How to enter
You will need to enter and answer in no more than 200 words why you are a Sommelier, what your greatest wine experience has been to date and what winning would mean to you. You will need to submit your entry by midnight on 5 April 2023.
Please make a note of the following competition dates - candidates will need to make themselves available as shown:
The qualifying finals (London, United Kingdom)
2 May 2023 - Hilton London Metropole
Successful candidates will be invited to attend the regional finals on 2 May.
Candidates must complete a written paper, a blind tasting and practical service tasks.
The regional finals will take place in London.
Following the Regional finals, the 12 successful candidates will be invited to progress to the next stage which incorporates a trip to Taittinger in Reims (June) and the Preliminary semi-finals and finals in London (July).
The preliminary semi-finals
12 June 2023 - Berry Bros. & Rudd
The 12 successful candidates from the regional finals will be invited to attend the preliminary semi-finals in London in June. Candidates will be judged on a written questionnaire and a blind tasting test.
The Taittinger trip (Remis, France)
19 - 20 June 2023
The 12 successful candidates from the Regional finals will be invited to attend the Taittinger trip in June at Taittinger's iconic cellars in Reims, France. Candidates will attend a workshop during the trip where they will gain knowledge that will aid their progress in the competition. Candidates will benefit from this information in order to complete one of the Tasks at the Preliminary semi-finals in July.
The semi-final and the final
17 July 2023 - London Hilton on Park Lane
The 12 successful candidates from the regional finals will also be invited to attend the semi-finals and finals day in London on 17 July 2023. Candidates will be judged on a written questionnaire, a blind tasting and a practical skill.
Following a task in the morning, the top six candidates will be asked to compete for a place in the final.
The top three candidates will then compete in the final in the afternoon where, in front of a live audience, candidates will be tested both practically and orally on errors on a wine list, food and wine matching, service skills and a blind tasting.
- The competition is open to anybody in the United Kingdom who is involved in service of wine and spirits within the United Kingdom. On the date of registering for the competition in 2023 exceptionally, candidates must be able to show proof (CV, sworn statement or similar) of employment within the hotel, restaurant and catering on-trade sectors within the last three years. Those sommeliers employed in the off-trade or wine trade may still enter the competition, but will not be eligible to win the competition. Should they reach the final, they will be relegated to a runner-up award, regardless of their score in the final. For example, the role would include: choosing and buying wines, setting up a cellar, stock maintenance, categorisation of a wine list, advising customers, and decanting and serving wines, liqueurs and spirits.
- All candidates entering the 2023 UK Sommelier of the Year Competition will receive a free membership for a year of the United Kingdom Sommelier Academy, the official International Sommelier Association (ASI) representative in the UK.
- Winners of the title “UK Sommelier of the Year” will not be allowed to re-enter. Winners and candidates of any other national ASI-accredited and non accredited-competitions held in the same calendar year will be excluded from participating to the competition.
- All entries must be registered before 6 April 2023. All legitimate entrants will be required to enter through the uksommelieroftheyear.com website by midnight on 5 April 2023.
- Required knowledge: viticulture, vinification, grape varieties; compiling/categorising wine lists; English vineyards/wines; legislation relative to wines and spirits in UK; European wines and vineyards; well-known wines and vineyards worldwide; liqueurs and spirits; origin, methods of production; cellar organisation, management and stock rotation; wine vocabulary, description of basic sensations; organic and biodynamic wines.
- Candidates must wear their smartest work uniform at all stages of the competition.
- Throughout the finals, the judges will observe the appearance, performance, customer approach and commercial awareness of the candidates.
- The finals will consist of the winners of the regional finals and six of the highest-scoring runners-up across all regional finals. Automatic entry will be allowed for the two UK Sommelier of the Year 2022 runners-up (the last time the competition was held).
- The judges for the regional finals, semi-final and final will be chosen by the UKSA Board and the Head of the Technical Committee, and will include people from the hotel/restaurant/wine trade, as well as food and wine writers.
- In the event of a tie in the semi-final, the results of the tasting paper will decide the result.
- The final ranking will be based solely on the final scores. In the case of a tie, the marks of the semi-final tests will be taken into consideration.
- The decision of the UKSA Technical Committee is final.
- Entrants agree that if they are the winner of the UK Sommelier of the Year competition, they will act as an ambassador for the event for the period they hold the title, and as an ambassador for the United Kingdom Sommelier Academy more generally.
- Failure to be able to attend any stage of the competition will result in disqualification and a reserve may be asked to attend instead. (Regional Finals - April, Taittinger Trip -June, Preliminary Semi-finals - July and Semi-final/Final - July)