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  Entries now open for Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013

08 May 2013

Topics: Bollinger, Ginette de Fleuriot, Joakim Hansi Blackadder, Kayetan Meissner, Neil Grant, Riedel, Rust en Vrede, Saxon Boutique Hotel, South Africa, South African Sommelier Association, South African wine, The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award, The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company, The Roundhouse, The Test Kitchen, Vinimark, Wayve Kolevsohn, wine

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 31 May 2013.

This annual competition, 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.

It 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.

The high standards attained by previous awardees, 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 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 in Cape Town.

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 and to wider representation from all of South Africa’s premier tourist regions.

“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, chair 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 to mentoring the winning candidates to further assist in guaranteeing continued professional wine service of an international standard.

Competition dateline:

  • First round: registration forms and completed question paper to be submitted no later than 31 May 2013.
  • Second round: to take place in August 2013 at venues to be announced.
  • Final round: finalists to compete in Cape Town in October 2013 at a venue to be announced.
  • Competition winner announcement: winner to 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 click here.

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