Cape Town’s Wayve Kolevsohn is SA’s best sommelier!

Date posted:
November 15, 2012

Wayve Kolevsohn of Cape Town has won the 2012 Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award. The announcement was made in Riebeek Kasteel in the Swartland as part of the Swartland Revolution, a celebration of fine South African wines and cuisine. Wayve received the Riedel Glass Trophy and a trip to France with a visit to the House of Bollinger Champagne.


After a testing morning of written exams and a blind tasting at the finals in October, the four finalists were faced with a rigorous practical assessment. Tasks included the correct mise en place and positioning of Riedel glassware for a six-course meal, the selection of dishes to match a range of wines, and the service and description of one of these wines. The final task - to describe two red wines - might at first have appeared easy enough, but the two wines were the same, which was the first catch, and one of them had been slightly tainted with TCA.


Wayve Kolevsohn, runner-up last year, finally prevailed, to win the award this year. The runner-up is Kayetan Meissner, a sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.


Ginette de Fleuriot, Cape Wine Master, The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award organiser and one of the judges, is very pleased with the overall results, “It is most encouraging that the calibre of the contestants this year was a step up from last year. As more fine dining establishments realise the advantages of employing highly-trained sommeliers, the greater relevance The Bollinger Exceptional Service Award will have in incentivising young sommeliers to up their game. Winner Wayve Kolevsohn is a perfect example. She studied and tasted persistently all year which gave her the confidence to produce the fine performance in the finals that won her The Bollinger Award.”


Wayve, 27, was born and bred in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Shortly before gaining her National Diploma in Hospitality Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), she travelled to the UK to continue her practical studies. She gained valuable experience working in top Michelin-star restaurants, including the famous Chez Bruce.


On her return to South Africa, Wayve completed her post-graduate degree in Management at CPUT. In June 2009 she joined Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at The Tasting Room, the world-renowned fine dining restaurant. Earlier this year Wayve joined The Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay as Sommelier. And more recently she completed the International Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Intermediate Level, and, after three years of study, was inducted as a Cape Sommelier by the Cape Wine Academy. This month Wayve will be joining The Test Kitchen as Sommelier.


The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award is co-sponsored by Riedel Glassware who have also provided infrastructural support together with Vinimark The Wine Company, importers of Bollinger.


The Award has been established to bring focus – and recognition of achievement – to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa.


The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members were judges at the final.



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