Sommelier & Junior Sommelier of the Year 2016

Press release 18 August 2016
Sommelier & Junior of the Year 2016
Opening wine with precision, knowing the principles of how to decant wine and talking informatively to customers are all part of the New Zealand Sommelier Awards – the focus of two professional competitions on Sunday 11 September this year. The New Zealand Sommelier of the Year Competition and the Junior Sommelier of the Year Competition have big prizes and bring important benefits to this country’s hospitality industry as the art of wine service is elevated to new levels.

The Awards are coordinated by Celia Hay, Director of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine with head judge Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas – an influential driving force in the Sommelier Competitions in New Zealand and now South Pacific Director for the Global Guild of Sommeliers.
“Cameron and I are keen to attract both seasoned professionals to the New Zealand Sommelier competition as well as younger staff who are building their skills and keen to experience the challenge and excitement of competing even for the first time.
“Having an annual competition gives people a goal to work towards and encourages them to practice and refine their skills and knowledge of the dynamic world of beverages including spirits, cocktails and even coffee. There are many positive benefits for those who attend as well as important networking opportunities.”
Those skills include opening and presenting wine, and how to discuss the personality of a wine with customers, helping them navigate their way around a wine list with confidence, in a relaxed and professional manner.

The winner of the Sommelier of the Year Competition will receive a return flight to Paris with VIP hosting for a day at Louis Roederer Champagne. This includes a tour of the cellars, a night’s accommodation in Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region.

The NZ School of Food & Wine sponsors return airfares to Paris while Louis Roederer Champagne will host the winner in Champagne.

Previous winners include Maciej Zimny of Noble Rot wine bar in Wellington, Andy Gladding from the French Café in Auckland and Mike Bancks from Craggy Range Hawke’s Bay.
The Junior Sommelier of the Year wins a return trip to Queenstown with a helicopter tour of the key wine regions of Central Otago, a visit to Misha’s Vineyard and accommodation at The Rees Hotel as well as tasting sessions, with all meals provided. This prize is sponsored by Misha’s Vineyard.

Both competitions are part of the third annual W&F Wine and Food Celebration in Auckland from Saturday 10 to Monday 12 September this year. The event is open to the public and people will be able to view the finalists competing at 2pm on Sunday 11 September. There are also two public Wine Tasting Sessions with leading New Zealand and boutique wineries including Pegasus Bay, Escarpment, Misha’s Vineyard, Kumeu River, Clos Marguerite, Pasquale from Waitaki, Osawa and Elephant Hill from Hawkes Bay. There will also be a special wine tasting featuring the Wines of Spain.

Find out more at:

For more information contact:
Celia Hay