London-based sommelier wins prestigious scholarship to visit New Zealand

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Drinks: Wines

Promotional body New Zealand Wine has awarded young sommelier Melania Battiston the prestigious New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship.

Battiston is currently head sommelier at 28°-50°, in Maddox Street, Mayfair, and is the scholarship’s only UK-based awardee.

Together with the 17 other winners from all corners of the world, she will be offered an intense 11-day programme of tasting, including the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough and the Chardonnay and Sparkling Wine Symposium in Gisborne.

‘I’m really looking forward to the trip,’ Battiston said. ‘There’s so much more to New Zealand than Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.’

Her decision to apply for the scholarship sprung from her interest in getting an insight into the country’s lesser-known wine regions. She told Imbibe that ‘things like Kiwi Chardonnay or even Syrah are incredible value for money, and can represent an ideal alternative to classic Burgundy, which is skyrocketing in price’.

New Zealand Wine’s global marketing director Chris Yorke said: ‘At the end of their experience we hope the scholars will share personal wine discoveries and insights from their trip with their customers and the wider sommelier community – something we simply cannot replicate in a classroom. We look forward to them becoming true ambassadors for New Zealand wine.’

Battiston is planning to make the most of the trip. ‘After my return I’m going to organise themed tastings, masterclasses and hopefully I’ll even be able to bring some winemakers to the UK,’ she said.

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