Congratulations to Marc Almert winner of Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup Germany 2016

Marc Almert has won the German semi-finals of the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup and will therefore represent Germany in September at the international final in Cape Town. Almert (25) is a Sommelier at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg and has already won several prestigious Sommelier contests. He is looking forward to his first wine trip to South Africa.

Almert was selected on July 18 by a five-member jury at the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Germany finals. Visibly overwhelmed, he was congratulated by the South African Consul General, George Monyemangene who thanked all participants, judges and guests for their personal commitment: “Today is a very special day - it is the birthday of Nelson Mandela. Today we honour his life's work and his personal commitment for a better future for all South Africans. Your commitment has shown our country great honour."

The German leg of the competition was divided into stages: Entrants first had to complete an on-line theoretical exam, the top four of which qualified for the practical final round which took place July 18 at the Hotel Excelsior in Munich. There the candidates had to go through a blind tasting, and then they each had to select and pair various wines with sophisticated dishes and present this to the jury. To prove their practical skills, the candidates had to recommend a three course menu including wines and a Methode Cap Classique. In addition an exciting theme tasting was presented, exposing the great diversity and premium wine offerings for the upmarket restaurant business.

The four finalists of this round celebrated their success with Methode Cap Classique: Carine Patricio (Restaurant Jellyfish, Hamburg); Marc Almert (Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg); Felix Franke (Seehotel Ente, Ketch) and Florian Richter (Hotel Kronenschlösschen, Hattenheim).

The chair of the judging panel was Paula Bosch, sommelier and lecturer at the IHK Academie Munich. She was joined by Astrid Zieglmeier (IHK Academie Munich), Christina Krenn (Wines of South Africa Sommelier Germany winner 2013), Philipp Künemund (Sommelier-Union Deutschland e.V.) and Sarah Zörb (International Wine Institute).