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Published:  23 July, 2008

Matthew Wilkin of The Capital Hotel Group has won the 14th Champagne Ruinart UK Sommelier of the Year competition, organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service.

Wilkin competed in the final at The Hilton on London's Park Lane, against Claire Thevenot of Hotel du Vin in Winchester and Nicolas Clerc of Summer Lodge Hotel in Dorchester, and beat more than 200 other entrants to the Ruinart trophy. Wilkin's prize includes a three-day VIP trip to the Champagne region as a guest of Champagne Ruinart to watch the final of the European Trophe Ruinart 2006.

The competitors were tested on restaurant service, a blind tasting, errors on a wine list, cigar knowledge and service, and the opening and pouring of a magnum of Ruinart Champagne. Wilkin commented: I was thrilled to win the competition, as it's the most prestigious award for sommeliers. I have worked hard to prepare as much as possible, and it has all paid off.'