Xolani Mancotywa, certified sommelier, chef and founder of Chenin Noir, has officially become the first in South Africa to obtain a Certification in Sake, the Japanese rice wine.

He travelled to Austria in 2019 to sit for the Sake Sommelier course, held by the Sake Sommelier Academy – the world’s leading Sake education provider – and through his studies he’s learnt how to practically apply his Sake knowledge.

“As a sommelier, it is important that I expand my knowledge of the trade through global-based knowledge and training. I believe that before one can train on anything they must have gone through the process. My approach to expanding the trade and bridging the global education gap for my fellow Sommeliers on the continent is to submit myself to the education process as well”

Xolani hopes to use his knowledge to ensure that South Africans are exposed to key trade knowledge and global practises, creating a positive and compelling image of the country’s sommelier community.

Chenin Noir was founded in 2013 by Xolani and is a hospitality that aims to provide its clients with curated experience. Xolani’s brand is centred around food, beverages and people, and he has over 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry with a drive rooted in transforming the skills base of the industry and customer experience.


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