The hunt is on for the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2015

Moët UK Sommelier of the Year

The Caterer logo 2014

12 March 2015 – The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition, widely regarded as the premier accolade in UK wine service, is now open for entries.

The competition is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK and will award its 36th recipient this year. Past winners include such luminaries of the UK wine landscape as Gerard Basset, Ronan Sayburn and Xavier Rousset. This is the fourth year that the award has partnered with Champagne Moët & Chandon.

Candidates will be judged on their wine and drink expertise as well as their ability to deal efficiently and knowledgeably with customers by demonstrating exemplary front-of-house skills.

An initial paper-based judging stage will be followed by regional heats in Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Bristol and Brighton on 11 May. Two sommeliers from each heat will progress to the finals day at a central London venue on 8 June, culminating in a gala dinner at which the 2015 winner will be announced.

To enhance the educational component of the competition, Moët & Chandon will offer national finalists the opportunity to visit the Moët & Chandon House and vineyards – a unique experience which will give the finalists a chance to learn more about the Champagne region and the Moët & Chandon champagnes.

The competition’s chief judge is Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and 2010 World’s Best Sommelier.

Basset said: “This is the competition for all sommeliers in the country. Standards are improving all the time as restaurants put more emphasis on wines and their sommeliers are expected to know far more than ever before. This competition tests all areas of sommellerie and the vast knowledge a sommelier must possess. Its winners go on to become role models for young people in the food and beverage industry.”

The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition has been organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) since 1980, and is internationally recognised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. This year, the Academy joins forces with the UK’s leading hospitality media group, The Caterer, to grow and enhance the competition.

Nick Scade, chairman of the AFWS, said: “The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year Competition is the jewel in the Academy’s crown. We are thrilled that The Caterer has joined us in a strategic partnership to help develop the competition’s status, and ensure that it remains relevant, inspires youngsters to learn about wine and wine service, and reaches an even
wider audience.”

Tim Hulme, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping, which merged with the AFWS in 2011, praised the Academy for establishing and evolving the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition.

“Its ability to organise the technical aspect of the competition, coupled with The Caterer’s expertise in organising and running flagship events, will take the competition from strength to strength,” he said.

Duncan Horton, chief executive of Travel Weekly Group, which owns The Caterer, said: “We are delighted and excited
to be working in partnership with the AFWS on this prestigious event. The Caterer’s unrivalled multimedia reach, the respect in which it is held by the industry it serves, and its long history of delivering events such as the Cateys, the Acorns and the Hotelier of the Year, will help take this important awards system from strength to strength.

“At The Caterer, we are committed to recognising, rewarding and promoting success and best practice. Our involvement with the UK Sommelier of the Year competition now enables us to extend this commitment into another part of the hospitality industry.” The Moët Sommelier of the Year award has been supported by headline partner Moët & Chandon since 2012.

Its marketing director Elsa Corbineau said: “Educating sommeliers – and rewarding them for their hard work – is something that we are dedicated to at Moët & Chandon. We are thrilled to be entering the fourth year of our partnership with the AFWS and very much look forward to working with The Caterer to further raise the profile of sommellerie throughout the hospitality industry.”

For more information, go to www.sommelieroftheyear.co.uk.

Contacts
Academy of Food & Wine Service: Daniel Moriss-Jeffery; 01276 417 896; daniel@afws.co.uk
The Caterer: Mark Lewis; 020 7881 4801; mark.lewis@thecaterer.com
Moët & Chandon: c/o Alison Mann, Emma Wellings PR; 020 8996 5168; alison@ew-pr.co.uk

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