Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg has won the title of 2013 Best Young Sommelier in South Africa.
He will be flying to Washington, D.C., USA to compete for top honours in the worldwide contest, sponsored by the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, the world’s oldest and largest gastronomic society, with 25,000 members in over 70 countries.
The national and international competitions are similar in format to what is used by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
During the day-long exam, the sommeliers will be tested on Theory, Practical Skills, and Blind Tasting.
This year the gender balance is almost equal, with seven men and five women seeking this prestigious international title.
The other 11 competitors are:
Australia: Jarrod Mills, Sydney
China: Ying Guo (Miss), Shanghai
Cyprus: George Loukakis, Limassol
Denmark: Christian Thorsholt Jacobsen, Copenhagen
Finland: Elisa Närhi (Miss), Laiturikatu
France: Jérôme Georges, Schiltigheim
Germany: Verena Hof (Miss), Munich
Russia: Ksenia Karpenko (Miss), Moscow
Turkey: Selen Gozen (Miss), Istanbul
United Kingdom: Loic Avril, Bray (Berkshire)
United States: Bobby Conroy, San Francisco, CA.
The winner will be announced and receive his/her gold medal and trophy at a celebratory dinner at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. .
Originally from Cape Town, Xolani Mancotywa has been sommelier at the Saxon Hotel in Sandhurst, since 1 November 2012.
Xolani became interested in wine as a career at Warwick Chef School during wine appreciation lectures in 2008, turning his attention to wine preferences and wine popularity.
He currently holds the rank of Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, based in the United Kingdom.
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