Tanguy Martin of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire has been named the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2015.
Martin's victory came after a tough final at the Savoy hotel in London today, where he competed against Romain Bourger of the Vineyard at Stockcross, and Arnaud Bardary from Maze in London.
Bardary was placed second, while Bourger was third in the competition, organised by the Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) and The Caterer, and sponsored by Moët & Chandon Champagne.
It was Martin's third time in the competition, having placed third last year. Commenting on his win, Martin said: "It is incredible. It is the third time I have been in the competition and I have worked hard for this. The standard was incredibly high so I am delighted to have won."
All three finalists were submitted to a gruelling three-hour competition in front of an audience made up of judges, former winners, their peers from the industry, sponsors and journalists.
As part of the competition they were required to: inspect a wine list and identify a number of errors (that were not to do with spelling or pricing); undergo a blind taste test of two wines, one red and one white, as well as describing and identifying them; identify four spirits served in black glasses; serve three tables of former winners in a restaurant role play situation; and finally to pour a magnum of Moët & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne into 16 glasses.
Each of the finalists showed different strengths but the judges, including Eric Zwiebel from Summer Lodge and Roger Jones from the Harrow at Little Bedwyn, chose Martin as the overall winner.
Among Martin's prizes for winning the competition was an engraved jeroboam of Moët & Chandon Champagne, and a ‘money can't buy' mentoring programme. The AFWS and The Caterer will facilitate a series of educational sessions featuring the UK's top sommeliers.
The day's competition started with the 12 semi-finalists of the 2015 competition being whittled down to six finalists, before the final three were selected to compete in the grand final in front of an audience.
The 12 semi-finalists were:
Arnaud Bardary, Maze by Gordon Ramsay, London
Ladislav Basta, the Kitchin, Edinburgh
Romain Bourger, the Vineyard at Stockcross - Wales & South West Sommelier of the Year
Tobias Brauweiler, Hakkasan - London Sommelier of The Year
Mathias Camilleri, Medlar, London - winner of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier competition
Zigmars Grinbergs, Hotel du Vin Brighton - South East of England Sommelier of the Year
Olivier Marie, Coq d'Argent, London
Tanguy Martin, Hotel TerraVina - 2014 MoÁ«t UK Sommelier of the Year runner-up
Laurent Richet, Restaurant Sat Bains - North of England Sommelier of the Year
Stuart Skea, Champany Inn, Linlithgow, West Lothian - Scottish Sommelier of the Year
Niels Sluiman, Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
Now in their 36th year, the awards are run by the AFWS and The Caterer, and are internationally recognised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). They seek to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and spirits knowledge and front of house beverage skills.
The MoÁ«t UK Sommelier of the Year 2015 is also supported by the AA, Coravin, EuroCave, Hildon, Matthew Clark, the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom and Winterhalter.
The AFWS is the professional body for front-of-house service. Dedicated to improving the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice, raising standards across the industry and encouraging teamwork with other colleagues, AFWS can offer advice and training to anyone following or considering, a career as a sommelier, wine waiter, waiter, bar manager or restaurant manager.