The winner of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award, was announced on Friday 9 November as part of the Swartland Revolution. Wayve Kolevsohn, who was runner-up last year, finally prevailed to take top honours and received the Riedel Glass Trophy and a trip to France with a visit to the House of Bollinger Champagne as her prize. She was previously employed at The Roundhouse, and begins as Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, in Cape Town, this week. Runner up this year was Kayetan Meissner, a Sommelier previously at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.
After a testing morning of written exams and a blind tasting at the Finals in October, the four finalists were faced with a rigorous practical assessment. Tasks included the correct mise en place and positioning of Riedel glassware for a six-course meal, the selection of dishes to match a range of wines, and the service and description of one of these wines. The final task - to describe two red wines - might at first have appeared easy enough, but the two wines were the same which was the first catch and one of them had been slightly tainted with TCA.
Wayve, 27, hails from Hout Bay, Cape Town. Shortly before gaining her National Diploma in Hospitality Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) she travelled to the UK to continue her practical studies, working in top Michelin-star restaurants, including the famous Chez Bruce. On her return to South Africa, she joined Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at The Tasting Room before moving to The Roundhouse. She recently completed the internationally-recognised Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 with Distinction and will be progressing onto Level 3 this year.
Ginette de Fleuriot Cape Wine Master, The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award organiser and one of the judges, is very pleased with the overall results, “It is most encouraging that the calibre of the contestants this year was a step up from last year. As more fine dining establishments realise the advantages of employing highly-trained sommeliers, the greater relevance The Bollinger Exceptional Service Award will have in incentivising young sommeliers to up their game. Winner Wayve Kolevsohn is a perfect example. She studied and tasted persistently all year which gave her the confidence to produce the fine performance in the finals that won her The Bollinger Award.”