Philip Dunne, Global Group Sommelier for The Doyle Collection for Ireland, UK & the USA.
This years final day of the course, was greeted by the amazing sunshine & heat we had experienced all week, and with a slight change to the norm, we started the final exams without a Vin Clair tasting, and straight into the Blind Tasting. This years wines were
-Ruinart Rose NV -Perrier Jouet Blanc de Blanc NV -Taittinger Prelude -Moet & Chandon 2012
following the blind tasting, the Candidates went into the final exam, on the lecture topic of Champagne Marketing & world export.
The candidates were then transported to the venue for the final luncheon & presentation, Le Grand Cerf. I am please to announce all of our 2023 candidates passed with flying colours, so please welcome our new Academicians,
Before the top 3, we have a few special mentions;
-Steffan Griffiths, who performed well in the exams & tasting, but almost more importantly brought laughter, jollity & song to the week, lifting spirits at all hours!
-Alexandra Mawson, passed with Merit
-Agnieszka Sledz, passed with Merit
-Erik Simonics, passed with Merit
-Paul Richards, passed with Merit
And for the final 3;
Third Place - Matthew Whitten - St Austell
Second Place - Luma Monterio - Davy's Wine Merchants
First Place & Silver Magnum Winner - Philip Dunne - The Doyle Collection
And so as Chairman, it is my pleasure to welcome them all to the Champagne Academy Family, and to thank all involved for a succesful course, with this years focus for the Academy front of mind!
The Three E's
Evolution - Not Revolution, after a few difficult years, led by Andrew Fullerton, we advanced alot, now is the time to continue to drive the Academy forward, with measured actions. Education - This is the heart of the Academy on the Maisons side as well as the UK. With learning about Champagne, Maisons, Cuvees critical, and the sharing of that information around the country.
Equality - With many facets relevant, including, ensuring all Maisons are represented equally, ensuring we have a selection process that includes all Channels, a varied geography, and a mix of gender, experience & knowledge.
To read more about our new family members head to our blog here https://www.champagneacademy.co.uk/post/memories-from-the-2023-academicians
If you know someone who would love to attend the course, lead them to our website, www.champagneacademy.co.uk/course
Paul Walker - Chairman 2023
Philip's Comments on hearing he topped the leader board....
Paul proceeds to call out the name of the 3rd place candidate, Matthew Whitten, followed a few minutes later by Luma Monteiro who places second. I'm in genuine shock at this point. My name gets called out as the winner of the Champagne Academy 2023. Paul and Charles hand me the historical prize of the 'Silver Bucket' which has been the symbolic trophy for the winner since the foundation of the academy in 1956. A special moment that I don't think I'll ever forget.
I'd like to thank on behalf of all 16 candidates who took this wonderful course this week in June 2023 a sincere gratitude to the sixteen Grand Marques Houses who made this week so special for all. A further mention also to Bollinger, this year's presidential house who presided over all this week with great success. Finally, a huge thank you from us all to the committee of the Champagne Academy, including this year's Chariman Paul Walker who worked tirelessly to ensure again the 2023 edition was again excellent for all involved.
I’m currently the global group sommelier of the Doyle Collection hotel collection for Ireland, UK, and USA. Previously I was the head sommelier of both Ashford Castle and The Westbury. During my time in both, I was fortunate to win on two occasions the award of Best Sommelier in Ireland.
Based in Dublin, I am also the founder of Vinspire Wine and Spirit Academy – a school that offers WSET qualifications in both wine and spirits up to Level 3 to the on and off trade here.
My first visit to Champagne was back in 2015, and I’ve been so lucky to visit seven times since! Every time I go, I always learn something new and come back very inspired.