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Oddbins searches for The Palate

Published:  29 May, 2013

Oddbins is to roll out its amateur wine tasting competition for a second year.


Oddbins is to roll out its amateur wine tasting competition for a second year.

The Palate is a nationwide search to find the best amateur palate.

Last year, Fran Evans, a sustainability officer for Camden Council beat 5,000 hopefuls to win a holiday in Tuscany. Evans also selected, blind, a wine for the Oddbins range, which the company claims has been among its bestsellers - La Closerie des Lys Chardonnay - £8.25.

This year, the wine merchant expects 8,000 entrants and the winner will be flown with a travelling companion of their choice to Australia and New Zealand for 10 days to visit vineyards and Hamilton Island.

The competition is free to enter and the first round will take place in Oddbins' 34 branches over the weekends of 1-2 June and 8-9 June. Two more rounds will follow, one at the end of June and one later in July. These will be followed by the final, comprising a wine tasting 'boot camp' conducted by Susie Barrie and Peter Richards, Master of Wine stars of the BBC's Saturday Kitchen, and a final challenge.

Richards said: "Wine should be fun, engaging and rewarding, and that's what the Palate is all about. We want to dispel the myth that wine tasting is just for experts. This is a competition that is open to everyone - all you need is an open mind, a decent set of taste buds and a healthy thirst. Susie and I are delighted to be mentors and judges in an initiative which makes wine more accessible and gives some lucky person the chance to win a delicious trip to Australia and New Zealand."

Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins added: "We want to make the appreciation of wine as democratic and unstuffy as possible. Last year our winner Fran surprised herself more than anyone at discovering she had one of the keenest palates the judges had ever seen. We expect competition this year to be even more intense and even more fun."

The competition is open to everyone as long as they are over 18 and not employed in the wine trade.