The first ever Gaggenau South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 Winner was announced Thursday, 24 May 2018 after a two-day competition that saw contestants battle it out for the title. It’s so great to see young professionals in in the wine industry to not only be recognised locally but to also be offered the opportunity to compete overseas.
Joakim Hansi Blackadder from Stellenbosch was announced as the winner of the South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 after competing against four other finalists on 23 and 24 May in Cape Town. Joakim will be heading off to Beijing, China during October to compete in the International Gaggenau Sommelier Awards.
When asking Joakim what this opportunity means to him he commented that “it is a great privilege to be judged
and scored so highly by your peers in the industry.”
The International Awards will see the South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 winner competing against other winners from Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sweden, France and the UK.
“This is definitely a highlight in the our calendar and we are honoured to be supporting the wine industry and trade in South Africa”, says Enrico Hoffmann, MD of Gaggenau South Africa.
The astute panel of judges included Higgo Jacobs, Neil Grant, Michael Crossley and Jean-Pierre Rossouw. “This is a fantastic initiative and SASA is grateful for the collaborative way in which corporate companies such as Gaggenau supports the industry” states Higgo Jacobs, Chairman of SASA. “It is due to these type of funded projects that young and upcoming Sommeliers can develop their skills and place South Africa on the world Sommelier map.”
Johannesburg-based, Wikus Human was awarded second place: South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018.
The young South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 finalists where Juliet Urquhart, James Mukosi and Pardon Taguzu.
More about the South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 contestants:
Zimbabwean born James Mukosi is a self-motivated, devoted sommelier who has been making waves in the restaurant industry in South Africa. He is currently the Assistant Sommelier at Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch.
Joakim Hansi Blackadder was born and raised in Sweden, where he also started his sommelier studies and career. He moved to South Africa in 2008 and is currently one of the Managing Partners for Somm Hospitality Enterprises in
Juliet Urquhart is currently the Beverage Manager and Sommelier at the Royal Portfolio Silo Hotel and, since 2008, has lived out her passion at some of South Africa’s most acclaimed hotels and restaurants.
Pardon Taguzu is currently a Sommelier at Aubergine Restaurant and Auslese Function Venue in Cape Town. He is a passionate and dedicated young sommelier who has been honing his craft since 2015.
Wikus Human is currently living his passion as a Sommelier at David Higgs’ acclaimed Marble Restaurant in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This young sommelier has been continuously striving to sharpen his knowledge and skills since 2013.
More about the South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018 judges:
MICHAEL CROSSLEY: Managing Director of The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company – South Africa’s oldest specialist fine wine importer, and a Director of Grand Cru Glassware, importers of Riedel stemware. Michael has a Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy and is a Distinction graduate of the Wine Judging Academy (in association with the Cape Town University Graduate school of business). Project Manager of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show – the most prestigious wine competition in South Africa. Previously a contributor to WINE magazine and a frequent tasting panelist for WINE and Classic WINE magazines.
NEIL GRANT: Neil Grant is the co-founder and owner of Burrata, Bocca and Open Door restaurants. Neil is one of South Africa’s finest wine experts and restaurateurs with a real passion for his profession.Neil returned to his native South Africa in 2006 after spending seven years in San Francisco, California. Once back in South Africa, Neil collaborated with chef David Higgs to create Rust en Vrede restaurant. Within three short years, Rust en Vrede was one of South Africa’s top restaurants winning a myriad of accolades including Best Chef, Best Service and Best Restaurant at the 2010 Eat Out Awards. In 2010 Rust en Vrede was voted as the 61 st best restaurant in the world by the San Pelligrino Worlds 50 best restaurant academy. In March 2012 Neil opened his first restaurant, Burrata, with business partner Barry Engelbrecht and then later opened two more restaurants, Bocca and Open Door Restaurant in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
JEAN-PIERRE ROSSOUW: Publisher of Rossouw’s Restaurants and Platter’s South African Wine Guide and has been a food and wine writer for over two decades, contributing to local and international titles. His wine book, Tasting the
Cape, was published by Penguin. Founder of The Steakhouse Championships; he was also the South African restaurant judge for Great Wine Capital Best Of Wine Tourism and was also contributing editor to Phaidon's Where to Eat Pizza.
HIGGO JACOBS: Higgo was constantly taking on wine roles with local vineyards, spending nine years on either side of the cellar door: first as cellar rat, then marketing and exports. Relocating to the UK in 2007, he cut his teeth on the wines of the world, working with highly respected importer – Anthony Byrne Fine Wines and later managing award winning wine merchant – ‘Jeroboams’ Notting Hill branch in London. While abroad, he studied with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Higgo returned to SA in 2008 into the role of resident Sommelier at Steenberg Hotel, after which he started consulting in the industry and is now working with various establishments on their wine programs. As a consultant to the industry he drives a variety of projects ranging from annual fine wine events to wine competitions and the Nederburg Auction, and he is often asked to represent South African wines on local and international platforms. Higgo is a senior judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and Decanter World Wine Awards, and tastes for various local publications and competitions, some of which he chairs. He is also a founding member and current Chairman for the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) that does training and development for the profession in South Africa.
ABOUT GAGGENAU, sponsor of the South Africa Sommelier Awards 2018
Gaggenau is a manufacturer of high-quality home appliances and acknowledged as an innovation leader in design and technology “Made in Germany”. The company, with a history dating back to 1683, has revolutionised the domestic kitchen with its internationally acclaimed products. Gaggenau’s success is founded on technological innovation and a clear design language combined with high functionality. Gaggenau has been a subsidiary of BSH Hausgeräte GmbH in Munich since 1995 and is currently represented in more than 50 countries with flagship showrooms in major cities around the world.