SA’s first wine route headlines international sommeliers derby
The 2021 Stellenbosch Wine Routes Ubuntu Sommelier Trophy, an epic clash between team South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) and team Sommeliers Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), saw the former soaring to its first victory.
This was the second time in Africa that some of South Africa’s best sommeliers attempted to prize the title of supreme champion from rival Zimbabwe in a live, online derby held on 13 December at the renowned Lanzerac Hotel & Spa.
Backed by South Africa’s first wine route as headline sponsor, the contest which was created by Sommeliers Academy manager Jean-Vincent Ridon, in 2020, saw three formidable local sommeliers pitted against a powerhouse Zimbabwean trio – with many having represented their countries in world championships too.
The panel of judges comprised an international mix of respected sommeliers who tuned in digitally to adjudicate the event and crown the ultimate trophy champs. During the semi-finals which were held in the morning, all participants had to perform a number of sniff, sip and swirl tasks after which the top three South African candidates took on the three SAZ finalists.
Representing the winning South African team were Stefan Reinmuth of Oldenburg (Stellenbosch); Roxan Waldeck (wine and hospitality educator, Cape Town) and, Tayla Kirschner (Western Cape regional manager for SecretEats and co-owner of Bunch of Buddies). Stefan Reinmuth also came out tops as the Highest Scoring Sommelier on the day.
On the opposing Zim team were Job Jovo of The Oyster Box (Durban); Tapiwa Jamu of The Ivory Manor (Pretoria); and, Simbarashe Chiduku from Creation Wines (substitute for Takura Makadzange who was unable to attend). Job Jovo clinched the coveted Best Sommelier of Zimbabwe 2021 title.
“Stellenbosch is South Africa’s premier wine destination, and by animating the story of our wines, the sommelier has become a cornerstone of this experience,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes manager, Elmarie Rabe. “These wine ambassadors fulfill a crucial role that we eagerly acknowledge, especially in this milestone year for the region.”
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes. With its establishment in 1971, Stellenbosch became the first region in South Africa to create an organised, visitor-friendly network of wineries.
Sharing this legacy, Lanzerac has itself become an icon of the region with its history dating to 1692. Its reputation for hospitality excellence made it the first choice for the Stellenbosch Wine Routes Ubuntu Sommelier Trophy in 2020 and it returns as a much-valued sponsor.
“Lanzerac is proud to be involved with the Ubuntu Sommelier Trophy for the second year in a row,” says hotel general manager Emile Langenhoven. “We believe in the development from within and creating these opportunities in partnership with other role players, just makes the industry as a whole, stronger. I believe this is also reflected in the name of this competition – Ubuntu: ‘I am because we are.”
In November, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa was awarded 5-star Premium Status by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) - one of only seven properties in the Western Cape, and the only property in Stellenbosch, to have been given this status this year.
For more information about Lanzerac, visitwww.lanzerac.co.za.
Details about Stellenbosch Wine Routes are available via email@example.com or 021 886 4310. Learn more about Stellenbosch’s reputation for food, wine, history, and culture atwww.wineroute.co.za or www.visitstellenbosch.org.
Use @stellwineroute to find Stellenbosch Wine Routes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The South African Sommeliers Association (SASA)works to improve and promote hospitality wine service through training, mentorship, and interaction with international sommelier networks.Other event sponsors were Reciprocal, Pernod Ricard (Mumm), Acqua Panna & San Pellegrino, SA Brandy Foundation, ItalianDeliOnline and Sommeliers Academy.