Calling all talented young sommeliers to enter the Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier 2019 brought to you by SASA.

Thursday, 8 August, 2019
South African Sommelier Association
Dedicated to the discipline, art and love of fine beverages, the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) aims, with this exciting new competition, to support and empower the next generation of professional sommeliers who share the joy and energy of providing excellent service and serving top class wine and spirits.

What do I need to know to enter

You’ll need good overall wine knowledge of South African and international wines in terms of region, viticulture and vinification, as well as basic knowledge of beers, ciders, spirits, water, coffee and tea. There will be questions on wine styles, regions of origin and terminology, wine label information, wine regulations, wine storage and you’ll be tested on social skills as well as your ability to interact with the patron.

Do I need to be a qualified sommelier to participate?

You don’t need to have formal training or hold a sommelier qualification to join but must be employed in the service of food and wine at the time of entry. You must be an active SASA member or sign up on our website, before entry. You can be of any nationality but must be resident and employed in South Africa to participate.

Entry Requirements:

  • Candidates must be a minimum of 21 years of age and under the age of 30 by the date of the final.
  • Candidates must be an active SASA member or sign up before entry.
  • Candidates may be of any nationality but must be resident and employed in South Africa. 
  • Candidates must be employed in the service of food and wine at the time of entry and have minimum of three years’ experience in this field of the hospitality industry.
  • Candidates are not required to have any formal training or sommelier qualification. Previous winners are excluded from entering again.

How do I enter?

  • Round 1 - you’ll put your knowledge to the test with short multiple choice and essay questions through an online survey. To enter, visit the online test from the link at the top of this page, anytime between the 5th and 14th of August 2019. Complete by typing your answers. The final submission deadline is 23h59 on the 14th of August 2019 Participants will be notified whether they have made it into the second round by the 15th of August 2019.
  • Round 2 - Quarter finals to be held in three major cities within South Africa, namely Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban during the period of 19-23 August 2019.
  • Round 3 - Semi finals will be held in Johannesburg for the top 10 highest scoring candidates from the quarter finals, of which the three best performing contestants will proceed to the final.
  • Round 4 - Finals will be held on the same day and at the same venue as the semi-finals, with invitations sent out to the press, trade and public to join as spectators. The semi-final and final is held on Wednesday 25 September 2019.


  • Quarter finals - Monday 19 August, Quarter final at Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel
  • Quarter finals - Tuesday 20 August, Durban Venue (to be announced).
  • Quarter finals - Wednesday 21 August, Quarter final at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront
  • Semi Final and Finals - Wednesday 25 September, Semi-final & Final at Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel

How about the semi-finals and the finals?

The semi-finals will take place on the morning of 25 September in Johannesburg, from 9h00 onwards. You’ll be welcomed at the venue by a panel of judges, including:

  • Lloyd Jusa, Head Sommelier and Director of The Saxon Collection Wine Programme.
  • David Higgs, Celebrity Chef and Proprietor at Marble and Saint Restaurants.
  • Wikus Human, Sommelier at Marble Restaurant and winner of the 2017 Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier Competition.
  • Barry Scholfield, President of The South African Sommelier Association and partner in Somm Hospitality Enterprises.
  • Cathy Marston, Master of Wine Student, owner of the International Wine Education Centre and provider of WSET education in Southern Africa.
  • Joakim Blackadder Immenkamp - Winner of the Gaggenau Sommelier Awards 2018 and partner in Somm Hospitality Enterprises.
  • Desmond O’Connor, General Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence.

During the course of the morning, these experts will judge your ability to taste and identify spirits, test your theoretical knowledge and give you a standard service task, such as decanting service or sparkling wine service. You’ll then get to relax during a lunch break. Only 3 of you will be selected for the finals which will take place that same afternoon.

What will the winner receive?

An all expenses paid trip to France to visit Moët & Chandon Maison in Champagne followed by a week long visit to Barolo in Italy during July 2020, as one of less than 100 selected and invited sommeliers and wine experts from around the world that participates in the inaugural Collisioni with Ian D’Agata. The trip to Italy includes accommodation, meals, winery visits and seminars. The winner also receives a bursary for WSET education from the IWEC and an opportunity to compete in the Moët & Chandon Best Sommelier South Africa challenge in 2020. And, of course, a magnum of Moët & Chandon to celebrate with!

Celebrating the winners in a true #moëtmoment

At the end of the challenging final day of the competition, a winner, 1st runner up and 2nd runner up will be announced and we’ll toast them in a true #moëtmoment of celebration. Can you see yourself, glass of champagne in hand, waiting for your name to be announced?

Terms and conditions - Travel to and from the competition venues is the responsibility of the entrants

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