Congratulations to Agnieszka Swiecka – Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2023

We would like to send a huge congratulations to Agnieszka Swiecka who on 17th July 2023 was crowned Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2023 at the London Hilton Park Lane in “one of the closest” finals in the competition’s history.

Agnieszka is head of wine at Audley and Mount St Restaurant in London’s Mayfair and took the title ahead of  Martin Kleveta, head sommelier at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, and Dion Wai, assistant head sommelier at Hide Above.

“I’m very happy. It was such a pleasure to compete with such amazing sommeliers and close friends, so it was a joy. It raises the level of the competition as we push each other to do our best”. said Agnieszka

“I enjoyed the most the blind tasting of the wines. The most difficult [element was] the multi-table task and managing your time.”

Celebrating women in wine & Sustainability (left to right)- Cecilia Pasqua, Global Brand Ambassador for Pasqua Wines, Queena Wong, Riccardo Pasqua & Agnieszka Swiecka – Photo by Doris Luming

Agnieszka who was the runner-up in the 2022 competition, also thanked Queena Wong of Curious Vines for “supporting all the female sommeliers”.

Following the London regional heats held in May, 11 the qualifying sommeliers were invited to compete in the finals day on the morning of July 17, which involved tasks such as emptying a bottle of wine into a set number of glasses.

A further process of elimination in the afternoon led to three candidates being selected to participate in the live element of the competition, which was hosted by Nicolas Clerc, president of the UK Sommelier Academy.

Clerc later told the audience this was “certainly one of the closest contests we encountered”.

The final three were required to identify errors on a wine list, undergo blind tasting tests of wines and spirits, offer food pairing options, and serve in a bar and restaurant scenario.

This year also featured the reintroduction of the cheese and beverage identification task, where  candidates had to name the potential country, region and milk used for each sample of cheese and pair it with a suitable drink.

The afternoon culminated in the careful pouring of a magnum of Taittinger Prestige Rosé between 20 identical glasses in front of more than 200 spectators in six minutes.

Regional heats of the Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year held at the London Hilton Metropole.

Kevin McKee (pictured above), UK director at Champagne Taittinger, said

We have enjoyed watching today’s final and extend big congratulations to Agnieszka and to all the finalists, who all deserve recognition for the commitment and excellence they have shown.”

The Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year 2023 is organised by The Caterer in partnership with the UK Sommelier Academy and recognised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.

Dr Kathrine Larsen MS was the head judge, joined by Nina Basset, Isa Bal, Tanguy Martin and Jan Konetzki.

Kathrine  said: “I thought it was a great competition and all the candidates did really well. It was great to see so much new young talent coming forward and entering the competition and doing so well“.

She advised future applicants to “study as widely as you can, taste as widely as you can”.

Find out more on the UK Sommelier of the Year website.

You may also be interested in the following: Running a Winery in Lockdown, Our Podcast with Dawn Davies of The Whiskey Exchange , our Highlights of the London Wine Fair 2023 where we met Queena Wong and our Highlights of Imbibe 2023.  

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