Here's an intriguing idea. Piper Heidsieck, who sponsors the 30-year-old professional Sommelier of the Year competition in the UK is launching a competition to find the Amateur Sommelier of the Year - and you don't have to pour a drop!
It's open to anyone outside the wine trade or sommelier profession. The first round of the Amateur Sommelier of the Year 2010 competition involves answering 20 wine-related questions online at www.decanter.com. Three correct entries will then be selected to go through to the second round, in which the amateur sommeliers will be asked to complete a virtual wine and food matching task. The prize for the overall winner is dinner for two at an (unspecified) Michelin-starred restaurant and being presented with a trophy and a case of Piper at the professional Sommelier of the Year finals over dinner on 28 April. The two runners-up with receive a magnum of Piper.
Questions include the likes of:
- In which Spanish region would you find a Manzanilla wine?
- Where are the following appellations? Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras
- Which one of these châteaux is not in St-Émilion? Ausone, Dassault, Figeac, L'Evangile
- What is the minimum temperature in degrees Celsius that must be reached before a successful Eiswein or Icewine can be made?
- Where are Rkatsiteli and Saperavi found?
- What is the grape for a Barolo?
So go to your online Oxford Companion to Wine
The UK Amateur Sommelier of the Year 2010 is run in conjunction with the Academy of Food and Wine and Decanter.com.
Victor Lanson who represents Piper-Heidsieck explains, 'Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about wine. They know more and more about grape varieties, wine producers and wine producing areas of the world. This competition gives amateurs the opportunity to truly test their skills with the sort of questions we use in professional competitions.'
Worth a punt for fun?