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Jan Konetzki, Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2012

Published:  08 June, 2012

The Sommelier of the Year competition is a great platform for sommeliers to demonstrate their skills.

There are some sommeliers who like to enter competitions, at the same time there are many that don't like the exposure, but continue to provide great service. I find it important to study and feel the need to look at books to gain more experience and knowledge. But there are two important aspects to being a sommelier: you can't just have the knowledge and then lack sensitivity to the guests. You need both skills to do a good job.

The Sommelier of the Year competition is a bit like running a marathon, a lot of it is about feeling right on the day. Plus it helps being given questions to suit. The competition is not something you complete on your own either, much of it is about learning with friends and colleagues beforehand, and sitting down and studying together or conducting blind tastings. It all goes towards helping better yourself.

As far as new trends go, there's a lot of interest currently in natural, biodynamic and organic wine, which I think is positive. I think anything that creates a buzz is good. I'd say the natural wine category needs more definition though, so customers know more about what natural wine is. I'm happy that producers want to make wines that are more environmentally friendly. Some natural wine styles are very distinctive and not to everyone's taste, but at least they are not uniform.

My next step is to compete in the European Sommelier of the Year competition and I will soon start my preparation, which involves talking to other sommeliers who have previously taken part.

The wine world is a far better industry now, we have so much to choose from with additional emerging countries - I don't say everything that is new is good, but the diversity itself is exciting.