For the 40th consecutive year, a UK Sommelier of the Year has been crowned. This year’s competition was won by French-born Romain Bourger, head sommelier at the Vineyard in Stockcross! He was joined on the podium by South African Gareth Ferreira and Alan Bednarski, originally of Poland. The contest is intended to identify the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and spirits knowledge and front-of-house beverage skills. The three finalists had to complete a series of challenging tasks on stage with a high level of complexity. Among their tasks: dividing a magnum of Taittinger evenly between 19 glasses.
The UK Sommelier of the Year competition has been running since 1980 and in that time has recognized the UK’s best-known and most lauded sommeliers, including Ronan Sayburn and Xavier Rousset. Those two wine luminaries sat on the jury for this event, joined by another former winner of the title, Nicolas Clerc, who also happens to be the current president of the UK Sommelier Association (The Academy for Food & Wine Service). The event, which was held at London’s Savoy hotel with 15 instead of the previous 12 finalists, was organized by the UK Sommelier Association and The Caterer.