SOME of South Africa’s best sommeliers will attempt to prize the title of supreme champion from rival Zimbabwe in a live, online broadcast of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes Ubuntu Sommelier Trophy on 13 December from 2pm.
The epic clash pits the team Sommeliers Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) against South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) at the renowned Lanzerac Hotel & Spa. Every swirl, sniff, sip and spit will be screened blow-by-blow via Facebook Live on the Stellenbosch Wine Routes Facebook page (@StellWineRoute) as well as the Sommeliers Academy’s page (@SAsommeliers).
The derby created by Jean-Vincent Ridon was inaugurated last year and was the first time in Africa that sommeliers from different countries faced each other in a tournament even when travels are made challenging. Now, once again, the participants represent a formidable force with many having represented their countries in world championships too. An international panel of respected sommeliers will tune in digitally to regulate the event and decide the winner.
Representing Zimbabwe are Job Jovo of The Oyster Box (Durban); Tapiwa Jamu of The Ivory Manor (Pretoria); and, Takura Makadzange of Chef Takura (Harare). On the opposing team are Clyde Pillay of Aha Gateway Hotel (Umhlanga); Eric Botha of the Culture Wine Bar (Cape Town); Freda Marizen Jacobs of Van Loveren Family Wines (Robertson); 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 Bubbles).
During the semi-final to be held in the morning, all participants will perform a number of tasks after which the top three South African candidates will take on the three SAZ finalists.
The event’s headline sponsor – Stellenbosch Wine Routes – also returns this year.
“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 fulfil a crucial role that we eagerly acknowledge, especially in this milestone year for the region.”
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 a 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’.”