The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition, widely regarded as the premier accolade in UK wine service, is now open for entries.
The competition, organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service and The Caterer, is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK and will award its 36th recipient this year. Past winners include such luminaries of the UK wine landscape as Gerard Basset, 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.
An initial paper-based judging stage leads to drive regional heats in Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Bristol and Brighton on 11 May. Two sommeliers from each heat will progress to the finals day at a central London venue on 8 June, culminating in a gala dinner at which the 2015 winner will be announced.
All national finalists will win a trip to Maison Moët & Chandon in Epernay for an in-depth tour and technical tasting with the Moet & 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."
This year's search for the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year will culminate in a finals day and gala awards dinner in central London on 8 June.
For more information, go to www.sommelieroftheyear.co.uk.