Entries are now open for the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2018, the awards that recognise the finest talent in wine service.
Organised by The Caterer, in partnership with the Academy of Food and Wine Service, the competition is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK.
This is the first year of a new partnership with Champagne Taittinger for the Sommelier of the Year, which is widely regarded as the premier accolade in UK wine service. Past winners number some of the industry's leading lights when it comes to wine knowledge, including Gerard Basset, Ronan Sayburn and Xavier Rousset.
Candidates are judged on their wine and drink expertise as well as their ability to deal efficiently and knowledgeably with customers by demonstrating exemplary front of house skills.
Last year Five Fields head sommelier Mathias Camilleri impressed the judges with his breadth of wine knowledge, confident performance and ability to control the stage under the significant pressure of the live final.
Entries are paper based, before four nationwide regional heats in Manchester, Bristol and London on 4 April. The closing date for entries is 12 March 2018.
Two sommeliers from each heat will progress to the finals day which is held in front of a live audience at the Savoy hotel in London on 16 July.
The 2018 event is held in partnership with Champagne Taittinger who will bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and prestige to the competition.
All finalists will win a trip to Taittinger's iconic Cave in Reims, while the final six will be given a year's complimentary membership to the Wine Guild of the UK and will be invited to attend its Annual Winter Banquet at the Vintners Hall.
Riedel will provide a pair of glasses for the regional winners and they will also provide a decanter for the three finalists.
Family Taittinger UK director Kevin McKee said: "Champagne Taittinger is delighted to be supporting the best talent in the wine service industry as headline sponsorship of the UK Sommelier of the Year competition.
At Taittinger we're passionate about supporting the development of young professionals and promoting high standards of service amongst sommeliers and wish all applicants the best of luck for 2018. We look forward to seeing who will win at this year's prestigious award."
The Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2018 is sponsored by Eurocave Professional, UCC Coffee, Robert Welch, Winterhalter and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
Enter now at uksommelieroftheyear.com