Cape Legends & Artisan Spirits Interhotel Challenge 2017 - a day in the winelands at Pongracz

The Cape Legends & Artisan Spirits Interhotel Challenge has grown in leaps and bounds year on year.  The young waiter and chef candidates nominated from 29 hotels around the country get to show off their knowledge, personality and skill during the cook-offs and tests in June.  But before that - they come down to the winelands to really grow their knowledge base - at the Grape to Glass experience, where they spend time being taught by the Sommelier Academy and write exams set by the South African Sommelier Association.  

They also get to spend a day with their matched winery, and I spent a short time with a few of the candidates from the CTICC, Protea Balalaika, Tsogo Sun Elangeni and Grootbos Nature Reserve at Pongracz, the home of Distell's MCC in the Devon Valley, near Stellenbosch.  These top MCCs are made here by wine-maker Elunda Basson - with the top-end being the delicious Desiderius in its fluted bottle.

The candidates hung on every word from Elunda, trying hard to ensure they know and understand the brand and its products as well as possible for when they need to test their skills later in the year.
I look forward to the cook-off!