Angela Allan wins NZ Sommelier of the Year 2023

  • Celia Hay

Angela Allan wins NZ Sommelier of the Year 2023 with Head Judges Andrea Martinisi and Celia Hay.

Congratulations to Angela Allan, New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2023.

Originally from Canada, Angela has been living in New Zealand for over 10 years and building her skills working at a number of restaurants including Culprit, Oyster and Chop and is currently Head Sommelier at La Fuente.

In 2021, she completed the Certificate in Professional Wine Knowledge at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine which included WSET Level 3 Wines and WSET Level 2 Spirits. In 2019, she gained Court of Master Sommeliers certified. In 2022 Angela represented New Zealand at the ASI Association of Sommeliers International Training Bootcamp in Malaysia and in February 2023, was a volunteer at the ASI World Best Sommelier Competition in Paris.

"At competitions there is always an element of surprise and you need to expect that there will be a twist. This was my 4th time doing the New Zealand competition so I have learned that the judges can throw you a curveball. It's a test in listening, and doing what is asked and showing your skills.

"You won’t do everything perfectly, or answer all the questions correctly, but you can do your best, learn, and improve your skills under pressure," comments Angela.

"For me the service portion is always daunting, when you must decant a bottle of wine under cork or pour a bottle of method traditional in 4 minutes. You are being watched very closely, and everything you do or say is scrutinised. I'm still working on trying to stay calm and relaxed through these tests, and doing more competitions helps with that."

"The competitions provide, just another opportunity to learn and improve. I am very honoured to win this award," says Angela.

On the Day

An action-pack day of tasks and assessments from theory to Blind tasting of 3 wines (Framingham Riesling 2021, Felton Road Cornish Point 2018, Beronia Crianza Rioja 2018) in 20 minutes; To decanting Identifying 4 spirits; Precision Pouring (4 minutes) and more.

We were also very pleased to welcome four visiting sommeliers from Australia and Japan.

Suraj GC of Auckland Park Hyatt was placed 2nd.

The Sommelier Candidates

L-R Vojtech Cukor of The Grove was placed 3rd; Justin Biskup (formally Head Sommelier Vie du Monde, Melbourne); Karan Patyal of The Northern Club, Auckland; Tony Suarez of Hotel Britomart.

Tony Suarez of Hotel Britomart; Suraj GCLu Wang  of Mr. Wong, Merivale Group, Sydney; Kunal Kohli of Vesuvio, Christchurch; Maika Yamamoto of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo and Ryoma Okinaka of Marriott Associa, Nagoya.

Angela Allan pours Quartz Reef Method Traditional

Vojtech Cukor concentrates on the Precision Pouring Challenge

Winners announced

Angela Allan, New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2023
Suraj GC, 2nd place
Vojtech Cukor, 3rd place
Contestants: Angela Allan (La Fuente, formally of Culprit) Suraj GC (Park Hyatt), Karan Patyal (The Northern Club), Tony Suarez (Hotel Britomart), Vojtech Cukor (The Grove),  Andrea Tremaud, (The Grove) and Kunal Kohli (Vesuvio, Christchurch).

Guest Sommeliers from Japan

Maika Yamamoto of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo and Ryoma Okinaka of Marriott Associa, Nagoya.

Guest Sommeliers from Australia

Justin Biskup, formally Head Sommelier Vie du Monde, Melbourne, now based in Perth and Lu Wang  from Mr. Wong, Merivale Group, Sydney.

Many thanks to our sponsors and partners.

Hospitality Training Trust who funded the travel scholarship for members to attend the competition.

For the competition wine tasting and the dinner

  • Te Mata Estate - candidates decanted Te Mata Awatea
  • Giesen Group
  • Quartz Reef - finalists poured Methode Traditionnelle
  • Hans Herzog Estate

Chef Des Harris and the students of New Zealand School of Food and Wine who prepared the Awards Dinner.

Celia Hay

August 2023

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