Fancy yourself the best somm you know? Entries are now being accepted for the 26th UK Sommelier of the Year competition, giving you the opportunity to prove it.
This annual competition singles out the sommelier with the greatest wine and drink expertise in the UK, over a series of challenges. There's a questionnaire, followed by regional finals on 14 March that include a written paper, blind tasting and a number of service tasks, before a trip to Epernay courtesy of sponsor Moët & Chandon. The semi-final and final will take place on 16 May in London.
Last year's winner, Tanguy Martin of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire (pictured top with chief judge Gerard Basset MW OBE), said that while it's a challenging competition that requires dedication, 'every moment is worth it'.
He said: 'The Sommelier of Year competition is a real experience. From the moment you enter it, the journey starts and doesn't stop. When I competed for the first time in 2012, I have to admit that I was a little scared about it and lacked some confidence. However, after the first session, I really understood the concept; it’s not about being the best which matters, but giving the best you can.
'When you are preparing for the competition, you are learning every day. You will be tasting new wines and products and discovering new regions. Take this opportunity to meet new people who will teach you, train you and support you. This will not only increase your knowledge, but also your passion for wine.'
The winner will enter a mentoring programme with the UK's best sommeliers, and also receive a Matthew Clark bursary that includes an all-expenses-paid study trip to a wine region.
You can now enter online – competitors must be nominated by their employer or manager. The deadline to complete and return the first round questionnaire is 26 February.