Head Sommelier and Beverage Manager of Rosebank’s Marble Restaurant, Wikus Human is the first winner of the inaugural Best Young Sommelier competition, in association with Moët & Chandon. The competition was created by the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) and aims to support and empower the next generation of professional sommeliers.
Wikus graduated with a BCom in Tourism and his interest in fine wine was first piqued during a wine tasting course at a boutique hotel where he worked. His passion drove him to further hone his skills at Marble restaurant, and his favourite white wines are bubbly and Riesling (pairing Riesling with pork dishes), with his favourite reds Cinsault, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.
Together with runners-up Pardon Taguzu of Aubergine Restaurant and Isabella Immenkamp of SOMM, Wikus went through four rounds of theoretical tests and were judged by an expert panel on their ability to taste and identify spirits as well as standard service tasks, such as decanting service or sparkling wine service.
Wikus, Pardon and Isabella displayed good overall wine knowledge of South African and international wines in terms of region, viticulture and vinification, as well as knowledge of beers, ciders, spirits, water, coffee and tea.
Questions included topics such as wine styles, regions of origin and terminology, wine label information, wine regulations, wine storage. Competitors were also tested on social skills as well as their ability to interact with the patron by judges including:
- Higgo Jacobs: Founding Member and current Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association
- Xolani Mancotywa: Moët Hennessy Private Clients Manager
- Manuel Cabello: Head Sommelier, Ellerman House and Executive Board Member of the South African Sommelier Association
- Jean Vincent Ridon: Manager of the South African Sommelier Academy, ASI Sommelier and Founder of the South African Wine Tasting Championship
- Neil Grant: Founding Member and Former Chairman of the South African Sommelier Association
- Michael Crossley: Graduate of the Wine Judging Academy, a Chevalier de Tastevinand a recipient of the ‘Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne’, he judges locally and abroad
As winner, Wikus receives a spot in the SASA Sommelier Course Level 2 presented by the Sommelier Academy and the opportunity to compete in the Moët & Chandon Best Sommelier South Africa challenge in 2018.