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The 2014 bollinger exceptional wine service award goes to..

11 November 2014


  • Bollinger Pack Shot
  • Cashias Gumbo
  • The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award
  • Gareth Ferreira
  • Angie Langlands
  • Gemma Botha of Vinimark with a bottle of Bollinger


At an exclusive Champagne event at the Queen Victoria Hotel at the V&A Waterfront on Wednesday 5 November, Gareth Ferreira was announced as the winner of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2014. Gareth, Sommelier at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg at the time, and now off to London to pursue an exciting well-deserved new position, was the unanimous winner of this year’s competition. He received the Riedel Glass Trophy and a trip to France including a visit to the prestigious Champagne House of Bollinger, including airfare and accommodation in Champagne.

The Competition Finals, which took place on Monday 6th October at Ellerman House in Bantry Bay, saw the three finalists: Angie Langlands, Sommelier at The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu Natal; Cashias Gumbo, Sommelier at La Colombe Restaurant in Constantia, Western Cape at the time and now at the Saxon Hotel; and Gareth Ferreira; faced with a testing day of written exams, a blind tasting and a rigorous practical assessment.

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, “Gareth Ferreira is a very worthy winner of this competition, having taken on the challenge to conscientiously hone his skills, which enabled him to perform with excellence at this competition.”

Gareth began his food and beverage training at The Ritz-Carlton: in Florida in the USA before being transferred to Doha, Qatar. Wine really started becoming a huge part of Gareth’s life when he worked as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg. This was his first opportunity to work as a wine professional and, during this time he represented South Africa in the international finals of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommeliers Competition in Athens, Greece in 2011, and also passed his introductory and certified sommelier exams with the Court of Master Sommeliers UK.

In 2012 Gareth was afforded the opportunity to work with a 10-man international sommelier team at the world’s most luxurious hotel, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, as one of the hotel’s senior sommeliers. In October of that year Gareth passed his advanced level sommelier certification, on his first attempt, with the Court of Master Sommeliers UK. Gareth then returned to the Saxon Hotel to take up the position of Head Sommelier and Beverage Manager. Gareth has also been on the board of SASA (South African Sommeliers Association) and has judged many sommelier and wine competitions such as the national Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommeliers Competition, the WOSA Sommelier Cup and the IWC (International Wine Challenge). He has just taken up a brand new position in London where his professionalism is certainly going to stand him in very good stead.

Champagne Bollinger is proud to be the main sponsor of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award, which is a joint initiative between Vinimark The Wine Company (importer of Champagne Bollinger and South Africa’s largest independent specialist wine wholesaling company), and The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company, importers and distributors of Riedel Glassware.

The Award was established in 2011 to bring focus and recognition of achievement to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa. Judges at all rounds of the annual competition include internationally trained sommeliers, Cape Wine Masters, and members of the hospitality trade.


The judges of the 2014 Finals were:

Ginette de Fleuriot: Organiser of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award, a Cape Wine Master and Marketing Manager at Vinimark The Wine Company.

Higgo Jacobs: Sommelier and Consultant and a Senior Judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC). Higgo also tastes for various local competitions and publications and is General Secretary and a founding member of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA).

Neil Grant: Chairman of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) and Sommelier and co-owner of Burrata Restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock, Cape Town.

The South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members are judges at the Semi-Finals and the Finals. The Association aims to provide training and mentorship to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of wine service at the highest level.


Additional information about the bollinger exceptional wine service award

The Finalists were judged on wine and food service and were tested on the following:

  • wine styles and terminology
  • wine label information
  • wine regulations
  • regions of origin
  • major international wine regions and their wines
  • identifying wines in a blind tasting
  • service techniques
  • food and wine pairing
  • wine storage
  • social skills and ability to interact with patrons


Previous winners of this competition

2013 Winner: Kayetan Meissner: Sommelier at Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl at the time;

2013 Runner-up: Xolani Mancotywa, Sommel;ier at the Saxon Hotel at the time of the competition;

2012 Winner: Wayve Kolevsohn: Previously employed at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay and currently the Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, Cape Town;

2012 Runner-up: Kayetan Meissner: A Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg at the time.

2011 Winner (inaugural competition): Joakim Hansi Blackadder, Sommelier at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay at the time and currently at Rust en Vrede Restaurant;

2011 Runner-up: Wayve Kolevsohn; Sommelier at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français at the time.