Seven professional wine waiters, all from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, have progressed to the semi-finals of the The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012.
Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger, with infrastructural support from Riedel Glassware, the annual competition aims to bring focus and recognition of achievement to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa.
First round candidates were assessed on the basis of a completed questionnaire (theoretical component), for which the minimum pass was 65%, as well as on the basis of their experience in wine service in fine-dining establishments.
Runner-up of the 2011 Award, Wayve Kolevsohn, of The Roundhouse Restaurant (previously at Le Quartier Français) and third-placed Gregory Mutambe, of The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, are both through to this year’s semi-finals.
The 2012 semi-finalists are:
Gauteng: Jeff Lopes - The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg; Kayetan Meissner - Sandton Sun, Johannesburg
Western Cape: Gregory Mutambe - The 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, Camps Bay; Wayve Kolevsohn - The Roundhouse Restaurant, Camps Bay; Howard Booysen - Aubergine Restaurant, Cape Town; Christo Deyzel - Indochine Restaurant, Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, Stellenbosch
KwaZulu-Natal: Eric Botha - Oysterbox Hotel, Umhlanga
The semi-finals will take place on 6 and 7 August at Morgenhof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, and the finals at Ellerman House, Cape Town, on 8 October. Semi-finalists will be tested on their knowledge of wine styles and tasting ability in the form of a blind tasting. They will be assessed further on their competence in making food-and-wine pairing recommendations, and finally on their ability to perform tasks of professional wine service.
The winner of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award will again be announced at the Swartland Revolution on Friday 9 November 2012, and will win a trip to France, including a visit to the House of Champagne Bollinger.
Judges at all rounds of the competition include internationally trained sommeliers (including members of the South African Sommelier Association, which is fully behind the award), Cape Wine Masters and members of the hospitality trade.