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Oddbins introduces TV talent show element to hunt for best amateur wine taster

Published:  28 May, 2014

High street wine retailer Oddbins is expecting a record turnout of 25,000 entrants for its third annual search for the UK's best amateur taster in The Palate competition.

The group, which runs 35 stores, will offer the winner a trip to Australia. It is expecting double the turnout on last year, which it claims would make the contest the world's largest wine tasting talent hunt.

The competition will be judged by married Masters of Wine Peter Richards and Susie Barrie, alongside two new judges this year - Joe Wadsack and Sarah Ahmed.

The first round will take place in Oddbins' branches over the next two weekends, and tasters can also enter at a host of food and drink fairs including London's  'Brix Mix' Market on May 31; Taste of London from June 18 to 22; Oxford's Gloucester Green Farmers' Market on June 5; Edinburgh's Stockbridge Farmers' Market on June 8; Oddbins Wine Fair at The Church On The Hill, Glasgow, June 8 and the Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival from June 13 to 15.

The Palate is open to over 18s and the first round sees participants blind tasting a selection of Oddbins' wines and answering simple questions about each one.

Sixty-four candidates go through to bootcamp stage - with 16 going to each judge - and four are selected to battle it out at the grand final in September.

Ayo Akintola, Oddbins' managing director, said: "We are committed to making wine appreciation as unstuffy, approachable and democratic as possible. Last year's finalists, most of whom were incredibly surprised to discover they had a talent for wine appreciation, came from a very diverse range of backgrounds.

"The format this year introduces some fun rivalry between four of the UK's leading wine experts, who will be tasked with preparing their boot camp winners for the rigours of the grand final."

Barrie said: "The Palate is wine's answer to 'The Voice'. It's a brilliant way for everyone in the country to give wine tasting a go and discover just how good their own palate is. The idea is to be challenged, have fun and not feel intimidated by wine, and we can all raise a glass to that."

Sponsors for The Palate include De Bortoli, Follador, Laurent-Perrier, Berton Vineyard, Codorníu, Longview, Manz and Tenuta Chiccheri.