On the 15th of June, at The Wine Library in Cape Town, the Sommelier Association of South Africa (SASA) hosted the first Junior Sommelier exam of 2021. The candidates first sat the theory portion of the exam, consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions about general wine and service. Next, it was time for the nerve-racking practical portion where the potential sommeliers must perform in a mock restaurant scenario.
The exam was facilitated by Spencer Fondaumiere, SASA chairperson; Wayve Kolevsohn, SASA board Member in charge of Education; Roxan Waldeck, SASA senior sommelier; and Erica Taylor, SASA coordinator, and junior sommelier.
They are proud to announce the new SASA junior sommeliers:
- Alessio da Conceicao– financial advisor at Domini Consulting
- Bafana Zondo– wine sommelier and assistant restaurant manager at Gate Restaurant at Quoin Rock Wine Estate
- Daryll Pieterse– tasting room assistant at Van Loveren Family Vineyards
- Keegan Terry– Food and beverage supervisor at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
- Stefan Reinmuth– Brand ambassador for Oldenburg Vineyards
If you are interested in taking the SASA junior or senior sommelier exam, there is more information below, and the next exams are 11th-12th October 2021 in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. Please email us to reserve a spot. firstname.lastname@example.org
How It Works
Every journey starts with an end in mind, and SASA currently provides three levels of certification, namely:
SASA Junior Sommelier
The examination consists of two sections:
- A closed book theory test with multiple-choice questions covering basic wine knowledge and wine service questions.
- A practical dining room test is a scenario in which the candidate will need to show their ability to handle table service and basic but accurate wine service. The candidate will need to communicate accurately with the guest within the hospitality context.
The SASA Junior Sommelier Examination is open for all SASA members to sit without any prerequisites. We strongly suggest that the candidate has at least WSET level 2 or the equivalent and floor experience in a restaurant.
SASA Member: R1,000
Non-Member: R1,100 (includes SASA membership)
SASA Senior Sommelier
The examination covers three sections:
- Blind tasting
- Practical dining room work.
The candidate must showcase the knowledge and expertise that is to be expected from a professional sommelier. We recommend that the candidate has a theoretical understanding of WSET Level 3 or the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier. The SASA Sommelier examination is open to all SASA members to sit without any prerequisites, under the condition that the member has, in his/her own opinion, accumulated enough experience to attempt the examination.
SASA Advanced Sommelier (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale Diploma)
This exam is the highest level offered internationally by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). It is formed around self-study with supportive mentoring from senior SASA members. It is an outcome-based level where the only requirement is to pass the examination set by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). The ASI diploma exam is held on the same day all over the world once a year. Since its inception, less than 500 people all over the world have successfully passed it.
The examination occurs once a year and covers:
- A practical dining room scenario
- A blind tasting
- A theory test
- Practical food and wine pairing scenario.
- Role-playing scenario
- short dissertation
All of the above potentially encompass the whole world of wine and other beverages such as spirits, cocktails, teas, coffee, sake, cigars, cheese, etc. A theory level in line with WSET Level 4 or the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier Certificate is preferred. This examination is held annually in South Africa, with successful candidates awarded the ASI International Sommelier Diploma. There are levels of the diploma Gold, Silver, and Bronze. It is preferred that the exam is done in the candidates’ second language however, if it is done in the candidates’ home language, the highest diploma they can achieve is bronze regardless of how well they perform.