Each competitor will pay a non-refundable entry fee of $25 for the right to participate in Top|Somm or TopNewSomm. Entry fees must be paid online via the “Events & Shop” area of the Guild of Sommeliers website.
The Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Competitions will consist of three levels of competition: Online Preliminaries, four Regional Competitions and the National Championship.
Contestants who apply to compete and pay their entry fee will be notified of the date and time when the online preliminary will occur. The online preliminary consists of theory questions that may include short answer, multiple choice, matching, or essay questions. Knowledge in all areas of wine, wine production, laws, viticulture and vinification, as well as spirits, beers, ales, ciders, sake, and other beverages or areas of service may be tested.
The four Regions for the Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Competitions are defined below. Qualifying competitors are responsible for any transportation and lodging expenses.
East: CT, DC, DL, MA, ME, MD, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
Central: CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, OH, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, OK, SD, WI, WY
South: AL, AR, FL, GA, Islands, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX
West: AK, AZ, CA, HI, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA
Competitor Code of Conduct
All competitors are expected to attend and participate in all official competition functions, promotional functions and public relations activities relating to the competition. The competitors shall treat judges and fellow competitors with respect, and professional decorum is expected from the judges towards the competitors.
Regional & Championship Format
Theory: The theory section will consist of a written theory exam that may include short answer, multiple choice, matching, or essay questions. Knowledge in all areas of wine and wine production, laws, viticulture and vinification, as well as spirits, beers, ales, ciders, sake, and other beverages may be tested. The theory section will have a one-hour time limit.
Practical Service Skills: The practical skills section is a station-based service performance competition that may include any scenario likely to occur on a restaurant floor. The practical skills section is timed. This is a role-playing exercise requiring full restaurant service skills, composure, dress, and personal equipment.
Blind Tasting: Competitors will blind taste a number of wines. Judges may award scores based on conclusion, description, or both. Competitors are encouraged to use the “grid” provided by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Two perpetual trophies will be awarded following the Championship competition. The individual winning the title of Top|Somm will receive the Top|Somm perpetual trophy sponsored by Rodney Strong and a $2,000 cash scholarship. Top|Somm competitors finishing in second and third place will each receive a $1,000 cash scholarship. The individual winning the title of TopNewSomm will receive the Southern Wine & Spirits Trophy and a $1,000 cash scholarship.