Andre Cunha, sommelier at Margot in Covent Garden, London, won the Best UK Sommelier, Italian Wine Professional ISWA Award, which was held at Bellavita Expo London from the 17th to the 19th of June at the Business Design Centre.
The 29-year-old sommelier said: “It was always my dream to become a sommelier. I always loved wine, I studied hard and I’m very happy now.”
Cunha defeated 40 participants from some of the best restaurants in the country, including 11 Michelin star establishments such as Le Gavroche, Aquavit, Roux at Parliament Square, Locanda Locatelli, The Five Fields, Murano, Galvin at Windows, Savoy Grill, 67 Pall Mall, Margot, M Restaurant, The Glasshouse and Outlaw's at the Capital.
Second and third place were taken respectively by Jolanta Dinnadge, Head Sommelier at Corrigan in Mayfair and Alessandro Pesarini, Sommelier at Outlaw’s at The Capital in Knightsbridge (one Michelin star).
Participants were tested through three different tasks: a written exam, a blind tasting and a wine service test. The blind tasting took place against a tight timeframe, throwing in an extra obstacle for the sommeliers involved. Contestants were then scored by renowned Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine from the best restaurants and wine outlets in the UK.
“Bellavita Expo has always focused on awarding excellence and wine is no exception” says Bellavita founder and CEO Aldo Mazzocco. “Italian wine is one of the most difficult to master because of the huge variety of grapes available. For that reason, the winning sommelier and runner-ups really demonstrated great passion, knowledge and the correct service skills.”
The competition was sponsored by ISWA (Italian Signature Wines Academy which comprises of Allegrini, Feudi di San Gregorio, Fontanafredda, Frescobaldi and Villa Sandi) and supported by WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust), Harpers Wine & Spirit Magazine and The Buyer.
Giulia Sarti - firstname.lastname@example.org