Ricardo Gouveia, Lizé Oosthuizen and Janita Botha scooped the top three places in the Gauteng leg of the 2015 South African Wine Tasting Championship, the open-to-all competition aimed at educating South Africa’s winelovers and finding naturally talented fresh new palates.
Participants in the event had to recognise seven wines, served in anonymous decanters, from some of the most innovative South African wineries present at the Juliet Cullinan Wine Festival. The presence of an international wine in the line-up made it more challenging to the local palates. Close to 100 competitors registered on the day.
The top ten tasters came from a variety of backgrounds and included a wine journalist, wine traders, sommeliers and passionate amateurs.
The overall Gauteng winner, Ricardo Gouveia, qualified for the national finale in September to try and win a place in Team South Africa. The remaining nine Gauteng champions will have to wait for the scores from the other provincial championships, held in the Cape on 27 June and Durban at the end of August, to see if they have a place in the finale when Team South Africa will be selected through a blind tasting of international wines.
The top ten Gauteng tasters for 2015 are:
- Ricardo Gouveia – 1st in Gauteng 2015
- Lizé Oosthuizen –– 2nd in Gauteng 2015, top 5 national in 2014
- Janita Botha – 3rd in Gauteng 2015
- Veronica Plaatjies – Best Gauteng performer for the Mosaic Restaurant Protégé Programme
- Chris Groenewald – Team South Africa 2014
- Consley Cooke
- Dean Ehrlich
- Christine Andrews
- Angie Jovancic
- Manuella Morini
Part of the SAWTC 2015, The Mosaic Bursary for a Protégé will offer a young emerging professional 3 years fully paid learnership at Restaurant Mosaic, working alongside Chef of the Year Chantel Dartnall and sommelier Germain Lehodey.
The Protégé selected by Mosaic Restaurant will receive professional training, industry exposure and mentorship by South Africa's most experienced sommelier.
Last but not least, the Protégé selected by Mosaic will have a place in Team South Africa and will fly the national colours in France at the World Blind Challenge in October 2015. Veronica Plaatjies is now one step closer to this goal, and will receive a complimentary registration to the South African Sommeliers Association before the last round of selection in September.
Wineries supporting the SAWTC Gauteng 2015 were Oneiric, Taillard, Sijnn, Vilafonté, Steenberg, Warwick, Jordan, Oldenburg, Peter Falke, Kaapzicht, Almenkerk, Creation, Ken Forrester, Springfield, Iona, Raka and Aaldering.