Runner-up of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012, Kayetan Meissner (Sommelier at Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl), is through to this year’s Finals where he will be competing against fellow Western Province Finalist, Barry Scholfield, Assistant Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch, and Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg.
The Semi-Finals took place on 5th August 2013 at Morgenhof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. The six Semi-Finalists were judged by Neil Grant, Sommelier and co-owner of Burrata Restaurant and Chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association, Higgo Jacobs, Sommelier and Consultant, and Ginette de Fleuriot (CWM), Vinimark Marketing Manager.
The contestants were tasked with assessing and identifying two wines (unsighted) and providing a detailed food pairing suggestion with sound justification for each wine. They were then assessed on their ability to select a matching wine for a prescribed dish and to decant and serve it in the correct manner. Whilst doing so, they were challenged with questions and were expected to observe table etiquette and were also judged on appropriate patron interaction and service.
On Wednesday 9th October the three Finalists will meet at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay to challenge each other for the Riedel Glass Trophy, and a trip to the House of Champagne Bollinger in France.
Organiser of the Award, Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, is very impressed with the high calibre of the 2013 Finalists, “This is the third year that we are staging this competition, and each year, it’s most gratifying to see such exceptional young sommeliers coming to the fore. The Final will no doubt be fiercely competitive, not least because we, once again, will have a real North-South contest on our hands for this prestigious Award!”
The Finals will be a testing day of written exams, blind tastings and a practical assessment. They will be judged on a wide spectrum of wine and food service and will be tested on any number of the following:
• wine styles and terminology
• wine label information
• wine regulations and regions of origin
• major international wine regions and their wines
• identifying wines in a blind tasting
• service techniques
• food and wine pairing
• wine storage
• social skills and ability to interact with the patron
The winner of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 will be announced at an exclusive Champagne event at Ellerman House on 31stOctober 2013, and will win a trip to the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger in France, including airfare and accommodation. The prize for the Runner-up is a one night stay for two, including bed and breakfast at the luxury boutique hotel Ellerman House, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in Bantry Bay.
Judges at all rounds of the annual competition include internationally trained sommeliers, Cape Wine Masters, and members of the hospitality trade.
The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members are judges at the Semi-Finals and the Finals. The Association aims to provide training and mentorship to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of wine service at the highest level.