Sat, 13 Jul 2019
THE Vineyard’s Romain Bourger has been awarded the title of The Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2019.
The awards are widely regarded as the premier accolade in UK wine service.
Candidates are judged in front of an audience of wine industry leaders on their wine and drink expertise, as well as their ability to deal efficiently and knowledgeably with customers by demonstrating exemplary front of house skills.
Mr Bourger was presented with the award at The Savoy, London, on Monday.
He said: “I’ve competed six times, so patience is a virtue.
“I had a great time on stage today. I stressed quite a bit, but kept it inside.
“I thought I was consistent throughout the day and am delighted to have come out on top.”
The Vineyard managing director Andrew McKenzie said: “I think I was more nervous than Romain.
“Underneath that happy, relaxed exterior he must have nerves of steel.
“Since starting as a young assistant seven years ago, it has been a joy seeing Romain develop and grow into the rounded and talented individual he is today.
“It proves that humility and dedication to your craft can take you wherever you want to go in the world of sommellerie.”
The Sommelier of the Year Award process starts early each year with several regional finals to attend. The 12 successful candidates from the regional finals are later invited to attend the semi-finals and finals day in London.
Candidates were judged on a written questionnaire, a blind tasting and a practical skill.
The top six were asked to compete for a place in the final.
The top three then competed in the final in the afternoon where, in front of a live audience, candidates were tested both practically and orally on errors on a wine list, food and wine matching, service skills and a blind-tasting.
The Vineyard has six sommeliers from around the world, including the current Spanish Sommelier of the Year, Diego Gonzalez.
The team is led by Mr Bourger, who previously won Young Sommelier of the Year 2016 and Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2017.