Semi-finalists announced for Best Sommelier in South Africa 2021

by | Aug 24, 2021 | Article, News

Who will take top honours and claim the title of South Africa’s 2021 Best Sommelier? The winner will travel to France to represent South Africa at the World’s Best Sommelier competition in Paris.

The Best Sommelier in South Africa 2021 competition was officially announced on Thursday, 29 July, in partnership with Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

The quarter-finals came down to fractions of a point, with the following candidates scoring over 90%, so the organisers have decided to move forward with seven semi-finalists this year. These include:

Laurie Cooper

  • SASA Treasurer

  • SASA Sommelier

  • WSET Level 4 Diploma

  • Stage 2 Master of Wine (MW) student

  • Distinction graduate Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy

  • Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier in SA 2019

  • Winemaker and Sommelier at Abingdon Wine Estate


Wikus Human

  • Court of Masters Certified Sommelier

  • Head Sommelier Marble and Saint Restaurant

  • Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier 2017


Tayla Skye Kirschner

  • SASA Junior Sommelier

  • WSET Level 3

  • Cape Wine Academy, certificate level

  • First runner up for the Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier in SA 2019

  • Represented SA in the Ubuntu Sommeliers trophy 2020

  • Works at “A Bunch Of Buddies”


Lovejoy Neshamba

  • SASA Junior Sommelier

  • Cape Wine Academy, certificate level

  • Distell Inter Hotel Challenge – Wine Steward of the year 2019

  • Barman at Ellerman House


Stefan Reinmuth

  • SASA Junior Sommelier

  • WSET 3 Certified (WSET Diploma, in process)

  • Brand Ambassador at Oldenburg Vineyards

  • Host of ‘Blackout: Stage Wine’ on Instagram


Jean Vincent Ridon

  • ASI Sommelier Diploma

  • SASA Sommelier

  • Two-time finalist Best Sommelier in South Africa

  • Quarter-finalist Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa.

  • Author of “Passion for Pairing”

  • Working at Sommeliers Academy


Roxan Waldeck

  • SASA Sommelier

  • WSET Level 3

  • Best Sommelier Semi-Finalist 2016

  • Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy

  • Independent – Wine and hospitality facilitator


“For five decades, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes have been crafting exceptional wines and sharing them with the world. This is a great opportunity to support the profession. Sommeliers are the link between consumers and brands, the ambassadors of our wines and region,” says Stellenbosch Wine Routes chairman Mike Ratcliffe.

The competition will take place at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate on 15th September 2021. The competition will boast an top-tier panel of judges, including:

These sommeliers will compete in a closed-door semi-finals, where they will be tested on theory, blind tasting, and food and wine pairing.

At 13h30, we will kick off the live-stream, main stage event hosted by the charismatic Guy McDonald, where three finalists will be announced and compete in front of our esteemed panel of international and local judges.


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