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Bellavita reveals Best UK Sommelier 2018 ISWA Award winner

Published:  20 June, 2018

The winner of this year’s Bellavita Best UK Sommelier 2018 Award, sponsored by Italian Signature Wines Academy (ISWA), has been revealed.

The competition, supported by Harpers and the WSET, to crown the best Italian wine professional, was this year won by Andre Cunha of Covent Garden restaurant, Margot, who faced stiff competition with a host of top Michelin stars taking part.

Up against fellow sommeliers from Le Gavroche, Aquavit, Roux at Parliament Square and Locanda Locatelli, Cunha said he was “very happy now”.

“It was always my dream to be a sommelier. I always loved wine and I studied hard so this recognition means a lot to me,” he said.

Other top restaurants taking part in the competition, which is open to all UK restaurants and their sommeliers, included The Five Fields, Murano, Galvin at Windows, Savoy Grill, 67 Pall Mall, M Restaurant, The Glasshouse and Outlaw's at the Capital.

Participants were tested through three different tasks: a written exam, a wine service test and a blind tasting, with the latter taking place against a tight timeframe, throwing in an extra obstacle for the sommeliers involved.

Contestants were then scored by a panel of judges including renowned Master Sommeliers and MWs from the best restaurants and wine outlets in the UK, including Alistair Cooper MW, BBC radio presenter and consultant.

“Italian wine is one of the most difficult to master: the sheer number of indigenous grape varieties alone is no small challenge, plus the timing element makes for a really tough competition,” said Cooper.

Running for the fourth consecutive year, the competition is designed by Bellavita Expo London, which took place 17 -19 June 2018. This year was the first time it was sponsored by ISWA.