Entries now open for 2013 Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

Entries for First Round of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 are now open and candidates are urged to enter soon as entries close on the 31 May 2013. See below for entry details.

The high standards attained by previous winners, Wayve Kolevsohn in 2012 (Sommelier at The Roundhouse at the time and currently Sommelier at The Test Kitchen) and Joakim Hansi Blackadder in 2011 (Sommelier at The Roundhouse at the time and now at Rust en Vrede), have set the benchmark for aspirant sommeliers. As with the 2011 and 2012 competitions, the winner of the 2013 competition will be announced in November 2013 and will win a trip to France including a trip to the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger. Wayve Kolevsohn is presently in Champagne enjoying her prize and celebrating her victory, no doubt with a glass or two of Champagne Bollinger.

The 2012 Awards runner-up, Kayetan Meissner, a Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, won a one night stay for two, including bed and breakfast, at Ellerman House, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

This annual competition, which is aimed at enhancing and recognising the calibre of local sommeliers and wine service staff, was launched in 2011 and proved to be a resounding success.

Ginette de Fleuriot, Marketing Manager at Vinimark The Wine Company and organiser of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award anticipates more entries this year, “We look forward to an increased number of entrants for The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 and to wider representation from all of South Africa’s premier tourist regions.”

Champagne Bollinger is proud to be the main sponsor of the prestigious The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award. The competition is a joint initiative between Vinimark The Wine Company (importer of Champagne Bollinger and South Africa’s largest independent specialist wine wholesaling company) and The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company, importers and distributors of Riedel Glassware.

Ginette de Fleuriot comments further, “This industry-wide initiative was established to advance the interests of all of the country’s fine wine producers, as well as those who make their living from the sale of wine in hotels, restaurants and wine bars. The sponsors and organisers trust that this competition will continue to act as a catalyst for the hospitality industry to expand training facilities and support local sommeliers and sommeliers-in-training, in the interests of all those who enjoy dining out.”

Neil Grant, Chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA), states: “Wine service has a poor history in South Africa and only with incentives such as these will we find an improvement within the industry. Chefs in South Africa over the past 10 years have proven how good they are and now wine stewards/sommeliers need to be part of this movement so we can challenge the international markets.” SASA has committed tomentoring the winning candidates to further assist in guaranteeing continued professional wine service of an international standard.

The competition entry criteria are:

  • ·       Those currently employed in the service of food and wine and with a history of a minimum of three years of such service.
  • ·       Contestants are required to have substantial knowledge of the local wine scene and of the professional service of both food and wine.
  • ·       An adequate knowledge of international wine appellations and styles of wine is also a prerequisite.
  • ·       More importantly, however, the contest examines the ability of those selling wine in the hospitality industry to relate what is produced in South Africa to the expectations of international visitors more familiar with the major wine producing regions of the world.

Competition dateline

First Round: Registration Forms and the completed Question Paper are to be submitted no later than 31 May 2013.

Second Round: The Second Round will take place in August 2013 at venues to be announced.

Final Round: Finalists will compete in Cape Town in October 2013 at a venue to be announced.

Competition winner announcement: The winner of The Bollinger Wine Service of Excellence Award will be announced in November 2013.


Judges at all rounds of the competition will include internationally trained sommeliers; Cape Wine Masters; and members of the hospitality trade.

To enter The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

Go to:    http://www.wineserviceaward.co.za