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Top|Somm and TopNewSomm


Introduction

Top|Somm and TopNewSomm are competitions for wine service professionals administered under the framework of the Guild of Sommeliers, judged by Master Sommeliers and governed by the standards of the US Court of Master Sommeliers.  Each competition affords wine service professionals the opportunity to fine-tune their skills and compete for the title of Top|Somm (open to competitors 30 years of age and older) and TopNewSomm (open to competitors 21-29 years of age). These competitions recognize excellence and encourage mastery of wine and spirit knowledge and service.

Entry for the 2014 Competitions is now closed.


2014 Competition Dates

18 January - 8:00 am - 1:00 pm PST: Online Preliminaries

21 January: Regional Finalists Announced

24 February: WEST Regional Competition - Los Altos, CA

3 March: CENTRAL Regional Competition - Chicago, IL

5 March: EAST Regional Competition - New York, NY

10 March: SOUTH Regional Competition - Miami, FL

4 May: National Championships - San Francisco, CA

Read all 2014 Top|Somm and TopNewSomm Rules

Eligibility

Top|Somm is open to any qualified individual who:

  • Is at least 30 years of age on January 1 of the competition year.
  • Is a working wine professional.
  • All contestants will answer the preliminary online questions; the top contestants will qualify for one of four Regional Competitions; the top competitors at the regional level will progress to the US National Championship.
  • Previous winners of Top|Somm are not eligible to compete a second time.
  • An individual may compete only three times at the Top|Somm Championship and must complete the entire qualification and eligibility process each year.
  • The individual with the highest score at the US National Championship will be named the year’s Top|Somm. 

 TopNewSomm is open to any qualified individual who:

  • Is at least 21 years age and no more than 29 years of age on January 1 of the competition year.
  • Is a working wine professional.
  • All contestants will answer the preliminary online questions; the top contestants will qualify for one of four Regional Competitions; the winners of each Regional Competition will progress to the US National Championship.
  • Previous winners of TopNewSomm are not eligible to compete a second time.
  • An individual may compete only three times at the TopNewSomm Championship and must complete the entire qualification and eligibility process each year.
  • The individual with the highest score at the US National Championship will be named the year’s TopNewSomm.

Competition Registration

An Equal Opportunity Organization

The Guild of Sommeliers is an equal opportunity organization and does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a disabled veteran or other legally protected class status.  Information provided by applicants will not be used for any discriminatory purpose.


Entry Fee

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.

Competition Structure

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.

 

Championship Awards

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.

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