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The search for South Africa’s Best Sommelier

Moët Chandon sommelier competition

Here’s your chance to compete on an international stage. Calling all talented sommeliers to enter the prestigious South African Sommelier Association’s 2018 Best Sommelier competition, brought to you in association with Moët & Chandon.

The South African Sommelier Association is scouting for a person with exceptional skill, knowledge and experience. But above all, the search is on for a leader with charisma and charm – the rising star who will represent South Africa in the 2019 ASI Best Sommelier Championships in Belgium.

Dedicated to the discipline, art and love of fine beverages, the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) aims, with this exciting competition, to support and empower South Africa’s top professional sommeliers who share the joy and energy of wine and spirits service.

Are you an active professional sommelier? Then this competition for the title of ‘Best Sommelier 2018’ is for you. Not only is it an incredible opportunity to expose yourself to a competition environment but the winner will be sent to Belgium as South Africa’s representative to the ASI Best Sommelier of the World Championships in March 2019.

We know you have what it takes. Now prove it to the world! Claim the title of Moët & Chandon Best Sommelier South Africa 2018 and the extraordinary prizes that accompany it.



What do I need to know to enter?
All that is required to enter is good overall wine knowledge of South African and international wines in terms of region, viticulture and vinification, as well as basic knowledge of beers, ciders, spirits, water, coffee and tea. Questions will include topics such as wine styles, regions of origin and terminology, wine label information, wine regulations, wine storage. You will also be assessed on skill and the ability to deliver exceptional beverage service.

Do I need to be a qualified sommelier to participate?
You need to have formal training and hold a serious wine qualification to enter and must be employed in the service of food and wine at the time of entry with a minimum of 3 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. You must be an active SASA member or sign up on the SASA website before entry.

Do I have to be a South African citizen?
No, the competition is open to residents of all nationalities working in South Africa and to all South African citizens working abroad.

How old must I be to enter?
All candidates must be at least 21 years of age.

How do I enter?
In the first round, you’ll put your knowledge to the test with an online qualifying questionnaire consisting of short, multiple choice and essay questions. To enter simply complete the questionnaire online by following the link on the SASA website. Don’t forget to upload your CV as well. The final submission deadline is 5pm on Friday, the 10th of August 2018. Participants will be notified whether they have made it into the second round no later than the 12th of August 2018.

Where does the second round take place?
If you make it through to the next round, you’ll be invited to the quarter finals consisting of a test in 3 parts: theory, service and tasting. These tests will take place on: 23 August 2018: Johannesburg 24 August 2018: Durban 30 August 2018: Cape Town

How about the semi-finals and the finals?
The semi-finals will take place on the morning of Thursday 6 September in Cape Town, from 7h30 onwards. The finals will take place at the same venue thereafter. You’ll be welcomed at each venue by a panel of judges, including:

Quarter Final: Higgo Jacobs: President of the South African Sommeliers Association | Neil Grant: Co-founder and owner of Burrata and Bocca restaurants

Semi-Final and Final: William Wouters: Vice President – Europe for the ‘Association de la Sommellerie Internationale’ (International Association of Sommeliers) | Neil Grant: Co-founder and owner of Burrata and Bocca restaurants | Hans Astrom: Managing Director, Klein Constantia | Higgo Jacobs: President of the South African Sommeliers Association | Xolani Mancotywa: Moët Hennessy Private Clients Manager. During the course of the morning, these experts will judge your ability to taste and identify wine and spirits, test your theoretical knowledge and give you a standard service task, such as decanting service or sparkling wine service. You’ll then get to relax during a lunch break. Only 3 candidates will be selected for the finals, which will take place that same afternoon.

What will the winner receive?
A coveted sponsored place (including air fare) in the ASI Best Sommelier of the World championships in Belgium in 2019. A trip to visit the Moët & Chandon Maison in France. The winner will also receive a A Château Laguiole opener and of course a magnum of Moët & Chandon to toast to your celebratory #moëtmoment! #mustbemoët

What will the runners-up receive?
Second Prize: Level 2 SASA Sommelier Course and Exam; A Château Laguiole opener and Moët Hennessy products. Third Prize: A Château Laguiole opener and Moët Hennessy products.

Celebrating the winners in a true #moëtmoment
At the end of the challenging final day of the competition, a winner, 1st runner up and 2nd runner up will be announced and we’ll toast them in a true #moëtmoment of celebration. #mustbemoët

Can you see yourself, glass of champagne in hand, waiting for your name to be announced? Don’t hesitate any longer, take the first step by completing the qualifying questionnaire online. The link can be found on the SASA website.

Good luck – South Africa’s Best Sommelier 2018 might just be you!

Terms and conditions Travel to and from the competition venues is the responsibility of the entrants


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