Who are the newest somms in SA?

Thursday, 15 November, 2018
In 2016 the board of the South African Sommelier Association decided to put their reputations on the line by taking turns to each submit themselves to the scrutiny of their peers and completing the rigorous SASA Level 2 Sommelier Certification.

On 22 October 2018 SASA Chairman Higgo Jacobs along with five other candidates lined up for a three part examination which would test their proficiency in blind tasting, practical service and theory. Candidates were first subjected to a rigorous theoretical exam that may include any major wine region in the world as well as current market trends, cheese, cigars, water, coffee, tea and many other topics a sommelier needs to be proficient in.

Thereafter the candidates had to assess two wines blind, one international and one local, focusing on quality and stylistic differences before identifying three spirits and then the much anticipated practical exam. Set in a working restaurant, candidates were asked to open a very old bottle of wine with brittle cork, decant it and serve it, while the judges peppered them with food and wine related questions. And then, just as they thought they were done, one of the judges decided he does not want wine and instead requested a margarita, forcing the candidates to change trajectory and fluently showcase their cocktail making skills.

After this rigorous examination SASA is proud to announce the newest SASA Level 2 Certified Sommeliers:

Dickson Mathola
Sommelier at Grootbos Nature Reserve

Esmé Groenewald
Sommelier and educator at Somm Hospitality Enterprises
Higgo Jacobs
Sommelier at Large and SASA Chairman

These three join the ranks of seven other alumni who now make up the roster of certified sommeliers in South Africa.

For a complete list of SASA Certified Sommeliers, go to https://sommeliers.org.za/alumni/

But wait there's more…

The following day nine hopeful candidates showed up in Cape Town, followed by another four a week later in Johannesburg, to take the first step on the rung towards becoming a fully certified sommelier in taking the SASA Level 1 Junior Sommelier Examination.

Candidates were tested equally with a concise theoretical paper covering the major wine styles of the world with particular focus on South Africa’s place in that market followed by a practical examination that tested the fundamental skills needed to work as a wine steward in a restaurant.

It therefore makes us very proud to announce the next generation of SASA Level 1 Certified Junior Sommeliers:

Eric Botha
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient

Darrin Losper
De Grendel Wine Estate and Restaurant

Moses Magwaza
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient

Tristan Nell

Taryn Nortje
Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient

Linos Nyengera

Ricardo Roux
Birkenhead House

Erica Taylor
Social Peak Media

Frans JC Visser
DvF Wine Distributors

For a complete list of SASA Certified Junior Sommeliers go to https://sommeliers.org.za/alumni/