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Young sommelier of the year announced

Published:  15 June, 2009

Yohann Jousselin, head sommelier at the Hotel du Vin, Winchester has become the UK's young sommelier of the year.

French-born, Jousselin, 25, beat five other finalists in the competition which in is organised by the gastronomic society the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and held in association with professional kitchen equipment supplier Gaggenau and the drinks company Pernod Ricard.

The final was held in London on June 10, and tested the finalists drinks knowledge, tasting skills and service skills with tasks such as decanting, Champagne service and food and wine pairing.

The Young Sommelier of the Year competition is one of only two competitions dedicated to the art of sommellerie. The other is the UK Sommelier of the Year competition run by the front-of-house professional body the Academy of Food & Wine, the UK branch of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.

Sophie Roberts-Brown, executive director of the Academy of Food & Wine and member of the competition's judging panel said: "Our mission has always been to promote best practice and to promote and encourage young people into the front-of-house profession. It was particularly rewarding to see the impressive skills of these young sommeliers and to see how dedicated and professional they were."

Jousselin who was also a runner-up in the Academy of Food & Wine's UK Sommelier of the Year competition held in April, first became interested in wine after helping his uncle in his vineyard in the Loire valley. He has since become a seasoned sommelier and is currently studying to become a Master Sommelier.

Runner-up in the competition was Swedish-born Erica Laler, 24, from Texture restaurant in London and third place went to 26-year old, Daniel Kubin of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire.

The panel of judges was lead by Master Sommelier Gerard Basset, owner of TerraVina in Hampshire and the Academy's technical director.

In September Yohann will represent Great Britain at the international final of the competition, competing against 30 winners of national finals across the globe for the title Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International Young Sommelier 2009.