9 May 2012

South Africa: Call to Enter the Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012

Photo: Graeme Williams/MCSA
File photo: A winemaker tests a new batch of wine. The researchers warned that although regular and moderate wine consumption may be beneficial to your health, excessive use of alcohol is one of the greatest risk factors for developing heart disease.

Entries for first round of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012 are now open and will close on 31 May, 2012.

The winner of the will be announced at The Swartland Revolution in November, 2012, and will win a trip to France including a trip to the House of Champagne Bollinger.

The high standards attained by Joakim Hansi Blackadder, now sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant, (previously at The Roundhouse), the winner of the 2011 Competition, and the other finalists have set the benchmark for aspirant sommeliers. The competition is aimed at enhancing and recognising the calibre of local sommeliers and wine service staff.

A catalyst for the hospitality industry

Ginette de Fleuriot, marketing manager of Vinimark The Wine Company and organiser of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award, said: "We look forward to an increased number of entrants for The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012 and to wider representation from all of South Africa's premier tourist regions.

"This industry-wide initiative was established to advance the interests of all of the country's fine wine producers, as well as those who make their living from the sale of wine in hotels, restaurants and wine bars. The sponsors and organisers trust that this competition will continue to act as a catalyst for the hospitality industry to expand training facilities and support local sommeliers and sommeliers-in-training, in the interests of all those who enjoy dining out."

Poor history in South Africa

Neil Grant, chairman of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) and one of the judges of the 2011 Competition, stated: "Wine service has a poor history in South Africa and only with incentives such as these will we find an improvement within the industry. Chefs in South Africa over the past 10 years have proven how good they are and now wine stewards/sommeliers need to be part of this movement, so we can challenge the international markets." SASA has committed to mentoring the winning candidate to assist in guaranteeing continued professional wine service of an international standard.

The Competition entry criteria are:

- Those currently employed in the service of food and wine and with a history of minimum three years of such service

- Contestants are required to have substantial knowledge of the local wine scene and of the professional service of both food and wine

- An adequate knowledge of international wine appellations and styles of wine is also a prerequisite

- More importantly, however, the contest examines the ability of those selling wine in the hospitality industry to relate what is produced in South Africa to the expectations of international visitors more familiar with the major wine producing regions of the world.

Competition dateline

First Round

Registration Forms and the completed question paper are to be submitted no later than 31 May.

Second round

The second round will take place from 6 to 8 August at venues to be announced.

Final round

Finalists will compete in Cape Town on 8 October at a venue to be announced.

The winner of The Bollinger Wine Service of Excellence Award will be announced at the Swartland Revolution on Friday, 9 November.

Judges of all rounds of the competition will include internationally trained sommeliers, Cape Wine Masters, and members of the hospitality trade.

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