The Amateur Sommelier of the Year competition sponsored by Champagne Piper-Heidsieck and the Academy of Food and Wine (AFW), official organization of sommeliers in the United Kingdom, in association with decanter.com, a renowned wine site, welcomes competition entries from anyone.
At stake are a trophy and dinner for two at a Michelin-starred London restaurant; the two runners-up also receive a magnum of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck.
The competition is twofold: first correctly answer questions online, be one of three selected out of a hat and win the final round by pairing wines for a virtual dinner party. Then the three finalists will receive "a menu and a wine list, a description of the diners and detailed instructions. Your job will be to select the wines and explain your choices in fewer than 500 words."
For the first round, expect questions similar to these:
- In which Spanish region would you find a Manzanilla wine?
- Where are the following appellations? Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras
- Which one of these châteaux is not in St-Émilion? Ausone, Dassault, Figeac, L'Evangile
- What is the minimum temperature in degrees Celsius that must be reached before a successful Eiswein or Icewine can be made?
- Where are Rkatsiteli and Saperavi found?
- What is the grape for a Barolo?
Jancis Robinson, wine guru and author, recommends going to the Oxford Companion to Wine (edited by Robinson) if you need some help with questions.
The UK Sommelier of the Year Competition panel of expert judges will choose the Amateur Sommelier of the Year based on "the most imaginative and informed choices and [the contestant who] gives a concise and clear explanation as to their reasons."
Winners will be announced at the UK Sommelier of the Year Competition on April 28 in London. For more information and to compete, go to: http://www.decanter.com/competition/?id=6256