After an embattled year and a half for the South African Wine Industry, who will take top prize and go on to represent South Africa in the World's Best Sommelier in Paris?
Cape Town- (29th July 2021) Following four waves of banned alcohol sales and hundreds of establishments being forced to close, the esteemed profession of Sommelière has been hanging in the balance. Finally, there is a small light at the end of the tunnel as we announce the upcoming Best Sommelier in South Africa 2021 competition in partnership with the Stellenbosch Wine Route. "For five decades, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes have been crafting exceptional wines and sharing them with the world. This association is a great opportunity to support the profession and keep sharing the personality of our wines, region, people. Sommeliers are the link between consumers and our brand. They are the ambassadors of our wines and region." Mike Ratcliffe, Chairman, Stellenbosch Wine Routes
The competition will take place at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate on 15th September. A top-tier panel of judges will be watching and scoring the candidates' every move.
Master of Wine Madeleine Stenwreth
Famed chef Harald Bresselschmidt
Reigning Best Sommelier in South Africa, Jo Wessels
SASA Chairman and ASI Diploma sommelier, Spencer Fondaumeire
For the first time, this competition will be live-streamed worldwide thanks to our partnership with the excellent team at WineLand Media. "We're incredibly excited and proud about our partnership. Not only are we itching to see who'll be crowned South Africa's best Sommelier, but we're chomping at the bit to provide a quality, uninterrupted live feed and blow-by-blow coverage. The world will witness the world-class talent of South African sommeliers," says Anton Pretorius, online editor at WineLand Media.
"The quality of South African wines has never been better. The will to succeed has never been stronger. And the fighting spirit within the industry has never been more powerful. I am inspired to be a part of showcasing South African talent on the world's stage." Madeleine Stenwreth, MW
2nd August- National Quarter Finals Open (RSVP to sign up)
16th August- National Quarter Finals Close
23rd August- Semi-Finalists Announced
15th September- Competition
We are honored to have fantastic sponsors supporting our candidates and our efforts. The WWF Conservation Champions came on as sponsors to help showcase the sustainability achievements within the South African wine industry as part of the Sommeliers training in the future. "It is a great opportunity to raise awareness within the South African Sommeliers of what our wine farms are achieving by incorporating their social and environmental commitments, as well as the unique and innovative wine tasting experiences as an expanded portfolio of consumer engagement offerings. This competition is a positive spin during these challenging times - showing the creativity and adaptability of the South African wine farms which deserves recognition and support." Shelly Fuller of the WWF Conservation Champion initiative.
Long-time supporter and industry mainstay Winterhalter recognizes the importance of the Sommelier profession, "without a Somm to guide us, our dining experience would be lacking. Without brilliantly clean, sparkling glassware, a Somm can't do their job; the symbiosis is clear. At Winterhalter, we go a step further, doing this using the least of our precious resources possible." Brandon Park, Managing Director
Once again, providing critical support in the form of glassware, we are delighted to continue our partnership with Ambience Hospitality. "As suppliers of internationally recognised tabletop solutions to the hospitality industry, we are committed to supporting our valued clients, and this sponsorship of world-class glassware allows us to lend our support to SASA," says Gillian du Toit, owner/director of Ambience Hospitality Brands.
Spencer: "We are delighted to be able to host the best Sommelier in South Africa competition in what is a challenging time for the trade. We are humbled and overwhelmed by the massive amount of support from the industry and our members. We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our best against the best in the world."
To compete, RSVP here!