Blog: Yohann Jousselin – UK Sommelier of the Year 2011

Yohann Jousselin prepares for the champagne pour

Last week, at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel, Yohann Jousselin won the Academy’s prestigious UK Sommelier of the Year 2011. Yohann, who is head sommelier at the Vineyard at Stockcross, tells us how he felt going into the competition and the pressure he was under to win, having been the runner-up in 2010.

“This year I felt very confident and motivated going into the competition. Having come third in 2009, and then second last year I was much more relaxed and prepared. It was very important to me to win this award. I felt it was the next stage in my career having won the ‘Young UK Chaine des Rotisseurs Sommelier of the year’, ‘Young International Chaine des Rotisseurs sommelier of the year’ and my Master Sommelier qualification in 2009. I felt I had to do well this year.

After coming second last year I really felt that people would be expecting me to do well and I didn’t want to disappoint them. This year I started my preparation earlier – and gave myself five months to study for the competition including blind wine and spirit tasting in normal and black glasses and a lot of hours of studying late at night after service. I visited a lot of vineyards throughout the year mainly the regions that I didn’t feel as confident with.

I have also worked very closely with many of the top sommeliers which, has also helped me to boost my confidence. I felt very relaxed and calm during the competition, of course I was a bit stressed which unfortunately lead me to make a few little mistakes that I wouldn’t normally make.

It is a great feeling to have won the title I feel very relieved – it is something that I have wanted for a long time. I would encourage any young sommelier to enter the competition.”

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