The Palate 2015

(by Peter Richards MW & Susie Barrie MW)

The-Palate-2014-IRight. Who fancies a crack at winning fantastic prizes including a wine holiday to South Africa, a long weekend in Italy, a day course at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School, wine goodies totalling £3,000, and the opportunity to pick a wine for Oddbins to list nationwide?

Also up for grabs is the kudos of being crowned The Palate 2015.

That’s right – Britain’s tastiest wine competition is back for a fourth year running. We’ve overseen the last three editions of The Palate, helping both mentor and judge some brilliant amateur wine tasters.

It’s wine fun on an epic scale. It’s both brutal and brilliant. If you’re thinking of entering and are concerned it’s just for wine geeks – don’t worry. It’s not. We judges rate passion, enthusiasm, imagination, a keen palate, a desire to learn and a sense of fun just as much as wine knowledge.

We’ve lost count of the amount of people who say to us, when they’ve just amazed themselves with how well they’ve done, ‘I never believed I’d be able to do this!’

And that’s exactly what The Palate is all about. Celebrating our nation’s love of wine, however much you know (or don’t know) about wine.

The Palate mentors and judges: Peter Richards MW, Susie Barrie MW, Sarah AhmedLast year, some 21,000 people entered. We had a brilliant overall winner in Steve Saunders – and many others who walked away with some fantastic prizes on finals day too.

We’re often asked for tips on how to do well. Our response is: it’s well worth practising a bit. So get someone to buy you some classic wines and serve you them ‘blind’ (ie without seeing the label). You won’t get them all right but learn from your tasting how to identify key wine styles (and don’t forget to have fun at the same time: you’ll have a few bottles open and you get to call it research!)

It’s also worth buying the odd book like The World Atlas of Wine, Grapes & Wines, maybe Essential Wine Tasting. But don’t get overawed and deflated by big books and wine geekery in general. The competition is an invitation to have fun and challenge yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose – and who knows, you might just surprise yourself…

Round One finishes this weekend – 27/28 June – just pop into any Oddbins store to enter. You can find a list of their stores via this link.

It’s generated a fair bit of media coverage too. You can read about it on the drinks business, harpers and OLN. For more information, please see the Oddbins website.