Monday, July 22, 2013



Last year’s Runner-Up and previous Semi-Finalistsgo through to the 2013 Semi-Finals

A wide range of enthusiastic applicants entered the First-Round of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013. All applicants completed an ‘open book’ test, from which the top six have progressed to the Semi-Finals. First-Round candidates were assessed on the basis of their 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 Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012, Kayetan Meissner, currently Sommelier at Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, and Semi-Finalist in both 2011 and 2012, Eric Botha, currently Sommelier at Bel Punto Restaurant in Umdloti, are both through again to the Semi-Finals.

Once again this year, all the Semi-Finalists are from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, the three provinces which have the highest concentration of fine dining restaurants in South Africa.

The Six 2013 Semi-Finalists are:

Current employment
Previous success in this competition
Germain Lehodey
Restaurant Mosaic, Pretoria

Sean Trollip
Kream Restaurant, Pretoria
2011 Semi-Finalist
Xolani Manconywa
Saxon Boutique Hotel, Johannesburg

KwaZulu Natal
Current employment
Previous success in this competition
Eric Botha
Bel Punto Restaurant, Umdloti
2011 and 2012 Semi-Finalist

Western Cape
Current employment
Previous success in this competition
Barry Scholfield
Rust en Vrede Restaurant, Stellenbosch

Kayetan Meissner
Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl
2011 Semi-Finalist and 2012 Runner-Up

·         The Semi-Finals will take place on 5th August 2013 at Morgenhof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
·         The Finalists will compete in Cape Town on 9th October 2013 at Ellerman House, Bantry Bay.
·         The winner of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 will be announced at an exclusive Champagne event at Ellerman House on 31st October 2013, and will win a trip to France, including a trip to the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger. The Runner-Up will win a one night stay for two, including bed and breakfast, at Ellerman House.

Competition criteria and judging:

The competition entry criteria are:

·         Those currently employed in the service of food and wine and with a history of minimum 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.

Semi-Finalists for the practical component of the competition are tested on their knowledge of wine styles and tasting ability in the form of a blind tasting. They are further assessed on their competence in making food and wine pairing recommendations, and finally on their ability to perform tasks of professional wine service.

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

The South African Sommelier Association is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members will again be judges at the Semi-Finals and the Finals.

For further details, visit the official website:

Additional information on The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service 2012 Award

2012 Winner:
·         Wayve Kolevsohn: Previously employed at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay and currently the Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, Cape Town;

2012 Runner-up:
·         Kayetan Meissner: A Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg at the time.

2012 Judges:
·         Mia Martensson, Sommelier and Sales Manager for The Winery Of Good Hope
  • Kent Scheermeyer, Sommelier and founder of KSconsult
  • Neil Grant, Sommelier and co-owner of Burrata Restaurant, Cape Town
  • Ginette de Fleuriot, Cape Wine Master & Marketing Manager for Vinimark The Wine Company
  • Higgo Jacobs, Sommelier and consultant
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.

Champagne Bollinger is proud to be the main sponsor of 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, Marketing Manager at Vinimark The Wine Company and organiser of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award comments, “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 to mentoring the winning candidates to further assist in guaranteeing continued professional wine service of an international standard.