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1 May 2024

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 24 & 25 March 2025

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22 April 2025

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Photo for: Unravel London Wine Competition with Savvas Symeonidis, Head of Wine for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

Insights

Unravel London Wine Competition with Savvas Symeonidis, Head of Wine for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

In conversation with our Chief Growth Officer, Ankita O., Savvas Symeonidis, Head of Wine for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, provides our audience with insights into his professional journey and sheds light on the London Wine Competition.

In the heart of Mayfair, where culinary excellence meets modernity, Savvas Symeonidis, the Head of Wine for Lucky Cat and Bar & Grill at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, orchestrates a symphony of flavors and experiences. With a journey that began in Athens and wound through the world of medicine before finding its way into the intricate world of wines, Savvas has become a paragon of expertise in the industry.

Image Source: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants (Caesar Entertainment)

Ten years ago, Savvas found himself in the UK, assuming the role of head sommelier at Thornbury Castle near Bristol. His quest for knowledge led him through the hallowed halls of Michelin-starred establishments like Tamarind and Gymkhana in Mayfair. Later, he took the helm as the head sommelier of Goodman Restaurant before embarking on a global adventure with the Azumi group, where he explored the realms of wine and sake in Zuma, Roka, and Oblix London. Today, he steers the wine ship for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, not just in the UK but also across the Atlantic in North America.

Image Source: ZUMA, London

As a seasoned professional, Savvas's insights into the Competition (LWC) shed light on what makes this event a cut above the rest. According to him, the LWC stands out for its product diversity and a judging process that prioritizes clarity. The blind tasting format, where wines of similar profiles compete head-to-head, ensures a fair evaluation, akin to the meticulous process sommeliers undertake when curating their wine lists.

For Savvas, the magic of the LWC lies in the camaraderie of like-minded professionals, each a paragon of wine knowledge and experience. Every year, he finds himself surrounded by individuals who share the same passion for wine, creating an atmosphere that is as enriching as the wines being judged.

Image Source: Savvas Symeonidis

When it comes to assigning quality scores, Savvas seeks a delicate balance of quality, typicity, finesse, and power. He appreciates winemakers who embrace experimentation, ensuring that each bottle stands out in a sea of similarities.

As the wine industry evolves, Savvas anticipates a shift towards quality over quantity, with a rising demand for organic, sustainable, and low-alcohol wines. His advice to brands is simple—listen to your audience and adapt to their changing preferences.

Image Features: Sustainable Wines

Savvas emphasizes the transparency and professionalism of the LWC judging panel. He encourages brands to participate not just for recognition but to stand out in a sea of wines, making a mark based on merit.

Outside of his demanding professional life, Savvas's passion for wine extends to making beer at home, visiting vineyards, and curating a personal collection. His enthusiasm for the industry is palpable, whether he's exploring the spicy flavors of Hoppers or enjoying a quiet evening at Gordon's wine bar.

For those seeking liquid treasures in London, Savvas recommends The Sampler in Islington for its diverse selection and unique opportunity to bring your own food. Gordon's wine bar, Chez Bruce, and Hoppers are also on his list, each offering a distinct experience.

Image Source: The Sampler in Islington

For those looking to bring a piece of London's wine scene home, Savvas suggests exploring Bedales on Borough Market, Dalla Terra in Covent Garden, and Oddbins at Portobello Market for intriguing finds and enticing bin ends.

As we raise our glasses to the 7th edition of the London Wine Competition, Savvas Symeonidis invites you to embark on a journey of discovery, celebrate excellence, and join a community of passionate professionals. Whether you're a seasoned winemaker or a budding enthusiast, the London Wine Competition promises an unparalleled experience—a chance to let your wines shine in the company of industry paragons. Cheers to the spirit of competition, camaraderie, and the pursuit of vinous perfection!

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The 2024 London Wine Competition results are out! View the list of winners here.

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