Lock, stock and wine barrel: The search for SA’s best sommelier is on

World's best sommelier, 27-year-old Marc Almert smells a glass of red wine  at the two-Michelin-starred Pavillon restaurant at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

World's best sommelier, 27-year-old Marc Almert smells a glass of red wine at the two-Michelin-starred Pavillon restaurant at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The competition is open to all nationalities as long as entrants reside and are employed in SA.

The search for South Africa’s best sommelier really brings the country’s food and wine industry together.

The South African Sommeliers Association (Sasa) has become an integral part of the food and wine industry.

A movement was started in 2010 to form an association to promote the servers of local wine in South Africa. Since then an annual competition has put sommeliers in focus.

They daily promote local and international wines, have great knowledge of these, and help expand the SA wine industry just by doing their job.

But to get there is hard work, and that’s why the competition is a plum part of the job.

To win you’ll need good knowledge of South African and international wines in terms of region, viticulture and vinification, as well as basic knowledge of beers, ciders, spirits, waters, coffee and tea.

There will be questions on wine styles, regions of origin and terminology, wine label information, wine regulations and storage.

Social skills and interactions with people also form part of the test.

Formal training as a wine steward is not necessary to enter, but participants must be employed in serving food and wine.

The competition is open to all nationalities as long as entrants reside and are employed in South Africa. They are also required to be members of Sasa before entering.

If you’re interested in keeping up with SA’s tastemakers, visit sommeliers.org.za as the competition progresses over the next two months.

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