France, Rhone Valley, and Australia, among others.) The prize isn’t cash—it’s the right to move onto Day 2.

    Day Two:

    Only four competitors will emerge from the polite mayhem of Day 1, but those who do will have earned the right to pair a select cabinet of wines with surprise dishes prepared by notable chefs. It’s the craft of the sommelier under a microscope—and on a timer.

    Day Three:

    Day 3 features the top two competitors in the competition, pairing mavens who’ve earned the right to go mano a mano (and bottle a bottle) against their sommelier match. Tempers and temperatures might be high as the two finalists compete for the chance to win a two-week, all-expenses-paid tour of Australia's greatest wine regions, presented by Wine Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia, not to mention a year’s worth of bragging rights.

  • Apply Now to Judge!

    The Somm Slam begins with an online application with questions about work experience, pairing philosophy, and specific wine pairings.

    Applications are closed at this time.

    Judges will be selected by our committee of non-competing sommeliers and wine experts. Each Slam will be judged by an audience of approximately 40 sommeliers and wine professionals, who’ll get to drink in their peers pairings and taste dishes from Chefs R.J. Cooper of DC’s Rogue 24 and Hemant Mathur of Tulsi in NYC. And all of the judges will enjoy a free three-day pass to the ICC.

  • Somm Slam Official Terms & Conditions

    The Somm Slam is open to wine professionals including sommeliers and beverage directors. is accepting judging applications until August 23rd. Applicants must submit a completed application to be considered. Selection will be determined by and will be based on work experience, pairing philosophy, and examples of specific wine pairings. Those chosen to judge will receive a complimentary pass to all three days of the 6th Annual International Chefs Congress ($795 value). Each judge and competitor will be responsible for any and all travel and lodging expenses.

    The competition will take place on all three days of the Congress (all times subject to change):

    Sunday, October 2, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
    Monday, October 3, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
    Tuesday, October 4, 12:30pm – 1:45pm

    Competitors must be available all three days and will be asked to judge when not competing.

    During the event, 10 competitors will compete on Day 1. The top four competitors from Day 1 will advance to Day 2, and the top two competitors will move on to Day 3 of the competition. Judges will be responsible for tasting a sample of the dish and wine pairings chosen by each contestant. Judges will list their feedback on a ballot provided by, and cast their votes for the most successful pairing.

    The winner of the contest will receive a two week all-expenses-paid tour of Australia's greatest wine regions, presented by Wine Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia.

    Australian Lamb & Beef Wisconsin Cheese Nordaq Fresh
    wines of chile Rhone Valley Wines Sud de France
    Wine Australia Vineyard 7 & 8 American Estate Wines