The search is on to find the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2016.
Organised by The Caterer and the Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS), the competition is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK.
Now it its 37th year, the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 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 (pictured), Ronan Sayburn and Xavier Rousset.
Candidates will be 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.
Entries are paper based, before heats take place in Edinburgh, Manchester, London, and Bristol. Two sommeliers from each heat will progress to the finals day which is held in front of a live audience at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park on 16 May.
All national finalists will win a trip to Maison Moët & Chandon in Epernay for an in-depth tour and technical tasting with the Moët & Chandon winemaking team.
The competition's chief judge is Gerard Basset, OBE, MW, MS, and 2010 World Champion Sommelier.
He said: "This is the competition for all sommeliers in the country. Standards are improving all the time as restaurants put more emphasis on wines and their sommeliers are expected to know far more than ever before. This competition tests all areas of sommellerie and the vast knowledge they must possess. Its winners go on to become role models for young people in the food and beverage industry."
Julie Nollet, marketing and communication director, Moët Hennessy UK, added: "Our four years of working with AFWS for this competition has shown us that the UK has some of the highest standards of sommellerie of anywhere in the world. Our mission is to enhance the learnings and experience that every entrant - no matter which stage of the competition they reach - takes away with them, and we're very pleased to be able to do this again for the fifth year."
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2016 is sponsored by AdVini, BaxterStorey, Hildon, Matthew Clark and Winterhalter.