Sip, sip, hooray! Wine enthusiasts prove connoisseur credentials as UK amateur tasting competition launches

Curious Clapham connoisseurs can prove they know the difference between Premier cru and plonk as the search for ‘the UK’s finest amateur wine taster’ launches this weekend.

The Palate, a unique national competition run by Oddbins, has run for four years and an incredible 21,000 wine enthusiasts entered last year.

If you nose you stand a chance, having taste-tested the selection in your local winery, prizes up for grabs include a ‘wine holiday’ to South Africa.

Wine critic Sarah Ahmed, a mentor and judge for The Palate, says the competition smashes through the snobbery in the world of wine.

“It is an incontrovertible fact that many, many people feel too intimidated to taste wine confidently and The Palate plays a vital role in demystifying and democratising the world of wine,” she said.

“It’s about showing people that anyone can do it – and it was truly moving to see people on that journey from self-doubt to confidence last year.”

If you know your Syrah from your Sauvignon, oaky notes from a not-okay bouquet, join the contestants who will be whittled down over four rounds to take a place in wine Boot Camp.

Sarah Ahmed will be joined by TV presenter TV presenters Peter Richards MW and Susie Richards MW and Oddbins’ buyer Ana Sapungiu to host an intense, sparkling final.

Emma Shaw, head of commercial operations at Oddbins, said: “The Palate is for anybody who has ever had their confidence knocked by a self-professed Wine Expert and made to feel that their opinion is somehow invalid. It is not. It is valid and, furthermore, wine tasting can be fun. Shocking, I know.”

As well as the prestigious title of The Palate 2015, vino victors could also win an Italian holiday, a day course at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School, the chance to pick a wine for Oddbins to list nationwide and plenty of extra wine prizes.

Round one runs this weekend in all Oddbins shops including sites in Clapham, Notting Hill, Wandsworth and South Kensington.

Picture courtesy of Heather Katsoulis, with thanks

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