Carla van der Merwe, 8 January 2016
Benguela Cove’s Head Sommelier, Denis Garret, has been selected as one of ten candidates competing at the inaugural Best Sommelier of South Africa championship will be held at the TAJ Cape Town on Monday, 11 January 2016. This event will take place only every two years and thus the winner will hold the title until 2018.
A total of 10 candidates have been selected to participate in the championship and will be grilled by a panel of international judges and sommeliers. The conditions of the championship allowed for candidates to be from different nationalities with the exception that they are a member of the South African Sommeliers Association and are working in a restaurant, wine bar or the wine service industry; or are consulting as a sommelier; or are involved in the service of wine and food.
This has resulted in a diverse group, including one Chilean candidate, one Swedish candidate and two French candidates along with the local South African talent. Benguela Cove’s Denis Garret is the most senior of the candidates and a strong contender for the title.
The championship is set to test the full art of the candidates, not just their wine knowledge, or the blind tasting capacity, but also the ability to engage the client, the technicality of the service, the knowledge of all beverages and the food and wine pairing.
The Best Sommelier of South Africa 2016 title will reward the best professional of the industry, and the winner will not be able to compete again for the national title, as it is a once-only title. However, the Best Sommelier 2016 is expected to participate in the organisation of the next competition in 2018.
Out of the finalists, SASA will decide the candidate who will go to the Best Sommelier of the World taking place in Mendoza in April 2016 based on the results and the candidate’s eligibility. The selected candidate will face more than 55 other candidates to win the ultimate title of the Best Sommelier of the World, one that is only awarded every three years.