Indian Sommelier Championship 2008

India, in spite of the recession is managing a growth in the F&B industry. New establishments are opening doors everyday making the gastronomic world ever more competitive. While bar competitions and wine competitions abound, Magandeep has often eluded the temptation to organise a formal sommelier competition to ascertain and adjudge the qualities of a true wine professional. This year he was convinced that the wine industry albeit still nascent is showing signs of constant evolution and therefore, finally, Wi-Not has managed to put in place a competition to gauge the best servers in the industry, the finals of which took place on 2nd Dec at IFE 2008, New Delhi. The contestants were judged on their knowledge and practical ease in the subject first in theory and then in practice. The live finals promised to be a quite a show with all that a sommelier is expected to know and do being executed in front of a live audience comprising a hand-picked jury of wine professionals. This year the jury comprised of Andrew Steel, GM, Shangri-La, New Delhi
Stephane Soret, Head sommelier, The Imperial, New Delhi
Angele De Ioia, Maitre D’Hote and Manager, The Oberoi, New Delhi

The participants were put through gruelling rounds of wine and food pairing, spotting errors on wine lists and finally live service demonstration followed by tasting and impromptu commenting exercise. The level of competence required was high and the contestants really impressed the judges and thinternational winemakers gathered to witness the event.

Riedel and Pulltex supported the event thus ensuring a high quality of wares and accessories to be used by the participants.

Judges of the Indian Sommelier championship flanked by participants

Judges of the Indian Sommelier championship flanked by participants


About the Author

Wi-Not is India’s only professionally qualified and managed Wine & Beverage Solutions Company. We are a collective of wine and beverage professionals who are united in our belief that all drinks are special, and different, and consequently need to be presented and marketed uniquely so. The best of brands need the best of plans and that is what we do. The Wi-Not team comprises young certified and experienced professionals who have spent a considerable amount of time working in the field of beverages and especially wine, both in India and abroad (and are still young enough to resonate with the pulse of our burgeoning market!) Big words, but the principle behind all our work and efforts is simply this: You can create a brand over and over again but unfortunately you can kill it only once!

Comments (2)

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  1. Sanjay Menon says:

    Dear Magan,

    Congratulations!…on a very well organised competition. The questions were just challenging enough without making the participants, at this level, seem inadequate. I was riveted to the show and was loathe to miss the middle section to make an appointment.

    The participants it seems were all well trained, enthusiastic and very quick on their feet indeed! The judges did a great job in not being overly critical and making many encouraging sounds.

    Its a shame that only the Taj properties and Imperial sent their candidates. But I am sure that the success of the programme will see it attracting greater participation in its next edition.

    The programme was wonderful in the way that it engaged both the participants and the audience in forcing them to think about wine, food, pairing and their service. It seemed a great learning experience, as waiting participants were seen excitedly exchanging answers on the queries put to the participants on-stage.

    What it also threw up, I hope, is that there is both a great potential to develop our wait-staff and desperate need to train them further.

    Cheers All!

  2. Congratulations Magan!!

    This was required and am sure would go a long way!!

    For participation aspect, I can only quote a reference from my experience.
    I did a Bar Tender Competition in Kolkata last year and only ITC and stand-alone bars guys came. We kept on talking about it the whole year and this year, though I missed it, there was participation from all Star hotels including Oberoi and Hyatt. That is a smaller game there in Kolkata but I am sure all hotels and Bars will see the good side of these competitions and would join in numbers.



    Ashwani Anand
    Executive Assistant Manager – Food & Beverage Taj Palace Hotel

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