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Andrea Martinisi - New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2021

Andrea Martinisi wins NZ Sommelier of the Year 2021

Andrea Martinisi is presented with the New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2021 trophy by Marek Przyborek (NZ Sommelier of the Year 2018) and chair of the Examination Committee with Celia Hay, chair of New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association. Andrea is General Manager and Head Sommelier of The Grove Restaurant, Auckland. Marek is head sommelier at Amisfield, Central Otago.

A busy day

The day started with the Theory Assessment (60 minutest) and Blind Tasting of 2 wines. The white wine was Saint Clair Pioneer Block Gewurztraminer 2020 from Marlborough and from Spain, Muga Seleccion Especial Rioja 2016. The Practical included a restaurant scenario to decant a bottle of Te Mata Awatea 2018 and provide a food pairing. This was made a little tricky as we also had a bottle Te Mata Awatea 2019 on the sideboard... to check if the candidates were reading the label!

The Practical also featured a spirit tasting where candidates were asked to identify 4 spirits. This year the spirits were Bacardi, Tequila Blanco, Jack Daniels, Calvados.

Andrea Martinisi decants and serves Te Mata Awatea 2018.

Karan Patyal was awarded the NZ Young Sommelier of the Year.

"I am 25 years old. Currently working at The Northern Club. I have completed my WSET Level 3. I came to New Zealand 8 years ago. I have been working in wine retail in the past but I got passionate for restaurants so decided to work in the hospitality industry". 

Angela Allan, sommelier and manager at Culprit Restaurant and was placed 2nd in the competition.

"I am originally from Canada and have been very lucky to call New Zealand  home for 9 years now. I take great satisfaction in service to others,  and it makes me really happy when I can share my love of food and wine with our guests at CULPRIT. The beauty of wine for me is that it can be so complex in every way and yet so simple - it just needs to be enjoyed...Just like life!"

Suraj GC, sommelier Park Hyatt, Auckland

Originally from Nepal, Suraj has been working in New Zealand for a number of years including as maitre'd at Elephant Hill and at Masu, Sky City. He is currently sommelier at the Onemata Restaurant at the Park Hyatt, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland.

Craig Beattie, Bar Manager Hello Beasty

"I'm a Scottish bartender who went traveling in Australasia and found a love for wines. I think it was somewhere between Swan Valley and Margaret River that the penny dropped. So I kept exploring wine regions and haven't looked back since. I am now bar manager at Hello Beasty which gives me the opportunity to try amazing wine on a daily basis and share my passion and love of wine to our customers. I find it amazing introducing guests to something they may not have tried before and this is what I enjoy to do!"

Daniel Dew, Martinborough
'I am the co-owner of Nara Martinborough, a food truck based at Te Kairanga vineyard, serving middle eastern inspired cuisine, as well as fried chicken and waffles. I have worked in restaurants and in fine wine retail in Wellington and the Wairarapa and run a wine club for winemakers and local enthusiasts in Martinborough."

Precision Pouring Challenge


The three finalists: Andrea Martinisi, Angela Allan and Suraj GC were asked to do 3 tasks in front of the audience.

Task 1  Precision Pouring challenge  to open a bottle of Quartz Reef Methode Traditionnelle from Central Otago and pour it evenly into 8 glasses (without going back) in 5 minutes and with no sparkling wine left in the bottle.

Task 2 Spot the mistakes in the Wine List

For this task each candidate was required to find errors in a winelist prepared by sommelier Marek Przyborek. Have a look below and see if you can find the 15 errors???

Task 3 Personalities of Wine

In this task candidates we asked to identify the photograph of a well-known New Zealand or international wine/hospo person.

This was followed by at delicious dinner And not to mention the NZ National Wine Competition but that is the subject of another blog! 

Celia Hay