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South African Jo Wessels will represent SASA at the ASI World’s Best Sommelier 2023!

Cape Town - 9th January 2023, The South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) sends Jo Wessels to represent South Africa in the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) Best Sommelier of the World contest, taking place in Paris!

Every three years, ASI holds the Best Sommelier of the World contest. After the contest in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2019, the next edition will take place in Paris from 7th to 12th February 2023.

In 2018 Jo won the SASA Best Sommelier of South Africa.

Originally hailing from Bloemfontein, Jo found his way into the wine business in Stellenbosch, working for different wineries and retailers and taking the first steps into sommelierie at the dining institutions of the Cape Winelands. He gathered international experience as a sommelier on luxury cruise lines and Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany.

Jo is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds a BSc in International Wine Business from Geisenheim University.

The ASI Best Sommelier of the World has occurred every three years since 1969! Jo will be representing in the 16th Best Sommelier of the world competition.

Jo represented South Africa on the international stage twice before. In 2019 he was the candidate for the ASI Best Sommelier of the World competition, held in Antwerpen, finishing 25th overall. In 2021 he competed at the ASI Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa contest, hosted in Cyprus, where he advanced to the semi-finals and ranked 7th place. After a selection process in September 2022, SASA again handed the baton to Jo to compete in Paris.

Jo says, “I am excited and deeply humbled to represent South Africa again at this prestigious competition, akin to the sommeliers' Olympic Games. I aim to build on past experiences and gained knowledge leading up to this moment. As always, I hope to make our country and its wine industry proud and show the world our genuine South African hospitality.”

About ASI Best Somm of the World competition

The Union de la Sommellerie Française (UDSF) is proud to welcome the ASI Best Sommelier of the Word contest in Paris.

Get ready to immerse yourself in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a true journey into the fine French wine and dine culture.

At least 3,500 professionals will join the amazing show on the 12th of February and participate in one of the most epic events in the hospitality world.

To compete in the Best Sommelier of South Africa on the 16th of September 2023 in Stellenbosch, please click here.

For more information on SASA or ASI, please email

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