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As the search goes on for “The Voice” on BBC1, Oddbins has launched its own quest to find the country’s best amateur wine palate.

The independent high street wine merchant is inviting wine lovers to put their taste buds to the test to stand a chance of winning a coveted place on Oddbins’ Tasting Panel that decides which wines go into its branches and on its website Oddbins.com.

As if a further incentive were needed, the winners of “The Palate” will also walk away with a holiday of a lifetime in one of the world’s best-known wine regions.

The competition is being launched at the Oddbins Wine Fair at Victoria House in London on the 25-26 May with the first round commencing in Oddbins branches across the country (including Bristol!) the following 2 weekends (2-3 and 9-10 June.)

Each Oddbins branch will select the best palates from the initial heats according to set criteria. The competition then progresses to a regional contest and then to a national level to select the overall winners.

The competition takes place over three months, with progressively harder tasting challenges for the contestants in each round. Contestants who get through to the semi-final will be assigned a coach and attend a tasting ‘boot camp’ where they will receive a master class in tasting from the coaches who are three of the most respected wine critics in the country. With each coach selecting the best contestants to go through to the finals, the finals then become a battle of the finalist as well as the coaches.

The three overall winners will travel with the Oddbins Buying team, to sample wines before choosing the customers’ selection to be sold in store this Christmas.

The competition is open to everyone as long as they are over 18 and not employed in the wine trade.

Emma Nichols, Head of Buying of Oddbins, said: “For our customers and the wine loving public as a whole, we are offering the chance of putting your taste buds to the test in a fun, relaxed and for the winner, an ultimately extremely rewarding way.”

“No-one has done anything like this before and this is the latest demonstration of our commitment to engage with the British consumer. Inviting wine lovers to select some of our range represents a logical next step for us. The Palate contest is a fun way of uncovering the tasting expertise that exists on every street, in every town, in every region of the UK.”

Emma added: “We want to make the appreciation of wine as democratic and unstuffy as possible and to make wine buying accessible and informative. The Palate is just one way that we are emphasising our commitment to these aims”


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