The New Zealand Sommelier Award Winners have been announced for 2019, with three people being recognised in the categories of Sommelier of the Year, Young Sommelier of the Year and Young Wine Professional. The competition which was held at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine brought in guest judge John Szabo, a master sommelier from Canada.
Dion Wai, previously Sommelier of the Year in 2016, took out the Sommelier of the Year award. Wai currently works at Baduzzi Restaurant and is a graduate of AUT and the New Zealand School of Food and Wine’s Professional Wine Programme.
Nikki Weir, from Sid at The French Café, won the Young Sommelier of the Year, a fitting follow-up from winning runner-up last year.
The New Zealand Young Wine Professional went to Victoria Haysom, who had to complete a public speaking task prior to the competition, as well as presenting to the judges on the day.
“The New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals represent people who work with beverages not just in restaurants but also in sales and marketing roles, and as educators across New Zealand,” said Celia Hay, chair of the new sommeliers and wine professionals. “This community is about creating a not-for-profit association to network, learn more, learn from each other and grow as a national body.”