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Eight Wine Waiters Selected For Final Course

NEWS RELEASE 31 July 2000

Eight Wine Waiters Selected For Final Course

Eight of the country's top wine waiters are through to the final of Sommelier 2000 - the search for New Zealand's best.

Professional wine waiters from Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Christchurch are among the 8 finalists named today (Monday) by organizers of the prestigious competition.

The 8 contenders will now assemble in Auckland to face the ultimate test - a full service lunch performance before a demanding (and potentially unsettling) panel of celebrity judges at The Heritage Auckland on August the 23rd.

The finalists are :

* Cameron Douglas, Vinnies Restaurant, AUCKLAND
* Chris Green, Annies Wine Bar, CHRISTCHURCH
* Nigel Devere-Ellery, The Northern Club, AUCKLAND
* Josh Pocock, O'Connell St Bistro, AUCKLAND
* Graeme Fairey, Heritage Motor Inn, ROTORUA
* Andrew Parkinson, Beaujolais Wine Bar, WELLINGTON
* Stephen Morris, Copita Ltd, WELLINGTON
* Baxter Fagan, Mezzinis Food & Wine Co, WELLINGTON


Sommelier 2000

The Sommelier 2000 competition is aimed at rewarding professional skills and encouraging excellence in the service of wine. Auckland's Matua Valley Wines launched the event, last held in 1986, earlier this year.

Over the past three weeks, competition director and chief judge Keith Stewart has toured New Zealand, interviewing semi-finalists from as far away as Auckland in the north, to Riverton in the deep south.

Mr Stewart says there was a very high standard among the 41 semi-finalists. Selecting the final 8 was not easy.

"As I travelled around the country I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the younger people in the industry." he says.

"There are some real up and coming stars. All they need is more experience - particularly with the tasting of international wines - before they join the top echelon of wine waiters in New Zealand. Mr. Stewart says the geographic spread of talented hopefuls confirms that New Zealand restaurant diners are indeed well served. "The general support shown for the competition is gratifying. There is a real groundswell of interest already building for next year's event."

August 23 Final

The Sommelier 2000 lunch event on Aug 23rd at The Heritage Auckland promises to be an entertaining and informative event.

Celebrity guests at the judging tables will be encouraged to respond and behave just as they would on a typical night out.

As the competition is all about improving the quality of wine service, judges will be looking for waiters who use their expertise judiciously; enhancing the wine aspects of any meal and helping those who want to know more about the wine being served.

The finalists will be given 5 or 6 different wines to match to the dishes prepared for the event.

The winning Sommelier will receive a return trip for two to France, courtesy of Qantas. The trip will include time spent with Moet & Chandon in Epernay - France's Champagne capital.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Bill Spence or Simon Beck Matua Valley Wines Phone: 0800 628 829 Facsimile: (09) 411 7982 Email: simon_beck@matua.co.nz


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