27 new candidates pass the introductory sommelier certification

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Article, Wineland

The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) hosted its first round of the new introductory sommelier certification in Cape Town and Paarl last month. A total of 27 candidates have the title of introductory sommelier.

“This is a massive milestone for SASA. Some of the best brains in the trade spent a lot of time developing this qualification with the ambition of providing a solution unique to the hospitality industry in South Africa. This was a crucial first step, and we now have the tools and hope to certify hundreds more,” SASA chairperson Spencer Fondaumiere. 

The introductory sommelier certificate is the qualification geared for any service professional or aspiring service professional with the basic skills of professional beverage service. It requires a general knowledge of wine, South African wine regions and wine and beverage service.


The next introductory sommelier certification for candidates will take place on 30 April 2022 at Culture Wine Bar.

How candidates can get certification: 

The examination consists of two sections:

  1. A closed book theory test with multiple-choice questions covering basic wine knowledge, fundamental wine service, general service etiquette, surface knowledge of other beverages, essential food and wine pairing and alcohol awareness.
  2. An oral examination focusing on wine knowledge, beverage service, and professional service skills.

The SASA introductory sommelier examination is open to all SASA members to sit without prerequisites (i.e. having completed any other relevant wine qualification). Under the condition that the member has accumulated, in their own opinion, enough experience elsewhere to attempt the examination. The exam costs R500 and an annual membership cost R250 (must be a member to sit the exam). Click HERE to become a member.

SASA provides the exam/certification, and our Approved Program Providers (APPs) provide the course should you wish to take it. It is possible to sit the exam without taking the course.

SASA apps for candidates

SASA works closely with our APP’s to facilitate the teaching of courses preparing candidates for certifications. We are proud to work with our two current APP’s on the introductory sommelier qualification.

Both app’s have worked very closely with SASA in tailoring their courses to be in line with the objectives of the introductory Sommelier qualification.

The next introductory sommelier certification for candidates will take place on 30 April 2022 at Culture Wine Bars’ “The Wine Library” in Cape Town, other venues TBC.

If you wish to get your staff certified at your venue or for general enquiries, please get in touch with info@sommeliers.org.za for more information. To learn more about our different certifications for candidates, click here. To become a member, click here.

Sommeliers Academy (info@sommellerie.co.za) Apeirogon Youth Development Academy (hello@apeirogonyouth.co.za). 

WATCH: Best sommelier in South Africa

Did you know: The South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) board has promoted Erica Taylor of Uncorkified to head of operations.

This appointment aligns with SASA’s vision to expand its operations and serve its members effectively.
“I am very pleased to have Erica join the team. Having worked with her in organising several SASA events, most notably the recent Best Sommelier in South Africa competition 2021, she will bring lots of energy and professionalism to the organisation. Despite the prevailing difficult circumstances our industry faces currently, I am certain that we will continue to move forward,” Spencer Fondaumiere.
The current board includes the following people:
In the pipeline of the next few months, SASA will be involved in the following: 
  • Exam | 17th-18th May 2022 | Junior and Sommelier Exams
  • Competition | 14th September | Best Young Sommelier 2022
  • Exam | 17th-18th October 2022 | Junior and Sommelier Exams

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