Champagne Bureau, Australia has announced two winners in the 42nd biennial Vin de Champagne Awards at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel. The award honours Australia’s relationship with France’s Champagne region.

State finalists were flown to Sydney for the grand final judging, which included an interview and a blind tasting.

Cameron O’Keefe, sommelier at Centra, in Victoria, won the professional award for people who gain income from the food and wine industry, while Nicky Goodyer, florist at Aahh Flowers, in NSW.

O’Keefe and Goodyer will travel to France’s Champagne region for a two-week educational tour, where they will receive their medal from Le Comite Champagne.

Champagnes including Taittinger Cuve Prestige, Charles Haidsieck 2005, and Bollinger Ros, along with many others, were matched with a five-course menu designed by Mark Best, which featured dishes like tomato marshallow and doughnuts and chicken liver parfait.

“The evening was a fitting celebration of the passion and respect for Champagne in Australia. All the finalists displayed remarkable knowledge and sophisticated palates, and we’re certain the winners will continue to pursue their aspirations to learn even more about the nuances and history of Champagne by travelling to the region itself,” said Elisabeth Drysdale, director of the Champagne Bureau.

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