New Zealand Winegrowers 2019 Sommelier Scholarship recipients announced

New Zealand Winegrowers is pleased to announce the 18 successful sommeliers chosen to participate in the 2019 New Zealand Winegrowers International Sommelier Scholarship.

The New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship is a global initiative with sommeliers from Australia, Asia, Canada, Europe, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and USA all eligible to participate.

Limited to just 20 attendees, the two-day “Sommit” will be hosted in Hawke’s Bay on the 25 & 26 January 2019, by NZ Master of Wine Stephen Wong and UK Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn.

The event is a celebration of the lesser known aspects of New Zealand wine, with particular emphasis on the facets that resonate with the sommelier community and is just one part of an intensive programme of 11 days, including the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough and the Chardonnay and Sparkling Wine symposium in Gisborne.

“It has been a privilege to welcome such a talented and passionate group of wine professionals to New Zealand on the scholarship programme, exploring the depth and breadth of New Zealand’s many wine regions,” said New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke.

Sommit is a closed-door sommelier-only event, and a very different kind of tasting that is directed by the attendees based on what they taste in the glass. “At the end of their experience we hope the scholars will share personal wine discoveries and insights from their trip with their customers and the wider sommelier community – something we simply cannot replicate in a classroom. We look forward to them becoming true ambassadors for New Zealand wine,” said Mr Yorke.

The 18 successful sommeliers are:


  • Arneis Wu, Joel Robuchon (Shanghai)
  • Kerry Qin, Bellagio Hotel (Shanghai)
  • Mathias Camilleri MS, CE LA VI (Singapore)


  • Matthew Dunne, Solotel (Sydney)
  • Emma Farrelly, State Buildings (Perth)
  • Stephanie Jacob, Supernormal (Melbourne)
  • David Murphy, One Penny Red (Sydney)
  • Bridget Raffal, Sixpenny (Sydney)


  • Véronique Rivest, SOIF Wine Bar (Quebec)

United Arab Emirates:

  • Luca Gagliardi, Pierchic Restaurant (Dubai)

New Zealand:

  • Candice Chow, Go To Collection (Queenstown)

UK & Europe:

  • Melania Battiston, 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen (London)
  • Ian Brosnan, Ely’s Restaurant Group (Ireland)
  • Emma Ziemann, Thörnströms Kök (Sweden)


  • Vanessa Da Silva, Ninety Acres (Peapack, New Jersey)
  • Jillian Riley, NoMI (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Winn Roberton, Bourbon Steak at Four Seasons (Washington D.C.)
  • Emily Tolbert, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse (Houston, Texas)

To date, the New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship has hosted five Sommit events for 79 sommeliers from 15 countries. Previous Sommit events have seen a marked increase in listings of New Zealand wines in top international restaurants.

Visit here for more information on the scholarship process and programme.

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