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Announcing the Best Sommelier of South Africa 2023 Semi-Finalists!

The South African Sommeliers Association is thrilled to announce the semi-finalists for the Best Sommelier of South Africa 2023 competition, taking place at the esteemed Hazendal Wine Estate on September 16th, 2023. This event will coincide with the Star Wine List of the Year South Africa awards, making it an unparalleled day of celebration for the country’s wine industry.

This competition aims to spotlight the nation’s top talent in wine expertise. Following a meticulous selection process, eight remarkable sommeliers have been named semi-finalists:

  • George Young- Oldenburg

  • Georgio Meletiou- Spier

  • Jean-Vincent Ridon- Sommelier's Academy

  • Laurie Cooper- Abingdon Wine Estate

  • Ralph Reynolds- Aubergine

  • Stefan Reinmuth- Oldenburg

  • Tapiwa Jamu- Ivory Manor

  • Victor Okolo- Salsify

"We are incredibly proud to announce this gifted group of semi-finalists," says Spencer Fondaumiere, Chairperson of the South African Sommeliers Association. "They each bring a unique set of skills and an unwavering passion for wine, exemplifying the high standard of sommeliers in South Africa."

Esteemed Panel of Judges

The distinguished judging panel selected to evaluate this year's pool of talent includes:

  • Chef Callan Austin – DUSK Restaurant

  • Wikus Human – Reigning Best Sommelier of South Africa and Head Sommelier at Marble Restaurant

  • Jo Wessels – Ranked the 7th Best Sommelier in the World

  • Wayve Kolevsohn – Beverage Director at The Royal Portfolio

"The caliber of judges for this year is extraordinary, ensuring that only the most exceptional talent will be recognized," adds Spencer Fondaumiere.

Competition Highlights

The semi-finalists will undergo a series of rigorous tests, including blind tastings, food and wine pairings, and a comprehensive written exam. They will also demonstrate their service skills, ability to manage a wine cellar, and their in-depth knowledge of both international and South African wines.

About the Competition

The Best Sommelier of South Africa competition has been a bi-annual highlight since 2016, aiming to celebrate and elevate the role of the sommelier. For the second year, the Star Wine List of the Year South Africa awards will recognize exceptional wine lists from restaurants and bars across the country.

Next Steps

The competition culminates in a Grand Finale on the 16th of September, 2023, where the winner will not only earn the title of Best Sommelier of South Africa 2023 but will also have the opportunity to represent South Africa in international sommelier competitions.

For more details about the Best Sommelier of South Africa 2023 and the Star Wine List of the Year South Africa awards, please contact

Media Contact:

- Erica Taylor

- General Manager, South African Sommeliers Association

- Email:

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