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    Top sommeliers go head-to-head in Best UK Sommelier finals

    We are well and truly into awards season with seemingly gongs being handed out for everything from wines, to global song contests, to footballers of the year. Today it’s the turn of sommeliers and the finals of the Best UK Sommelier competition organised by, who else, the UK Sommelier Association in association with Villa Sandi. Leading sommeliers from all over the country will be competing to find out who is going to walk away with the overall crown.

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    English

    Sue Jones on the commercial potential of English wine

    How is it best to promote English and Welsh sparkling wine in a restaurant? Do you align it with champagne? Serve it as an alternative to prosecco? Are the prices seen as too high by the customer? All these questions and more are answered by Sue Jones co-owner of Michelin star restaurant The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, that has regularly won awards for its innovative and extensive wine list. In charge of the wine list and front-of-house team at The Harrow, Sue, together with husband and chef Roger, has been an early adopter of English and Welsh sparkling wine.

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    Stir It Up

    Stir It Up: the battle to be top of the summer cocktail shaker

    With the dust settling on the financial woes of Conviviality, it is back to business for both Bibendum and Matthew Clark, the latter unveiling its business goals in the on-trade cocktail market. Victor Smart witnessed the final of Stir It Up, a cocktail competition that, along with countryside workshops and an online advice portal is spearheading the company’s summer cocktail communications.

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    The larger than life world of Camino’s Richard Bigg

    Richard Bigg is such a larger than life character that even his name could have been dreamt up by some Hollywood talent agency. Which is quite appropriate as his life would make for one of those cracking biopics, such are the wide and varied things he has done in what is still only a relatively short career. We might all know him as arguably kicking into life the whole Spanish and tapas dining scene in the UK, with his Camino group of restaurants, but, as Richard Siddle discovers there is so much more to who on the surface seems so quiet and unassuming.

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    Roux

    All roads lead to Hedonism’s Hide Restaurant for Roux Scholars

    Winning the prestigious Roux Scholarship is a road to international stardom. For the 2018 winner Martin Carabott it is a route that follows last year’s winner Lucas Selby into the much-anticipated Hide restaurant, Ollie Dabbous’ new joint-venture with Hedonism Wines that is promising the “world’s largest selection of wine” at your fingertips. Our own Michelin Star chef Roger Jones was at last week’s event.

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    High & Dry

    Roger Jones ditches wine off menu of new, second restaurant

    Our roving Michelin star chef has announced plans to open his second restaurant in Wiltshire with the contemporary twist of it being totally non-alcoholic. With a working name of The High & Dry, the new eaterie will be combining the Michelin-star cuisine of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn with fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks, in one case even using Irun-Bru in the cooking. Please note this story was written and published on April 1.

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    People: On-Trade
    Vermouth

    Mike Turner on Vermouth bars: Why do old boys have all the fun?

    Can the spirit of a Catalonian Vermouth bar ever be recreated in North London? That’s the question wine expert Mike Turner asks. He recalls his first experience of a Vermouth bar in Barcelona, gets enthusiastic about it in his customary way, then wonders whether he can recreate the drink and the atmosphere in La Ferme, a new restaurant he has opened in North London’s Primrose Hill district.

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    MW, MS, MBA, MSC and World Sommelier award: Basset's career grand slam

    Gerard Basset recognised with top French honour

    Gerard Basset MW MS has been putting his mark on the UK hospitality industry ever since he first came to this country as a fresh faced culinary student in the early 1980s. This week it was the turn of the French to recognise all the achievements he has made promoting his country’s wines in the […]

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    Roger Jones puts South African sparkling up against the world

    There are Michelin star chefs renown the world over for their excellence in what they can put on a plate, but few have the interest, let alone the commitment and drive to challenge themselves to understand the wines they can match with them. Roger Jones is a breed apart as he reports from South Africa on the sparkling wine competition he set up that pitted local sparklers up against the best of the rest of the world.

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    People: On-Trade
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    Edinburgh gets taste of Italy with opening of Wine House Hotel 1821

    Edinburgh has such a rich choice of restaurants and bars it can be hard for any new opening to stand out, but, as Helen Arnold discovers, premium Italian wine company, Zonin, hopes to make a difference with the launch of a new hotel dedicated to wine in a new venture with local celebrated chef, Sep Marini, called The Wine House 1821, the year Zonin was founded.

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