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Yohann Jousselin wins UK Sommelier of the Year

Published:  02 June, 2011

Yohann Jousselin, from The Vineyard at Stockcross in Newbury, Berkshire has won the 2011 Piper-Heidsieck UK Sommelier of the Year award.

It was third time lucky for the French head sommelier, in 2010 Jousselin came second in the and in 2009 he was placed third.

The competition organised by the Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS), saw Jousselin beat a line-up of 16 sommeliers to a place in the grand final alongside two sommeliers from the Fat Duck in Bray.

These were senior sommelier Loic Avril, who was awarded a prize for scoring the highest mark in the blind tasting, and the runner-up Polish-born Lukasz Kolodziejczyk, who was also awarded the Young Sommelier of the Year prize for the youngest competitor to get the furthest in the competition.

Jousselin said: "It's quite a relief. I wanted to get there and I felt on a high during the competition and quite relaxed throughout. It was a tough competition this year and although I felt I made a few mistakes, I am delighted to win."

In the grand final, staged in front of a live audience at London's Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel, the three sommeliers each completed a demanding restaurant role-play situation.

Chief judge and AFWS technical director Gerard Basset MS, MW, said that this year's competition had been particularly tough with some very challenging tasks. "Yohann's experience won through on the day, he was the more complete sommelier - he has very good service skills and has that extra flair that the judges were looking for. The final three were all of a fantastic standard."

This year's panel of judges included: wine and food writer Nick Lander; Gerard Basset MS, MW; Matt Wilkin MS, AFWS director; Victor Lanson, marketing controller, First Drinks; and Ian Harris, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Along with the winner's trophy Yohann wins an all-expenses paid trip for two to Champagne, courtesy of Piper-Heidsieck, including a personal tasting with the company's Chef de Caves, Régis Camus.