Moet et Chandon South African Best Sommelier for 2018

The standard of sommeliers in South Africa is improving by the minute!
At the Moet & Chandon 2018 Best Sommelier Competition held on Thurs 7th Sept at The Sun Square in Cape Town, 12 finalists were put through their paces in the morning and after lunch the top finalists were announced.  Because the point differences were so miniscule between the top candidates, the chairman of SASA (Sommelier Association) and judge of the competition, Higgo Jacobs decided that there would be 4 finalists.
These 4 were Joakim Hansi Blackadder (the Gaggenau Top Somm from earlier this year), Jean Vincent Ridon, Jo Wessels (who flew in from Germany where he is studying Wine Marketing at Geisenheim) and Stefan Kobald (who is currently working in London as a Somm).

The 4 finalists were put through their paces in the public eye and each had 3 tasks to complete within a limited time frame, from identifying wine blind, to training staff about making martinis and also how to use a Coravin, to prepping and matching food and wine to identifying a mystery drink in a black glass!

The going was tough and tense, but the 4 candidates were all very personable, knowledgeable, quick, entertaining.

Always hard to pick a winner but Jo Wessels took the Best Sommelier for 2018, with seasoned Jean Vincent Ridon 2nd and Joakim Blackadder 3rd.
Congatulations to Jo and to all the hard-working participants!

Thanks to Gavin Withers again for his wonderful photography