By Wines of South Africa, A Certified Good Food Fighter

An American, Christopher Bates, is the inaugural winner of the Wines Of South Africa Sommelier World Cup.

The first runner up is Stefaan Camerlinck of Belgium and second runner up Veronique Rivest of Canada.

Wines Of South Africa CEO Su Birch: “Contestants, all of whom had to be full-time employees of restaurants or hotels, were put through a series of examinations in their home countries to assess their understanding of our wine styles and what makes our offerings distinctive and unique.  The national winner of each country was then flown to South Africa and spent a week visiting the Winelands, meeting winemakers and dining in some of the Cape’s most exciting restaurants.

We wanted to capitalise on the international focus on South Africa and the soccer tournament in the lead-up to the games by creating a contest for professionals to test their understanding of South African wines.

South Africa has a few internationally trained sommeliers and there is expanding interest in the profession as a dynamic career with huge scope for personal growth. However, it is still an untapped area with enormous potential, particularly as our wine tourism industry continues to grow. When local people in the wine service industry meet trained sommeliers they get a glimpse of what they can achieve one day.”

Our congratulations go out to all of the finalists.

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