American wins sommelier world cup in South Africa

Wines Of South Africa’s (WOSA) first Sommelier World Cup has been won by an American.

Christopher Bates prevailed over a 12-strong international field of hotel and bar sommeliers to be crowned the WOSA champion 2010.

Su Birch, WOSA chief executive, said: “We wanted to capitalise on the [recent] international focus on South Africa by creating a contest for professionals to test their understanding of South African wines.“

The finalists’ week-long visit to South Africa culminated in a written test, a blind tasting, and an on-stage role-play involving members of the seven-judge panel.

Birch said: “[The] contest created a great opportunity to expose an important group of opinion leaders to the diversity and excellence of South African wines.

“Many sommeliers play a key role in compiling wine lists for restaurants and hotels, and are in this respect, ideal ambassadors for us.”

The finalists had previously undertaken national-based examinations that assessed their understanding of South African wine styles.

Stefaan Camerlinck of Belgium finished second in the competition, while Veronique Rivest of Canada finished third.