Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

AFW launches hunt for sommelier of the year

Published:  04 November, 2008

The Academy of Food & Wine (AFW) has launched a search for the UK sommelier of the year.

The Academy of Food & Wine (AFW) has launched a search for the UK sommelier of the year.

The AFW has secured a three-year sponsorship deal for the competition with Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck & Charles Heidsieck.

The competition will consist of four rounds - a paper judging followed by five regional finals which will be held in February. Fifteen of the top placed regional finalists will qualify for the semi-finals, being held at London's Tate Modern on April 29, with the three top sommeliers then competing in the final on the same day.

In front of an invited audience of around 200 people, the final is held on a stage set up like a real restaurant. One at a time each finalist has to cope with customers arriving, leaving and ordering as well as having staff to manage.

All three finalists then complete a quick-fire blind tasting and the infamous Champagne pour, where a magnum of Champagne has to be completely poured into 16 flutes without returning to any of the glasses.

AFW chief executive, Nick Scade, said: "Last year's competition was hugely successful, but we are hoping to attract a record number of entrants this year. Sommeliers play a vital part of the service restaurants offer. Not only can they guide customers towards good-value, quality wines, but their level of knowledge can assist restaurateurs in the running of their cellars and sourcing of wines."

The panel of judges is headed by the Academy's Technical Director Gerard Basset MW, MS and owner of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire.

Employers are invited to nominate a member of their staff for the competition by downloading an entry form from or by calling the Academy on 020 8661 4646. The closing date for entries is December 5.

Last year's UK Sommelier of the Year was Gearoid Devaney, head sommelier at Tom Aikens in London.