Oddbins’ The Palate 2014 wine tasting competition: last chance saloon for entries!



Up for grabs – the winner of Oddbins The Palate 2014 receives a trip of a lifetime to Australia

While I was away on holidays news broke about the launch of Oddbins’ The Palate wine tasting competition.  I am pleased to say that this accounts for why my name cropped up in The Daily Mail!  Given both previous The Palate Champions have been women, the tabloid queries are women are better wine tasters than men? No better way to throw down the gauntlet I reckon!  Not that there is a shortage of entries – Oddbins expects some 25,000 to put their palates to the test.

And there is still time to enter The Palate 2014, which is aimed at amateurs and not the trade (I’ll be one of the The Voice-style mentor/judges this year alongside fellow writers Susie Barrie MW, Peter Richards MW and  Joe Wadsack – over to you to divine who is Sir Tom, Will.i.am, Kylie and Ricky…).

Should be great fun and  the competitive spirit is already alive and kicking… and that’s just between the judges!!!!!  As for the entrants, the winner receives a trip of a lifetime to Australia and a chance to select a wine for Oddbins to list (last year’s discerning champion selected a Portuguese wine).

If you’re up for it there’s still a chance to enter at either The Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival (13-15 June) or Taste of London (19-22 June) – just rock up at Oddbins’ stand.  And if you’re the cautious type, I think you’ll find this video of Oddbins The Palate 2013 final encouraging.  As Oddbins’ Managing Director, Ayo Akintola observes “Last year’s finalists, most of whom were incredibly surprised to discover they had a talent for wine appreciation, came from a very diverse range of backgrounds…We are committed to making wine appreciation as unstuffy, approachable and democratic as possible.”

Here’s the low down from Oddbins about this year’s competition:

The first round will take place in Oddbins’ 35 branches over the next two weekends, and this year will also see the retailer offering wine lovers the chance to enter at a number of outdoor food and drink fairs.

These are in:


– Brixton’s ‘Brix Mix’ Market (31 May)

– Taste of London (18-22 June)


Oxford’s Gloucester Green Farmers’ Market (5 June)


Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Farmers’ Market (8 June)


Oddbins Wine Fair at The Church On The Hill, Glasgow (June 8)


The Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival (13-15 June)

The Palate is open to anyone over the age of 18 and no prior experience or knowledge of wine tasting is required to take part. The first round and the quarter-finals will involve participants blind tasting a selection of Oddbins’ wines and answering simple questions about each wine. Each entrant will receive an eight page guide to wine tasting.

The 64 entrants that get through to the semi-final will enjoy the priceless opportunity to learn from one of four renowned wine experts in the UK at a ‘boot camp’, where their taste-buds will be out to the test by the best in the business.

Last year’s judges Peter Richards and Susie Barrie, both Masters of Wine, will be joined this year by writers Sarah Ahmed and Joe Wadsack. Each judge will host their own boot camp for 16 semi-finalists before selecting just four participants each to go forward to the grand final in September.

The overall winner of The Palate 2014 will walk away with a trip for two people to Australia to visit some of the finest vineyards in the country.


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