The Palate 2013 - The Winner - Fran Evans

"The Palate 2012" - Fran Evans.

In the Grand Final, the remaining four were given half an hour to taste six wines blind and identify vintages, grape varieties, country of origin, flavours, aromas and recommended retail price. After much difficult deliberation and cogitation in the cellar, the judges unanimously chose the winner to be Crouch End-resident Fran Evans.

Diffident and unassuming, sustainability officer Fran was gobsmacked at the result. She said: "I'm struggling to put it into words. It was so exciting. There were a lot of people there who had a lot more knowledge than me, so I'm over the moon to have won. It goes to show that wine tasting is not an elite activity - it's for everybody. I like it when you walk into a wine merchant's and you don't feel like you shouldn't be there."

Oddbins Head of Buying said: "Fran was an interesting winner because she wasn't confident to begin with, but grew more assured as she learned more throughout the day. This demonstrates perfectly what The Palate 2012 was trying to achieve: you only need to assess what is in the glass in front of you, nothing else. The answers she gave were so accurate and concise, because she didn't try to bring any peripheral knowledge into them. What was particularly impressive was how near the mark she was with the price points - that is very difficult to do."

Peter Richards added: "It was clear that there were very different levels of knowledge and that was exactly what we were hoping for. It was important that it wasn't about having an encyclopaedic knowledge, but about raw talent. That's why Fran was such a worthy winner."

Fran's Selection for the Oddbins Range

But that wasn't the end for Fran's tale. Before the winner was announced she was asked to choose a wine (blind) for us to stock on our shelves. The wine that she chose was a Chardonnay, a grape variety that Fran professed to not really liking before the competition. The fantastic {{widget type="catalog/product_widget_link" anchor_text="La Closerie des Lys Chardonnay " title="La Closerie des Lys Chardonnay " template="catalog/product/widget/link/link_inline.phtml" id_path="product/179"}}chosen by Fran is available to buy in all Oddbins shops and here on

It was terrific that Fran surprised herself by choosing a Chardonnay. It's a great start to an on-going conversation with our customers about what they want to see in our shops. In fact we were so impressed with Fran's choice that we decided to bring in the red version too, so you can also try {{widget type="catalog/product_widget_link" anchor_text="La Closerie des Lys Pinot Noir" title="La Closerie des Lys Pinot Noir" template="catalog/product/widget/link/link_inline.phtml" id_path="product/180"}}.

Fran Evans The Palate 2012 WInner Fran Evans The Palate 2012 WInner Fran Evans The Palate 2012 WInner