Three finalists announced for the Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013

Monday, 26 August, 2013
Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award
Runner-up of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012, Kayetan Meissner (Sommelier at Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl), is through to this year's Finals where he will be competing against fellow Western Province Finalist, Barry Scholfield, Assistant Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch, and Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg.
The Semi-Finals took place on 5th August 2013 at Morgenhof Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. The six Semi-Finalists were judged by Neil Grant, Sommelier and co-owner of Burrata Restaurant and Chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association, Higgo Jacobs, Sommelier and Consultant, and Ginette de Fleuriot (CWM), Vinimark Marketing Manager.

The contestants were tasked with assessing and identifying two wines (unsighted) and providing a detailed food pairing suggestion with sound justification for each wine. They were then assessed on their ability to select a matching wine for a prescribed dish and to decant and serve it in the correct manner. Whilst doing so, they were challenged with questions and were expected to observe table etiquette and were also judged on appropriate patron interaction and service.

On Wednesday 9th October the three Finalists will meet at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay to challenge each other for the Riedel Glass Trophy, and a trip to the House of Champagne Bollinger in France.

Organiser of the Award, Ginette de Fleuriot CWM, is very impressed with the high calibre of the 2013 Finalists, “This is the third year that we are staging this competition, and each year, it’s most gratifying to see such exceptional young sommeliers coming to the fore. The Final will no doubt be fiercely competitive, not least because we, once again, will have a real North-South contest on our hands for this prestigious Award!”
The Finals will be a testing day of written exams, blind tastings and a practical assessment. They will be judged on a wide spectrum of wine and food service and will be tested on any number of the following:

  • wine styles and terminology
  • wine label information
  • wine regulations and regions of origin major international
  • wine regions and their wines
  • identifying wines in a blind tasting
  • service techniques
  • food and wine pairing wine storage
  • social skills and ability to interact with the patron

  • 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 the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger in France, including airfare and accommodation. The prize for the Runner-up is a one night stay for two, including bed and breakfast at the luxury boutique hotel Ellerman House, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean in Bantry Bay.

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

    The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members are judges at the Semi-Finals and the Finals. The Association aims to provide training and mentorship to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of wine service at the highest level.

    For further details, visit the official website:

    Below please find:

    1) Additional information on the three 2013 Finalists
    2) Additional information on The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

    Additional information on the three 2013 Finalists

    Kayetan Meissner
    Kayetan graduated with a Hotel School Diploma from Varsity College, a course affiliated to the International Hotel School of Adelaide, Australia. Whilst working as a Sommelier on board the MS Seabourn Sun and the MV Crystal Symphony, he had the wonderful opportunity to visit vineyards across the world including Bordeaux, Tuscany, Napa Valley and the Maipo Valley in Chile. Subsequently he has worked as a Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, Beverage Manager at the Metropolitan Grand in Bur Dubai, and Sommelier at the Sandton Sun. He is currently the Cellar Master at Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl and will be undertaking Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers in November this year. His favourite South African wines come from the Swartland, his choice international wine style is Burgundy and he loves Sparkling Wine and Champagne. His preferred cuisine is classical French and Italian and his interests include food and wine, travel, history and fly-fishing.

    Barry Scholfield
    Barry’s love of wine only began a few years ago whilst sitting in the early afternoon sun at Cotage Fromage Restaurant at Vrede en Lust. He and some friends were enjoying some slightly chilled, unmemorable, red wine, which in retrospect was probably not as ‘awesome’ as he then proclaimed. But later, while working at Vrede en Lust, he found himself visiting more and more wine farms in the area and was soon rapidly bankrupting himself with wine courses. He subsequently worked for a while at the Protea Hotel in Stellenbosch, until his current competitor in this competition, Xolani Mancotywa, informed him that the winner of the inaugural Bollinger Exceptional Wine Award, Joakim Blackadder, was looking for an Assistant Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch. Barry began at Rust en Vrede in October last year and feels extremely lucky to be working at such a prestigious establishment whilst receiving hands-on training from a top Sommelier.

    Xolani Mancotywa
    Xolani, Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, brings a wealth of awards and experience to the table. National winner of the 2013 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Jeunes Sommeliers Competition, Xolani will be travelling to the USA later this year to represent South Africa at an international level. He stands among the ranks of South Africa’s finest Sommeliers as one of only eight certified Court of Masters Sommeliers in the country. Previously a lecturer at the Cape Wine Academy, he also worked at Lathitha Wines and Hartenberg Wine Estate as well as a host of five-star hotels. In addition he has trained as a chef and has a degree in accounting and economics. “All too often people have a misconception of what a Sommelier’s role is. It's grown to become one of the restaurant's most important positions. It’s about the passion, about creating a holistic dining experience. We Sommeliers, I believe, are the very heart of the restaurant,” enthuses this dedicated Sommelier.

    Additional information on The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

    The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service 2012 Award Winner:
    Wayve Kolevsohn: Previously employed at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay and currently the Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, Cape Town;

    The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012 Runner-up:

    Kayetan Meissner: A Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg at the time.

    The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012 Judges:
  • Mia Martensson, Sommelier and Sales Manager for The Winery Of Good Hope
  • Kent Scheermeyer, Sommelier and founder of KSconsult
  • Neil Grant, Sommelier, co-owner of Burrata Restaurant, Cape Town and Chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association
  • Ginette de Fleuriot, Cape Wine Master and 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.