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Best Sommelier of Australia 2017 Competition

Competition Guidelines

The Best Sommelier of Australia 2017 competition is an endeavour to highlight the exceptional service and knowledge standards achieved by the professional sommelier community working within Australia. The competition, conducted by the Sommeliers Australia Education Committee, will rigorously investigate individual performances in areas of service, tasting and knowledge that are required at the highest echelons of the profession.

Entry Criteria
To qualify for the Competition, potential Competitors must:
• be a current 'Sommelier' member of Sommeliers Australia
• be actively working in the hospitality industry
• have completed at least WSET Level Two or have equivalent industry experience
• be available to attend all stages of the competition process.

NOTE: To compete in A.S.I. regional and international competitions (i.e. Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania Competition 2018) all candidates representing Australia must have been working in Australia for 3 or more years.

Registration to Compete
Competitors must register their intent to compete by registering to attend the Quarter Final Entrance Exam in their State by completing the online registration/application form and attach a current CV. Registrations must be submitted by midday on Monday 10 July 2017.

Stage 1 | Entrance Examination
Open to all competitors who qualify for entry, the first stage of the competition will be a written exam and tasting assessment. This stage will take place in each State.

Theoretical knowledge will be tested in areas of viticulture, viniculture, laws and regulations, global awareness of regions and producers, wine list corrections, spirits, beers and other beverages.

The tasting assessment will be two wines served blind. Beyond a qualitative assessment, and commentary on serving conditions (glassware, temperature, appropriate food) the Education Committee will be looking for as much detail as to the identity of the wine; variety, country, region, vintage, producer. At the examination, each candidate will receive a competition number upon registration and all exams will be marked via this number; papers will be judged anonymously to ensure impartiality.

Stage 2 | Semi Final Round
Based on the results of the Entrance Exam, the top 12 performers will compete in the Semi Finals in Melbourne where the assessment will be conducted over two days. The top 12 candidates will be responsible for their own travel arrangements, however 2 nights' accommodation in Melbourne will covered by Sommeliers Australia.

The Semi Final stage will include another written exam requiring more detailed knowledge of the above-mentioned subjects, further tasting assessments with the addition of spirits and liqueurs, and conclude with a practical element.

The sommelier profession requires so much more than detailed product knowledge; a great sommelier has poise and grace of movement, engaging communication skills, and the ability to sell an experience. Each candidate will be asked to present and serve a bottle of wine to a table of five guests. The candidate will then be given a wine to assess verbally, looking for the same conclusions as in previous tastings. This stage is about articulation of what each candidate sees in the glass and should be approached in the way as participants would ordinarily communicate to their customers.

Candidates will need to provide some of their own equipment as required for service in a restaurant: wine knife, matches, pens and paper. Equipment will be provided for a decanting assessment.

Stage 3 | Final Round
The three best performing candidates of the Semi Finals will move on to the Final stage. This stage is focused on practical and tasting. In a mock service setting, each of the candidates will be required to provide further decanting service, Champagne service, food and wine matching advice, wine assessment and spirit tasting.

The best performing candidate in the Final will be selected as the Best Sommelier of Australia 2017. They will go on to represent Australia in the A.S.I. Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania Competition 2018 in Kyoto, Japan.

Judging Committee
The Sommeliers Australia Education Committee is charged with developing the content and assessing the candidates at all stages of the competition. The members of the Committee are:
• David Lawler – Sommeliers Australia President and Education Committee Chair (Director - Comptoir)
• Franck Moreau MS – Sommeliers Australia Vice President (Group Sommelier - Merivale)
• Mark Protheroe – Sommeliers Australia Education Committee Member (Director – Mark Protheroe Beverage Services)
• Banjo Harris Plane – Winner Best Sommelier of Australia 2014 (Director – Real Wines & Bar Liberty)

Key Dates
• Registrations close: midday Monday 10 July 2017 (online)
• Stage 1 | Quarter Final Entrance Examination: Tuesday 25 July - held in each State
• Entrance examination assessments completed: Tuesday 8 August 2017
• Top 12 Semi Final candidates notified: Friday 11 August 2017
• Stage 2 | Semi Finals: Saturday 23 September 2017 (Melbourne)
• Stage 3 | Finals and the Sommeliers Australia Annual Ball/winner announcement: Sunday 24 September 2017 (Melbourne)

For any queries please contact Sommeliers Australia via email

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for the Best Sommelier of Australia 2017 competition.


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