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Winner Announced 2022 UK Ruinart Sommelier Challenge

Published:  22 June, 2022

Mark Ron Patana from Medlar has been chosen as the winner of the 2022 UK Ruinart Sommelier Challenge,  following a fiercely fought final which took place at the IRIS Studios in London on Monday, June 20. The Runners up were Frédéric Monnery from Coravin and Faidon Dernikos from 67 Pall Mall.

Reflecting on his triumph, Patana said: “I’m overwhelmed; I didn’t expect this to happen. I drew on all my experience so far for the blind tasting test, and with the food pairing suggestions, I wanted to show that experience and who I am as a person. You have nothing to lose by taking part in this competition and so much to gain. 

The winner added: “Frédéric’s Masterclass was incredible; he spoke in-depth about cork - something that has such a huge impact on wine. And I’ve met some great fellow Sommeliers today.” 

Patana works currently at Medlar, having started his Sommelier career in January 2020 at Core by Clare Smyth.

The judging panel comprised Ruinart’s Chef de Cave Frédéric Panaïotis, Ronan Sayburn MS and Roxane Dupuy (winner of the Swiss 2018 Ruinart Sommelier Challenge), whittled the entries down to just 25 finalists. As well as a four-wine intense blind tasting competition, Panaïotis gave an in-depth Masterclass on the impact of cork on Champagne, where he explored the physical properties of this porous yet extremely stable material and its influence on a wine’s journey.

“In the hands of an experienced Chef de Cave, cork can be used to bring additional depth and complexity to a Champagne,” he explained.

Panaïotis said: “I truly enjoyed this sixth edition of the UK Ruinart Sommelier Challenge, focusing on cork and the release of the new Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2010 - obviously aged under cork! The overall expertise of the participating Sommeliers was, as always, very high and Mark Ron Patana from Medlar did an amazing job describing the four splendid Chardonnays. He truly deserves his trip to Champagne. We’re honoured and excited to have him join the group of Ruinart Sommelier Challenge winners and are looking forward to welcoming him in Reims.” 

The winning Sommeliers from each edition, being run across 15 countries worldwide, will participate in an all-expenses-paid, four-day educational trip to Champagne later this year. Hosted by Panaïotis and his team of winemakers, the trip will be a deep dive into multiple aspects of this wine-producing region as well as participating in a series of technical tastings.

Panaïotis added: “When we first launched the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge, our ambition was to bring to Sommeliers the kind of technical knowledge which can’t be easily found in books, on the internet or at classic wine tastings. This Challenge was meant to select the greatest talents and help educate, develop and promote the wine community. We also wanted to bring a unique experience and create a human adventure, unforgettable as much as aspirational, for the winners. As a result, since 2010, we’ve built a fantastic community of Sommeliers.”