The winner of The Ruinart Challenge this year is Gareth Ferreir (pictured), of 67 Pall Mall. Ferreira took top spot out of 18 UK sommeliers.
The challenge is a training and mentorship programme that is run together with the Court of Master Sommeliers. This consisted of a training day at Moët Hennessy UK with Ruinart's cellar master Frédéric Panaïotis. They were joined by the Ruinart Challenge Day Jury, namely Gérard Basset OBE MS MW MBA and Ronan Sayburn MS.
Panaïotis led the sommeliers in a technical training session, and attendees were tested with a blind tasting of four Chardonnays.
Ferreira will go on an educational trip to Champagne with Panaïotis in July, together with challenge winners from other countries.
'Ruinart is committed to supporting the global sommelier community through career development and further education,' said Panaïotis. 'Each participant demonstrated their knowledge and passion on the subject highlighting that champagne is not just a pleasure but also an artifact of skilful craftsmanship and heritage.'
Basset added: 'Training within the industry is vital and The Ruinart Challenge is a sensational initiative due to both its networking opportunities and access to the well-known faces in the sommelier world – the benefits of this programme are invaluable. We were highly impressed with the calibre of participants in the challenge this year and delighted to see the high level of competition in London.'
The two runners up in the challenge were Antonin Dubuis of The Greenhouse Mayfair, and Julia Sewell of The Fat Duck, who each took home a magnum of Ruinart Rosé.