Sommeliers from some of the country's top restaurants including the Fat Duck, L'Enclume and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester have been named finalists of the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year Competition 2018.
The sommeliers have been selected having triumphed in regional heats which took place in Bristol, London and Manchester last week.
Organised by The Caterer, the awards test the UK's sommelier talent regionally, before inviting a dozen exceptional candidates to a final day of competition.
The sommeliers progressing to the final will be joined by the competition's 2017 runners-up Gareth Ferreira and Julia Sewell, and the winner of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier competition, Hide London sommelier Aymeric Pollenne.
The final will take place in front of a live audience at the Savoy hotel in London on 16 July.
The competition's chief judge is Nicolas Clerc MS, who won the competition in 2007.
He said: "As head judge, I was very impressed with the level of knowledge, understanding and competence of this year's competitors. The standard was exceptional and we have a very exciting finals day ahead of us."
"The regional finals proved to be a closely fought race and all four were very intense. The standard of all the competitors is very high, which will make for an excellent final. The tasks are tough and the bar is set high and we are looking forward to hosting all the winners at Taittinger later this year to celebrate their success."
The Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2018 is run in partnership with the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) and sponsored by the AA, Eurocave, Robert Welch, UCC Coffee, Winterhalter, and WSET.
- The Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2018 finalists
- Melania Battiston, head sommelier, 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen
- Markus Berlinghof, head sommelier, The Clove Club
- Pierre Brunelli, beverage manager, L'Enclume
- Tamas Czinki, head sommelier, Northcote
- Gareth Ferreira, head sommelier, Core by Clare Smyth
- Alex Freguin, head sommelier, Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms
- Mikael Grou, assistant head sommelier, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
- Martin Jezek, senior sommelier, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
- Rudy Lemetayer, sommelier, Summer Lodge
- Aymeric Pollenne, sommelier, Hide Restaurant
- Paul Robineau, sommelier, The Fat Duck
- Julia Sewell, sommelier