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The search is on for South Africa’s Best Young Sommelier

South African Sommelier Association’s 2017 Best Young Sommelier competition

Calling all talented young sommeliers to enter the prestigious new South African Sommelier Association’s 2017 Best Young Sommelier competition, brought to you in association with Moët & Chandon.

Dedicated to the discipline, art and love of fine beverages, the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) aims, with this exciting new competition, to empower the next generation of professional sommeliers who share the joy and energy of wine and spirits.

Are you a young sommelier between 21 and 30 years old? Then this competition for the title of Best Young Sommelier 2017 is for you. It’s an incredible opportunity for you to expose yourself to a competition environment and could be just provide the career break you are looking for.


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 and you’ll be tested on social skills as well as your ability to interact with the patron.

Do I need to be a qualified sommelier to participate?
You don’t need to have formal training or hold a sommelier qualification to join but must be employed in the service of food and wine at the time of entry and have 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. You can be of any nationality but must be resident and employed in South Africa to participate.

How do I enter?
In the first round, you’ll put your knowledge to the test with short multiple choice and essay questions. To enter, simply download the online test from the SASA website, anytime between the 19 to 29 July (from 9am-5pm each day). Complete it in handwriting or type your answers with corresponding question numbers and your name marked clearly on each page. The final submission deadline is 5pm on 29 July. Completed tests to be sent via email to info@sommelier.org.za. Participants will be notified whether they have made it into the second round by 31 July 2017.

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: 14 August 2017: Cape Town | 16 August 2017: Johannesburg | 18 August 2017: Durban

How about the semi-finals and the finals?
The semi-finals will take place on the morning of Monday 4 September in Johannesburg, from 7h30 onwards. You’ll be welcomed at each venue by a panel of judges, including:

Quarter Final judging panel will include:
Higgo Jacobs: Founding Member and current Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association
Xolani Mancotywa: Moët Hennessy Private Clients Manager
Manuel Cabello: Head Sommelier, Ellerman House

Semi Final judging panel will include:
Jean Vincent Ridon: Manager of the South African Sommelier Association and Founder of the South African Wine Tasting Championship
Germain Lehodey: Head Sommelier, Mosaic Restaurant
Michael Crossley: Graduate of the Wine Judging Academy, a Chevalier de Tastevin and a recipient of the ‘Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne’, he judges locally and abroad.

During the course of the morning, these experts will judge your ability to taste and identify 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 of you will be selected for the finals which will take place that same afternoon.
What will the winner receive?

A place in the SASA Sommelier Course Level 2 presented by the Sommelier Academy and a coveted opportunity to compete in the Moët & Chandon Best Sommelier South Africa challenge in 2018. And of course a magnum of Moët & Chandon to toast to your celebratory #moetmoment!

Celebrating the winners in a true #moëtmoment

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

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 downloading the entry form from the SASA website.

Good luck – South Africa’s Best Young Sommelier 2017 might just be you!

Terms and conditions

* Travel to and from the competition venues is the responsibility of the entrants


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