A wide range of enthusiastic applicants entered the First-Round of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award. They all wrote an ‘open book’ test, from which the ten best have progressed to the Semi-Finals.
All First-Round applicants needed to be currently employed in the service of food and wine and have at least three years’ experience. Most entrants work at top restaurants and hotels in the main tourist regions, although, surprisingly there were no entrants from either Mpumalanga or Limpopo provinces. First-Round candidates were assessed on the basis of their completed Questionnaire (theoretical component) for which the minimum pass was 65%, as well as on the basis of their practical experience of wine service in a fine dining environment. On a light note, one contestant replying to the question, ‘what does FMC stand for?’, answered, “F…..ing Magic Chenin”, with which the producers of Forrester Meinert Chenin and many other wine lovers would wholeheartedly agree.
Six of the semi-finalists are from the Western Cape, three from Gauteng and one from KwaZulu-Natal. Contestants through to the Semi-Finals of The Bollinger Wine Service Excellence Award are:
Mike Buthelezi from Signature Restaurant
Sean Trollip from Kream Restaurant
Francis Krone from Saxon Boutique Hotel
Gregory Mutambe from The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa
David Nel from La Colombe Restaurant
Joakim Blackadder from The Roundhouse Restaurant
Josephine Gutentoft from Grande Roche Hotel & Bosman’s Restaurant
Carl Heinz Habel from Mount Nelson Hotel
Wayve Kolevsohn from Le Quartier Français
Eric Botha from The Oyster Box Hotel
The recently formed South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members will be judges at the competition. The association aims to provide training and mentorship to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of wine service at the highest level.
Higgo Jacobs, secretary of SASA articulates their support, “We are truly excited to be involved in the judging for the Award, thus endorsing this initiative, as the newly formed South African Sommelier Association. We hope that this will become a sustainable and key motivator in our aims to improve wine service in South Africa."
And Neil Grant, Chairman of SASA and Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant, adds his comment, “We look forward to being an integral part of this competition for the foreseeable future.”
The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award Semi-Finals will be held in early August in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Semi-Finalists for the practical component of the competition will be tested on their knowledge of wine styles and tasting ability in the form of a Blind Tasting. They will be assessed further on their competence in making Food and Wine Pairing recommendations, and finally on their ability to perform tasks of professional Wine Service.
The Finals of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award will take place in Cape Town in October 2011 at a venue to be announced. And the winner will be announced at The Swartland Revolution on 11 November 2011.
For further details, visit the official website: www.wineserviceaward.co.za