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Welcome to the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year website where you’ll be able to find everything you need to know about the competition.

The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition is organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service and has been running since 1980.

Past winners include some of the UK’s best-known sommeliers including Gerard Basset, Ronan Sayburn, Alan Holmes, Matt Wilkin, Gearoid Devaney and Laura Rhys – to name just a few.

Many of our past winners took part in the competition for several years before they finally won it including last year’s winner, Tanguy Martin.
Taking part is a great education in itself – and of course, if you get through to the final or even win, it’s a fabulous way to boost the profile of yourself and the establishment you work for.

The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK and all entries must be supported by their employer. Once you’ve registered, you will be sent a first round questionnaire. Only those achieving at least 75% on the questionnaire will get through to the regional finals.

The regional finals are to take place in March 2016 and to be held in four locations – Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, and London – and entrants will undertake a written paper, a blind tasting and an oral service element. The three highest scoring entries will then complete in two practical service elements and an oral food and wine matching sessions.

The five regional winners and the five highest scoring candidates, the 2015 runner up and the Chaine de Rotisseur winner then make up the 12 candidates who will be invited to Epernay on the 28th and 29th April before competing in finals in London at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hyde Park on 16th May 2016.


The 12 sommeliers who will be taking part in the finals of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year Competition 2016 have been named.

Organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) and The Caterer, the awards test the UK’s sommelier talent regionally, before inviting a dozen exceptional candidates to a final day of competition.

The winners of the five regional heats held in Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, and London earlier this week will be joined by the next five highest-scoring candidates from all heats, as well as the competition’s 2015 runner-up, Maze head sommelier Arnaud Baudry, and the winner of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier Competition, Romain Bourger, head sommelier, The Vineyard at Stockcross.

The finalists are:

Scotland Regional Final Winner

Ladislav Basta, head sommelier, The Kitchin

North of England Regional Final Winner

Tamas Czinki, head sommelier, Northcote

West of England Regional Final Winner

Christopher Parker, assistant head sommelier, Lime Wood

London Regional Final A 

Serdar Balkaya, head sommelier, Royal Automobile Club

London Regional Final B

Mathias Camilleri, head sommelier, The Five Fields Restaurant

Regional Finals Runner’s Up

  • Remi Fischer, head sommelier, Old Course Hotel
  • Terry Kandylis, head sommelier, 67 Pall Mall
  • Jess Kildetoft, head sommelier, Mash London
  • Olivier Marie, head sommelier, Coq d’Argent
  • Petri Pentikainen, sommelier & assistant restaurant manager, The Three Chimneys Restaurant
  • Neils Sluiman, assistant head sommelier, Restaurant Sat Bains

Automatic buy through’s to the finals

  • Romain Bourger, head sommelier, The Vineyard at Stockcross, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier Competition winner

All 12 will be attending an educational trip to Epernay courtesy of Moet & Chandon for an in-depth tour and technical tasting. As well as learning from the celebrated Champagne house’s winemakers, they will complete a task for the final too, which will be help on 16 May at The Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park.

At the final the sommeliers will complete three tests, before being reduced to six. After more assessments, the six will be whittled down to three, who will compete in the grand final that afternoon in front of an audience of invited guests and a judging panel chaired by Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS, winner of the 2010 Best Sommelier in the World competition and the recipient of the inaugural Wine and Spirit Ambassador Award at the 2014 Cateys.

Academy of Food & Wine Service executive director Suzanne Weeks said: “This week’s regional finals once again demonstrated the skills, depth of knowledge and passion for wine that Sommeliers in the UK possess. The rounds were tough and tested their knowledge, it will prove to be an exciting final on the 16 May in London where they will battle it out for this year title.”

Chair of the judges Gerard Basset added: “The regional finals of the UK Sommelier of the Year 2016 have provided us with some great winners and runners up from what were truly highly disputed competitions.  That augurs well for the grand Final on the 16 of May.”

The winner will benefit from mentoring programme and an all-expenses-paid educational trip to one of Europe’s top vineyards provided by Matthew Clark. Prizes also include an engraved Riedel decanter and a collection of Riedel glasses.

Julie Nollet, marketing and communication director, Moët Hennessy UK, said: “Our four years of working with AFWS for this competition has shown us that the UK has some of the highest standards of sommellerie of anywhere in the world. Our mission is to enhance the learnings and experience that every entrant – no matter which stage of the competition they reach – takes away with them, and we’re very pleased to be able to do this again for the fifth year.”

The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2016 is also supported by AdVini, BaxterStorey, Hildon, Matthew Clark and Winterhalter.

Now in their 37th year, the awards are run by the Academy of the Food and Wine Service (AFWS) and The Caterer, and is internationally recognised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). They seek to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and spirits knowledge, and front of house beverage skills.

Read the full report, to see what the competition involves! It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn, network and grow as sommelier:

The Caterer logo 2014

2015 Grand Final

Tanguy Martin - Sommellier of The Year 2015

Picture: Gerard Basset and Tanguy Martin of Hotel TerraVina


To view the tweets, search #moetsommelieroftheyear

Check out the event on Facebook:

Enjoy all of the photos on Flickr:

Keep up the studies and we look forward to your entries!

Suzanne Weekes
Executive Director, Academy of Food & Wine Service

Telephone: 07771 998112