•    The Sommelier Selection offers a new perspective on wine competitions and ratings. 
•    Wines are assessed exclusively by professionally trained sommeliers who evaluate entries as they would consider wines for designing a wine list.
•    This provides the consumer with tangible and practical solutions to their wine quality expectations at various price points.
•    Wines are judged blind, by 1 chairman, two panels consisting of 3 sommeliers and one associate each, not in context of grape variety, but rather wine style and price point.
•    Winning wines are awarded listings on this exclusive ‘wine list’ and the title of Sommelier Selection Listed Wine.
•    This process eliminates the confusing aesthetics of awarding medals and scores, providing the market with a finite selection of winning wines within a preferred style or category of wines. 
•    It further avoids the often “unfair” process where wines have to compete with vastly different priced counterparts that happen to be made from the same grape variety.
•    Wines across all price points and styles are eligible for awards.
•    The 7 senior tasters all have extensive experience in evaluating wines and crafting innovative wine programs. 
•    The Sommelier Selection partners with professional sommeliers for creative inputs and judging resources.


Wines are to be awarded in the following broad categories:

  1. Economically Savvy (R80 or under Trade price)
    a) Whites
    b) Reds
    c) Pinks
    d) Fizz (MCC & Sparkling Wines)


  2. Whites
    a) Fresh/Crunchy
    b) Elegant/Classy
    c) Voluptuous/Rich
    d) Luscious/Aromatic


  3. Pinks

  4. Reds
    a) Fresh/Crunchy
    b) Elegant/Classy
    c) Voluptuous/Rich


  5. Fizz
    a) Pale Fizz
    b) Rosé Fizz

    c) Vintage Fizz

  6. Stickies & Fortified Wines

  7. Cellar Selection - Aged wines, Flagship wines & higher price point wines
    as well as wine that you believe will improve significantly with at least five years of age.


  8. Spirits

  9. Craft Beer - Beers to be entered as an ale or a lager (the sub style will be indicated on the tasting sheet). Craft beer will not be assessed according to BJCP, but according to BLIC (balance, length, intensity and complexity) with allowance for typicity, style, price and suitability for listing. Lucy Corne, a qualified and experienced BCJP (Beer Judge Certification Programme) judge and Africa's first Certified Cicerone ® (akin to a beer sommelier), will train and assist the Sommeliers Selection judges when tasting entries for this year's Sommeliers Selection Wine List. Lucy is also the co-founder of the African Beer Cup, editor of On Tap Magazine - South Africa's only print beer publication - and founder of the popular blog brewmistress.co.za. In ger previous life she was a teacher and now regularly runs workshops and course for brewers, beer enthusiasts and those working in the hospitality industry.  


  • The number of winners in each category will depend entirely on the calibre of entries.

  • Wine selections are made as if deciding on wines for an exclusive, top wine list.

  • Winning wines are awarded the title of ‘Sommelier Selection Listed Wines’, along with the category in which it achieved selection.

  • If judges don’t find suitable quality in a particular category, then there will be no listings from that category for that year.

  • Listed wines (or beers) will be published and marketed in a typical restaurant wine list format, meant to be a promotional tool for The Sommelier Selection, but also for trade in general throughout the year.

  • Fun and descriptive neck tags will be made available to producers.


  • The Sommeliers Selection provides an alternative view on wine awards that focuses entirely on translating wine awards to the end consumer in a context that is familiar to all – restaurants.

  • It achieves this while not compromising at all on objectivity (all wines tasted blind at all times) or professionalism.

  1. Wines have to be available to the local trade. All wines entered must be market ready and the final bottled product.

  2. Minimum stock requirement for entry: 300 bottles on premises on day of results (not including Cellar Selection or Craft).

  3. Four bottles of each wine to be made available for judging process. If a wine is perceived to have a bottle fault, another bottle will be assessed. Four similar bottle faults in a row for one wine will result in disqualification of that wine.

  4. White wines will be served at 13°C

  5. Red wines will be served at 18°C

  6. Bubblies and Stickies will be served at 7°C

  7. Wines judged in the ‘Cellar Selection’ category will be decanted a few hours before assessment to allow full expression and simulate the setting these wines would be appreciated in, in a fine dining environment.

  8. Judges will look to award food friendliness, versatility, fruit purity, character and value for money, the typical considerations when looking for wines to use in a progressive restaurant wine program.


  1. Two panels, each consisting of 3 qualified sommeliers and one associate taster. Associate taster’s score does not contribute to the recorded average.

  2. Wines are tasted blind – Only Price point & Vintage & Size Format of wine is shown

  3. Wines scored out of 100

  4. Discussion after each flight allowing for calibration and capturing scores. Wines with best average scores and the judge’s agreement in each category are awarded places on Sommelier Selection list

  5. A maximum of 100 wines will be tasted per panel per day

  6. Professional glassware used throughout judging process


Welcome to the first South African wine competition judged solely by a panel of South Africa’s Top Sommeliers, in categories moulded around that of a wine list. 


Tel: +27 84 207 3820

Email: info@thesommeliersselection.co.za


© 2020 by Tamaleki