7th January, 2013 by Gabriel Stone
The Academy of Food & Wine Service has opened entries for the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013.
Last year’s winner, Jan Konetski
Sommeliers and wine waiters from across the UK’s restaurants, pubs and hotels are eligible to enter the competition, which is now in its 34th year and was won in 2012 by Jan Konetzki of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
Judged by a panel chaired by current world champion sommelier Gerard Basset MS MW, the competition aims to find the UK’s top wine waiter or sommelier, assessing not only their product knowledge, but also ability to deal with customers and front of house service skills.
The first round requires competitors to complete a written questionnaire by 15 February, with the top scoring candidates then invited to compete in regional finals on 25 March before the semi-final and final take place on 28 May at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London.
The winner will receive a trip to Moët & Chandon’s cellars in Epernay, including a tasting with cellar master Benoît Gouez, an estate tour with vineyard manager François Lhotte, as well as a food and wine pairing experience at two Michelin-starred restaurant Trianon. In addition, the Boutinot Bursary will fund an all-expenses paid trip to the Southern Rhône during the 2013 harvest.
Highlighting a number of recent developments, AFWS executive director John Croft remarked: “The competition has really broadened in appeal over the past few years,” adding: “The tasks not only test wine expertise, but competitors’ service skills, personality and general drinks knowledge too.”
Emelie de Vitis, marketing manager for sponsor Moët & Chandon, explained the house’s support for the competition, saying: “Sommeliers who successfully show their knowledge of, professionalism in and enthusiasm for wine deserve the recognition and rewards that this competition gives.”
Previous winners of the competition include Master Sommeliers Yohan Jousselin, Gearoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset. For profiles of some of the UK’s brightest young sommelier talent, click here.