The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) has revealed the names of the sommeliers going through to the semi-finals of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014.
Having triumphed at the regional finals held recently at Bristol, two London venues and Stafford, the 2014 semi-finalists are as follows:
- Loic Avril, The Fat Duck, Bray
- Romain Bourger, The Vineyard at Stockcross, Newbury
- Lukasz Kolodziejczyk, Pollen Street Social, London
- Olivier Marie, Coq d’Argent, London
- Stefan Neumann, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
- Adam Pawlowski, Northcote, Blackburn
- Emanuel Pesqueira, Summer Lodge, Dorchester
- Damien Trinquel, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham
- Roberto Zanca, Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham
They will be joined by Tobias Brauweiler, The Ritz, London (2013 runner-up), Kathrine Larsen (2013 Young Sommelier of the Year), and Tanguy Martin, Hotel TerraVina, Southampton (winner of 2014 Chaînes des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier of the Year).
Moët & Chandon marketing director Elsa Corbineau said: “The standard of this year’s regional finalists was extremely high and we are particularly pleased to welcome back some of last year’s entrants, but it’s also rewarding to see some new sommeliers coming through as they start to climb the ranks of their profession.”
This is the third year that Moët & Chandon has sponsored the competition, and the first time the Champagne House will take all 12 semi-finalists to its cellars in Epernay for an in-depth tour and tasting of past vintages with Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez.
In addition all the sommeliers who entered this year’s Moët UK Sommelier of the Year have been invited to a lunch hosted by the London Wine Fair at Olympia on June 2, 2014.
The 12 sommeliers will now compete in the semi-finals at London’s Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park on June 12, 2014, which will see them whittled down to just three.
The final three will contest the grand final in the afternoon, in front of an audience of invited guests.
The panel of judges at the semi-finals and final will be chaired by Gerard Bassett OBE, MS, MW, MBA and winner of Best Sommelier in the World 2010 .
Now in its 35th year, the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition seeks to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and spirits expertise, ability to deal with customers under pressure, and front of house beverage service skills.
Last year’s winner was Clement Robert, head sommelier at Medlar Restaurant, London.
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014 will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Maison Moët & Chandon to taste the Grand Vintage collections with chef de cave Benoît Gouez, followed by a gourmet dinner at Moët’s Château de Saran.
The winner also receives the Boutinot bursary, which this year includes a study visit to Piedmonte in Italy accompanied by Clement Robert and Boutinot’s master sommelier Nigel Wilkinson.
All three finalists will be given a 12-month complimentary membership of The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom, including an invitation to its annual winter banquet held at Vintners’ Hall in London, the historic home of the UK’s wine trade.
Additional sponsors include: Riedel; The Westbury Hotel, London; Hotel du Vin, Bristol; and the Moat House, Stafford.