How to enter
Please note: you need to be nominated by your employer or manager to enter the competition.
You will need to send in your current CV 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 CV and nomination from your current employer by midnight on 9 March 2020.
Please make a note of the following competition dates - candidates will need to make themselves available as shown:
The Regional finals (London, Manchester & Bristol, UK)
Friday 24 April 2020
Successful candidates will be invited to attend one of the regional finals on Friday 24 April.
Candidates must complete a written paper, a blind tasting and practical service tasks.
The regional finals will take place in London, Manchester and Bristol.
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 (22 & 23 June) and the Preliminary semi-finals in London on 6 July & the finals on 20 July.
The Taittinger trip (Reims, France)
Monday 22 & Tuesday 23 June
The 12 successful candidates from the Regional finals will be invited to attend the Taittinger trip on 22 & 23 June at Taittinger's iconic cellars in Reims, France. Candidates will attend a workshop during the trip where they will gain knowledge and skills crucial to their progress in the competition. Candidates will need this information in order to complete one of the Tasks at the Preliminary semi-finals on 6 July.
The preliminary semi-finals
Monday 6 July
The 12 successful candidates from the regional finals will be invited to attend the preliminary semi-finals in London on 6 July. Candidates will be judged on a written questionnaire and a blind tasting test.
The semi-final and the final
Monday 20 July 2020
The 12 successful candidates from the regional finals will also be invited to attend the semi-finals and finals day in London on Monday 20 July 2020. 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 the final the winner must hold evidence of a contract of employment that clearly demonstrates that they are employed in a full-time capacity in the hotel, restaurant or catering on-trade, and they must be able to demonstrate that they hold that position. 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.
- 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 competitions held in the same calendar year will be excluded from participating to the competition.
- Entry is by nomination only and each candidate may only be nominated by one sponsor, as stipulated on the previous page.
- All entries must be registered before 9 March 2020. All legitimate entrants will be required to submit their CV and nomination from their employer, which must be returned by midnight on 9 March 2020.
- 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 five of the highest-scoring runners-up across all regional finals. Automatic entry for:
- The two UK Sommelier of the Year 2019 runners-up
- 2020 Chaine de Rotisseurs winner
- The judges for the regional finals, semi-final and final will be chosen by 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 panel 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.
- 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 - 24 April, Taittinger Trip - 22 & 23 June, Preliminary Semi-finals - 6 July and Semi-final/Final - 20 July)