WOSA sommelier cup staged in South Africa - open for entry

Thursday, 6 June, 2013
Following the success of its inaugural Sommelier Cup hosted in 2010, Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is once again staging a contest to find the sommelier amongst 12 competing nations with the best knowledge of South African wines.
The finals will take place at the Cape in October, confirmed WOSA CEO Su Birch. She said the country's wines were increasingly claiming the attention of connoisseurs for their excellence, diversity and originality, winning many major awards. "It's no surprise then that South Africa has recently been singled out by several influential critics as currently the most exciting source of New World wines."

She added that market researchers Euromonitor had projected that the on-consumption trade in the markets where the competition is being held, was projected to grow by 31% over the next five years to reach 5 billion litres by 2018. "It therefore becomes increasingly important to work with sommeliers, who have become one of the most influential groups of wine specialists.

"In the US, Europe and parts of Asia, some sommeliers have assumed an almost celebrity status, with many now making wines under their own labels and running their own high-profile restaurants. Fascination for the role of sommeliers has grown to such an extent that last year's documentary movie Somm, about four sommeliers who attempt to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world, has been screened worldwide."

The preliminary WOSA Sommelier Cup contests  are currently under way, in the US, Canada, the UK, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, China, as well as Hong Kong, which is also serving as the centre for all other Asian nations.
Details of each semi-final can be found on the website: www.wosasommeliercup.co.za.

The successful group of 12 semi-finalists will fly to South Africa in October for a week-long trip to the South African Winelands prior to competing in the final at the luxury hotel, Grand Roche.

In the lead-up to the finals on October 12, they will meet and taste with some of the country's top winemakers, dine in world-class restaurants and explore the diversity of offerings amidst the spectacularly beautiful wine regions, many set against dramatic mountains or close to either the Atlantic or Indian oceans.

The winner of the inaugural WOSA Sommelier Cup in 2010, Christopher Bates from the US, subsequently went on to win two prestigious international titles; Concours International des Jeunes Best Young Sommelier 2012 and Guild of Sommelier Top/Somm 2013.  He has recently been admitted as a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

He described his Sommelier Cup visit to South Africa, his second of three, as "fantastically well put together. It covered a lot of areas but not too much to take in the enormous progress evident in the local industry. I was amazed at the elegant, balanced and absolutely gorgeous wines I encountered."

The judging panel for the finals will include Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn of the UK, who heads the wine division of the prestigious Dorchester Collection UK; Totte Steneby, a former winner of both the Swedish and the Nordic Sommelier Championships and a Decanter World Wine Awards judge; Neil Grant, chairman of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA); Higgo Jacobs, a taster for the authoritative Platter's South African Wine Guide and member of SASA and Jörg Pfützner, also a taster for the Platter guide, SASA member and consulting wine editor for international luxury lifestyle publication G&W.   

For more details go to www.wosasommeliercup.co.za for current updates follow #sommcup via twitter.