Taittinger announces winner of UK Sommelier of the Year competition

Romain Bourger, head sommelier at the Vineyard, Berkshire, has been named Champagne Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2019.

The annual event saw Bourger vie with Gareth Ferreira from Core by Clare Smyth in Notting Hill, and Alan Bednarski from Texture in Marylebone for the coveted title of Sommelier of the Year.

Bourger, Ferreira and Bednarski were subject to a gruelling three-hour competition at the Savoy yesterday (July 8), overseen by a judging panel chaired by Nicolas Clerc MS, UK Sommelier of the Year 2007 and President of the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS).

As part of the live element of the competition, the finalists were required to identify errors on a wine list, undergo blind taste tests of wines and spirits, serve at a bar and in a restaurant scenario, and finally to pour a magnum of Champagne Taittinger into 19 glasses.

Gareth Ferreira and Alan Bednarski came into second and third place respectively.

“I’ve competed six times so patience is a virtue. I had a great time on stage today,” said Bourger.

“I felt quite stressed, but I just kept it inside. I thought I was consistent throughout the day and am delighted to have come out on top.”

Having won this prestigious title, Bourger received a Jeroboam of Champagne Taittinger Prestige Rosé – signed by the family – and will also attend the finalist’s trip to Taittinger in the Autumn.

The panel of judges included Clement Robert, Kathrine Larsen, Laura Rhys, Xavier Rousset and Ronan Sayburn – all former winners of the competition.

Commenting on the results of the final, Kevin McKee, UK Director – Family Taittinger, said: “The fast-paced race to the finish line has been intense and exciting – it’s clear that each finalist is at the top of their game. It was such a close- run contest this year that we ended with 15 rather than then usual 12 finalists – a clear indication of the high standard of all the competitors.”

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