Medlar's Clement Robert: winner of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013

Medlar’s Clement Robert: winner of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013

Clement Robert, head sommelier at Medlar Restaurant, London, has won the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013 following a closely contested final yesterday [28 May].

Second was head sommelier at The Ritz, Tobias Brauweiler, with Kathrine Larsen of Zuma third.

Organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), the exciting day of competition at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park saw 15 quarter-finalists whittled down to six semi-finalists who then competed for three places in the final.

In front of a live audience the three top sommeliers were put to the test with a blind tasting, a task involving correcting errors on a wine list and a food and wine matching exercise. In a nail-biting final the three were finally judged on the infamous perfect Champagne pour where they had seven minutes to pour a magnum of Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne equally into 16 glasses without returning to any of them.

Winner Clement Robert, 27, from Normandy in France, took the title on his fifth year of trying – having been a finalist in 2012 and 2010. Following the announcement he said he felt a “sense of relief to at last win after attempting it many times. It is a dream come true”.

Clement spent five months preparing for the competition and confesses to enjoying pushing himself and keeping up-to-date with the wine world. He attended catering school in France for three years and joined Hotel du Vin at the age of 20 after which he went to Summer Lodge in Dorset where he worked with 2004 winner Eric Zwiebel, whom he describes as his mentor.

Chief judge and technical director of AFWS Gerard Basset OBE, MS, MW and owner of Hotel TerraVina, Hampshire, said: “The competition this year was incredibly close but Clement’s Champagne pour won it for him. It was a confident performance from a very knowledgeable, competent sommelier who set a high standard all round.”

Now in its 34th year the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition seeks to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and drink expertise, ability to deal with customers, and front of house service skills.

Elsa Corbineau, marketing director for sponsor Moët & Chandon, said: “Clement Robert is a thoroughly deserved winner after a tough – and exciting – day of tasks, trials and tricky restaurant scenarios. As the long-term sponsor of both the European and World Sommelier competitions, we see the highest standards of sommellerie around the globe and the quality of entrants in the UK thoroughly lives up to these. The art of service and wine knowledge is increasingly important across the hospitality industry – something that we at Moët & Chandon are dedicated to supporting and promoting.”

Clement wins a unique trip to Maison Moët & Chandon to taste the Grand Vintage collections with chef de cave Benoît Gouez and a hand-crafted and engraved silver Jeroboam of Moët & Chandon. He also received a stunning Riedel Tyrol Decanter, a collection of Riedel Vinum glasses and a Magnum of 2009 Domaine Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Cairanne. He will also have the opportunity to stay as a guest of Domaine Boutinot at their vineyard in the Southern Rhône valley during the 2013 harvest.

The two runners-up receive an engraved magnum of Moët & Chandon Imperial NV, an engraved Riedel O Decanter with Vinum glasses and a finalist certificate.

The six semi-finalists will be given a 12-month complimentary membership of The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom, including an invitation to its annual winter banquet held at Vintners’ Hall in London, the historic home of the UK’s wine trade.


For further information or to organise an interview with the winner, please contact:
Academy of Food & Wine Service
Linda Pettit T.
01342 832866, M. 07973 789853

Möet & Chandon
Emma Wellings, Emma Wellings PR
T. 020 8747 9592, M. 07802 224144





Loic Avril, The Fat Duck, Bray [SEMI-FINALIST]

Romain Bourger, The Vineyard at Stockcross, Newbury

Tobias Brauweiler, The Ritz, London [FINALIST]

Remi Fischer, Gleneagles, Perthshire

Michael Jenni, Launceston Place, London

Lukasz Kolodziejckyk, The Fat Duck, Bray

Kathrine Larsen, Zuma, London [FINALIST]

Olivier Marie, Coq d’Argent, London [SEMI-FINALIST]

Tanguy Martin, Hotel TerraVina, Hampshire

Stefan Neumann, The Fat Duck, Bray

Marcin Oziebly, Albert Square Chop House, Manchester

Mark Perlaki, Hotel du Vin, Harrogate

Laurent Richet, Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham [SEMI-FINALIST]

Clement Robert, Medlar Restaurant, London [FINALIST]

Stuart Skea, 21212 Restaurant, Edinburgh



The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year, run by the Academy of Food & Wine Service, is now in its 34th year and has become one of the most prestigious and sought-after titles for sommeliers and wine waiters working in the UK.

Initial judging is a written questionnaire of wine-related questions testing their knowledge of wine production, grape varieties, wine-producing areas of the world, service knowledge and practical knowledge. Entrants who achieve a 75% pass mark go through to the regional finals.

There were five regional finals this year, held in London, Tunbridge Wells, Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester on 25 March 2013. From this just 15 sommeliers qualified for the semi-final.

The 15 semi-finalists are whittled down following a series of high-level tasks including a wine tasting, knowledge questionnaire, a series of snappy questions and a service skills test.

The remaining six sommeliers complete a further task from which the three finalists are chosen. The three in the grand final each complete a series of tasks including a blind tasting, identification of errors on a wine list and a food and wine matching exercise. Finally, the infamous Moët & Chandon perfect Champagne pour, where the finalists have to pour a magnum of Moët & Chandon Champagne equally into 16 glasses without returning to any.


• Chief judge – Gerard Basset OBE, MS, MW, 2010 World Sommelier Champion, technical director of the AFWS and owner of Hotel TerraVina, Hampshire

• Ronan Sayburn MS, head of wines, Dorchester Collection UK, Chairman of the UK Guild of Wine Service

• Mark Lewis, editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper

• Joseph Rorke, account manager, Moët Hennessy

• David Williams, wine correspondent, The Observer

• Nigel Wilkinson, Boutinot Wines


The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), established in 1988, is the professional body for food and beverage service. It is dedicated to improving the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice, raising standards across the industry and encouraging teamwork with other colleagues. AFWS can offer advice and training to anyone following, or considering, a career as a sommelier, wine waiter, waiter, bar manager or restaurant manager.


Moët & Chandon has been the champagne of success and glamour since 1743. Renowned for its achievements, firsts and legendary pioneering spirit, Moët & Chandon is the Maison that introduced champagne to the world. Synonymous with the most venerable of traditions and the most modern of pleasures, Moët & Chandon has celebrated life’s most triumphant moments with grandeur and generosity for nearly 270 years.


Moët & Chandon shares the magic of champagne with the world, offering a range of unique wines for every occasion, mood and palate. From the iconic Moët Impérial to the Grand Vintage Collection, the extroverted Moët Rosé Impérial to the innovative Moët Ice Impérial, each champagne dazzles and delights with bright fruitiness, a seductive palate and an elegant maturity.