Semi-Final Winners 2019

The Netherlands

>> Martien Marcelissen

Meet Martien Marcelissen. Young, enthusiastic sommelier residing in Eindhoven, The Netherlands and winner of the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup country round in Amsterdam.  Since completing his Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management in Maastricht in 2012, he has gained experience in Austria, Germany and The Netherlands in key restaurants such as Becker’s Hotel & Restaurant in Trier (**Michelin star) and Restaurant Tout à Fait (*Michelin stars). Martien currently works at "winespired" Restaurant Oonivoo in Uden in The Netherlands.  Martien is interested in culture and nature and this unique combination in the Cape Winelands makes it one of the ultimate travel destinations on his bucket list.


>> Maja Hempel
       Restaurant Thörnströms Kök

Maja studied to be an International Sommelier at The Restaurant Academy in Stockholm from 2012-2013. She is currently working as Restaurant Manager/Sommelier at the famous Thörnströms Kök in Gothenburg. The restaurant was awarded "Best restaurant team" in Sweden 2016 and Maja herself has been a runner up for the title STELLA Waitress 2019. She also been nominated twice for the title Best Sommelier of the year by the trade magazine Livets Goda. The Wosa Sommelier Cup was her first competition and by winning the Swedish country round she will take her first steps into being recognised as an International known sommelier. Maja has a very ambitious personality and is now studying the WSET Diploma in London. 


>> sAMuel NDICHU
       independent wine consultant

Kenya’s newly crowned sommelier champion Sam Ndichu is well known in the wine circles from his expansive experience working with specialized wine merchants Domaine Kenya,  The Wine Gallery and Urban Wine Shop in the capital’s central business district. He is now an independent wine consultant undertaking projects. Predictably his drink of choice is wine, but a little known fact is that Sam’s chosen mode of transportation is a motorbike, which he used to ride to and from the competition! Riding a motorcycle is a full sensory experience just like drinking wine. 
Sam took up the challenge for the sommelier world cup to test himself against his peers and get the experience of international competitions. The platform attracted the best in Kenya including my former boss, clients and current suppliers. Definitely not a walk in the park! I look forward to flying the Kenyan flag high!


>> Takura Makadzange

Takura is an Australian trained sommelier and chef, having started his hospitality career in the year 2000, Takura has worked in almost every role from kitchen porter to executive chef owner of his own restaurant. Takura also has qualifications as a barista and Hotel manager. From a culinary side, Takura's main passions lie in Italian food as well as modern desserts. Food and wine education is the major thrust of Takura's current role in managing his family resort in Bvumba. Takura relishes the opportunity to share all of his experience and insights on food and beverage with the Zimbabwean public.



Adam is a native of Indiana who made his way to Pittsburgh in 2011 after stints in New York and Paris. A polyglot with bilingual fluency in French (he also speaks Portuguese and Spanish), Adam brings over 10 years of teaching, training, and public speaking experience to Dreadnought Wines where he helps lead the School of Wine and Spirits and assists in wine buying and retail operations.
Adam is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds WSET awards in Wine (Level 3) and Spirits (Level 2). He is an aficionado of off-the-beaten-path grape varieties and regions who aims to make wine more inclusive through his educational programming and portfolio development.



The talented and passionate Richelle van Gemert is currently assistant head sommelier at Adam Handling Chelsea, in London. Previously she worked at the home of sommelier ninjas, 67 Pall Mall, London, as a senior sommelier. Prior to her move to the UK, Richelle has held sommelier roles in her native Netherlands, at Hotel de Weverij Restaurant Cordial* in Oss (1 Michelin star), Restaurant de Negenmannen (Boxtel) and Restaurant De Karpendonkse Hoeve* (Eindhoven; 1 Michelin star). Among her many accolades, in 2019 she was named 20th ASI Best Sommelier of the World, she was also runner up in the Netherlands round of the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup in 2016. She has studied with the Court of Master Sommeliers.



A relative newcomer to the Vancouver beverage scene, Andrew Forsyth started his wine journey while working as a manager for The Keg Steakhouse and Bar and recently moved on to join the sommelier team at L’Abbatoir.  He is accredited as a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers US and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (Level 3 with Merit).
Andrew studied History and English Literature at Simon Fraser University and is an enthusiastic baseball fan.  This is Andrew’s first sommelier competition.