The competition is open to sommeliers working at restaurants in the UK and this year’s final is to be held at the London International Wine Fair for the first time in its 33-year history.
“We are very excited about this year’s competition and hope to receive a record number of entries from sommeliers with great wine and drink knowledge as well as good service skills,” said Sophie Roberts Brown, AFWS’s executive director.
“Holding the final at ExCel during the London International Wine Fair puts the competition at the heart of one of the wine trade’s most important events.”
The competition starts with a first round questionnaire, from which the top scoring candidates will be chosen to compete in the regional finals. Winners of the regional finals will then go forward to the final being held on 23 May.
This year’s judging panel includes three past winners - Matthieu Longuère MS of La Trompette (2000), Ronan Sayburn MS of Hotel du Vin (1998) and renowned sommelier and hotelier Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS (1992).
Last year’s winner was Yohann Jousselin of the Vineyard at Stockcross, who beat of competition from two sommeliers from the Fat Duck to the win the title in what was his sixth year of entering the competition.