Kenyan sommelier, Samuel Ndichu is a finalist at the prestigious Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup 2019. The accomplished Kenyan wine expert will battle it out with 10 other finalists from different countries for the cup.
In March this year, the Kenyan edition of the Sommelier Cup was launched at Sierra Burger and Wine restaurant where participants were tested on their knowledge of wine where Samuel Ndichu emerged on top. This will be the second time that Kenya will be participating in the cup which is a triennial competition. Participants usually have to pass both a written and practical test to advance to the next stage.
Samuel Ndichu is well known in Kenyan wine circles. He has expansive experience in the industry working with wine merchants that are Domaine Kenya, The Wine Gallery and Urban Wine Shop. Samuel now works with UVA Wines, a Portuguese wine importer where he does sales.
Yummy.co.ke exclusively spoke to Samuel and asked him why this competition was important to his career and he said, “For me, it is the exposure I get as an aspiring sommelier not just locally but internationally.” He also said he is looking forward to the final competition stating, “I am very excited mostly because it’s my first overseas trip. I can’t wait to see the Winelands, vineyards, winemakers and sommeliers. It’s a dream come true.”
“I joined the wines and spirits industry back in 2010 but started specializing in wines in 2013,” he stated. After that, Samuel tells us, he dived into everything about wine saying, “You have to taste lots of wine for you to be brilliant; there’s no substitute for that. I did a lot of online reading and watched many YouTube videos on the same. I also hang out with guys who are passionate about wine and that’s how I developed myself.”
Samuel Ndichu is now an advanced wine steward. “I am now WSET Level 2 certified, courtesy of the Hospitality Competence Center, East Africa.”
The final competition for the Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup 2019 will take place from September 19th to 26th. This will be at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands Cape Town. The finalists will compete with each other in the following categories:
- Viticulture and winemaking
- Wines from South Africa
- Viti-vinicultural history and geography
- Professional sommelier service skills
- General knowledge of South African wine and wine industry
- Blind tasting of wines
- Serving a sparkling wine
- Serving a still wine
- Pairing food and wines
After this, three finalists will be chosen. The final three will participate in the final practical service element in front of an audience before the winner is crowned.
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