Wikus Human wins ‘Best Sommelier in South Africa’ 2021

by | Sep 16, 2021 | Article, News

The South African Sommeliers Association is proud to announce Wikus Human as the new Best Sommelier in South Africa taking top honours competing against semi-finalists Jean Vincent Ridon and Laurie Cooper for the Best Sommelier Finals on Wednesday, 15 September 2021, at Blaauwklippen Vineyards.

Seven candidates from all over South Africa came to test themselves to compete to be the best. The day was filled with all things sommelier — a theory paper, blind tasting assessment, food, and wine pairing, aperitif service, and of course, wine service.

Their every move was watched closely by our prestigious international panel of judges.


  • Master of Wine Madeleine Stenwreth

  • Famed chef Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine in Cape Town

  • 2018 Best Sommelier in South Africa, Jo Wessels

  • SASA Chairperson and ASI Diploma sommelier, Spencer Fondaumiere


Judges: Jo Wessels, Spencer Fondaumiere,Madeleine Stenwreth MW, and Harald Bresselschmidt.

One of the most challenging tasks of the finals was that the judges ordered a specific bottle of white wine (Saint-Bris, a Sauvignon Blanc from Burgundy), but the bottle in question is not at a proper serving temperature, the candidates had three minutes to complete the task.

Candidates had the following options:

Option 1: Identify the bottle is not cold, and try to attempt cooling the bottle and wine within the given time (through chilling the bottle, cooling the carafe, and then transferring the wine, etc).

Option 2: If they realise the time dilemma of only having 3 minutes, they should attempt to offer a chilled alternative. Here the informed candidates would know that Saint-Bris is an appellation known for Sauvignon Blanc (or if they look very closely at the back label) and be able to offer the chilled bottle of Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc as an alternative.

The seven contestants for SASA’s ‘Best Sommelier in South Africa’ 2021: Jean-Vincent Ridon, Laurie Cooper, Wikus Human, Lovejoy Neshamba, Roxan Waldeck, Stefan Reinmuth and Tayla Kirschner.

Wikus prevailed and added Best Sommelier in South Africa to his list of titles and certifications. Wikus is a Court of Masters Certified Sommelier, the Head Sommelier at Marble and Saint Restaurants in Johannesburg, and winner of the Moët & Chandon Best Young Sommelier in 2017.

“It is a very proud moment for our association. It has been an incredible effort behind the scenes from the team to put this event together. In such a challenging time for both the hospitality and wine industries, for so many to dedicate their time and energy to creating a competition to celebrate sommeliers and all that’s good is truly gratifying. A huge vote of thanks to all our sponsors who despite the circumstances have dug so deep to give so much.” Spencer, SASA Chairperson.

The aim of the South African Sommeliers Association is to empower the professionals that dedicate themselves to the service of food and beverage, through certifications and competitions.

Stellenbosch Wine Route wants to congratulate Wikus Human on winning the Best Sommelier in South Africa 2021. “The Stellenbosch Wine Route is proud to be associated with the Sommelier Association of South Africa and recognise the importance of Sommeliers as influencers and ambassadors for our industry. We are committed to working with the association to educate and empower more people to understand and sell our wines and grow the sector.” Mike Ratcliffe Chairman, Stellenbosch Wine Route

Stellenbosch Wine Routes’ chairman Mike Ratcliffe and winner Wikus Human.


Wikus’s prize includes:


The South African representative to the Best Sommelier in the World competition to be held in Paris in 2023 will travel in style with flights courtesy of sponsor Air France. While in France the candidate will have the pleasure of touring a selection co-sponsor and ASI partner AdVini’s estates in France.

The South African Sommelier Association would like to thank everyone who helped behind the scenes and offered up their time to make this event happen and a big thank you to our sponsors;

Stellenbosch Wine Route  WineLand Media @Uncorkified Winterhalter WWF Conservation Champion Initiative Air France Zwiesel Glas The Cap Classique Association The Pinotage Association Ambience Hospitality Brands Blaauwklippen Vineyards The Chenin Blanc Association AdVini  AquaSky 


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