Updated: Oct 14, 2022
In partnership with the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.
Thembani Wesley Mpande
Stellenbosch, South Africa- (5th October 2022) Thembani Wesley Mpande triumphed in yesterday’s Best Young Sommelier of South Africa Competition. Starting the day with nine semi-finalists, then three finalists were announced:
George Young, Sommelier at Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch
Stefan Reinmuth, Head Sommelier at Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch
Thembani Wesley Mpande, Assistant Sommelier at Marble Restaurant in Johannesburg
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The finalists took the stage in front of 50 wine and restaurant industry professionals competing in four tasks Champagne service, a cocktail challenge, a cheese and wine pairing, and an oral wine examination.
Thembani Wesley Mpande was victorious! He is currently an Assistant Sommelier at Marble Restaurant in Johannesburg, where the Head Sommelier is the reigning Best Sommelier of South Africa Wikus Human. Thembani has been in the industry for three years, and his first job was as Junior Sommelier at Saint Restaurant.
Thembani is an ex-professional athlete who fell in love with the World of wine.
"My passion has evolved into an obsession and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.” Thembani is currently completing WSET Level 3 and recently passed the Court of Master Sommelier's Introductory Sommelier certification.
“The entire Champagne Telmont team offer their heartfelt congratulations to Thembani Wesley Mpande. Winning this competition is just the beginning of what I trust will be a brilliant, sustainable future. In the name of Mother Nature!” Ludovic du Plessis, President of the House of Telmont
The fabulous Blaauwklippen Wine Estate has hosted our sommelier competitions for the second year. “As the oldest wine farm in Stellenbosch, it is an honour for us to host the best in their class and celebrate the art of wine enjoyment. Congratulations to all the contestants; we salute the valuable work you do to bring our wines to tables and wine enthusiasts across the country”. Ben-Carl Havemann, CEO Blaauwklippen
SASA Chairperson Spencer Fondaumiere “This is a huge moment for SASA. We have put so much energy into building our development structures this term, and this event is the culmination of all that effort. A huge congratulations to Thembani Wesley Mpande. He is a worthy winner, and It is a huge achievement considering that this was the biggest field of candidates we have ever had at a SASA competition. Winning this holds him in good stead to bigger and greater achievements.”
Our panel of judges:
Harald Bresselschmidt, famed Chef and Owner of Aubergine Restaurant in Cape Town
Roxan Waldek, Founder of the Apeirogon Youth Development Academy
LeRoi Van de Vyver, Head Sommelier at ëlgr Restaurant, and SASA Board member
Maitre d': Tawanda Marume, Best Sommelier of Zimbabwe 2020 and semi-Finalist for the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2023
For more information about upcoming competitions and certifications, please contact Erica Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Not for sale to persons under the age of 18. Drink responsibly. www.aware.org.za.