Entries are now open for the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2017, which recognises the finest talent in wine service.
Organised by The Caterer and the Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS), the competition is open to professional sommeliers and waiting staff working in the UK.
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year is widely regarded as the premier accolade in UK wine service. Past winners number some of the industry's leading lights when it comes to wine knowledge, including Gerard Basset, Ronan Sayburn and Xavier Rousset.
Candidates are judged 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.
Last year's winner was 67 Pall Mall head sommelier Terry Kandylis (pictured), who impressed the judges with his breadth of wine knowledge in a consistent and confident performance.
Entries are paper based, before regional heats take place in Bristol, London and Manchester on 3 April 2017. The closing date for entries is 13 March 2017.
Two sommeliers from each heat will progress to the finals day which is held in front of a live audience at the Savoy hotel on 17 July 2017.
All finalists will win a trip to Maison Moët & Chandon in Épernay for an in-depth tour and technical tasting with the Moët & Chandon winemaking team, while the winner will benefit from a money can't buy mentoring programme and an all-expenses-paid study visit to a wine region courtesy of Matthew Clark.
The competition's chief judge is Gerard Basset, OBE, MW, MS, and 2010 World Champion Sommelier.
He said: "This is the competition for all sommeliers in the country. Standards are improving all the time as restaurants put more emphasis on wines and their sommeliers are expected to know far more than ever before. This competition tests all areas of sommellerie and the vast knowledge they must possess. Its winners go on to become role models for young people in the food and beverage industry."
Julie Nollet, marketing and communications director at Moët Hennessy, added: "Moët & Chandon is thrilled to once again be partnering with the Sommelier of the Year competition - a vital vehicle for furthering sommelier education, and helping to improve their skills.
"Over the last six years, we've seen the high calibre of the UK entrants and believe the dedication and hard work that goes into becoming a top sommelier thoroughly deserves recognition and reward. We wish all applicants the best of luck for 2017."
The Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2017 is sponsored by AdVini, Coravin, Matthew Clark, Searcy's, UCC Coffee, Winterhalter, and WSET.