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Ruinart Sommelier Challenge 2024 open for entries

Published:  10 April, 2024

This year’s seventh edition of the UK seminar and blind tasting competition, the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge, will take place on 20 May at 67 Pall Mall in central London. The Challenge has two objectives; to explore technical aspects of winemaking and choose the winning sommelier who will attend the all-expenses paid trip to Champagne later this year.

Candidates will be selected by a panel of judges headed by Ruinart chef de caves Frédéric Panaïotis, alongside 2023 winner Matteusz Kowlczyk and Gareth Ferreira MS head sommelier at Core by Clare Smyth.

The top 30 applicants will compete in a blind tasting, built around the theme ‘Phys behind the Fizz – with a focus on the science behind effervescence’. The winner of the tasting will be awarded a place on a four-day educational trip to the Champagne region, which Frédéric Panaïotis will host. The trip will include a deep dive into the Champagne region and participation in a series of technical tastings.

The concept for The Ruinart Sommelier Challenge was created by the Ruinart winemaking team with the ambition to develop an international training and mentoring programme committed to supporting sommelier wine education.

“This event, running for seven years now, is a highlight of our calendar, and we are so proud of the incredible community of Sommeliers we have built”, said Ruinart chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis.

“This year’s theme, Phys behind the Fizz – with a focus on the science behind effervescence, is, quite literally, at the heart of Champagne wines, so it will be hugely exciting, and emotional for me to help the rising stars of the UK wine trade learn more about it,” Panaïotis added.

The winning UK representative will join the trip alongside winners from each edition, which is being run across 15 countries worldwide. As the deadline is fast approaching, entrants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.

Commenting on his experience, 2023 winner Mateusz Kowlczyk added: “Winning the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge was a huge honour and I have continued to push my palate and train my skills, using everything I learnt through the competition and the trip to Reims. Being in the company of motivated and brilliant somms from across the world, all together in Ruinart in Reims was such a privilege – truly unforgettable. I am excited to see this year’s contestants, and so excited for them to go on the same incredible learning journey as I did.”

Applications can be submitted via the UK Ruinart Sommelier Challenge website, the deadline for entries is 5 May 2024.