Joakim Hansi Blackadder
A rare breed who studied hospitality and sommellerie directly after school Joakim has dedicated his life to the vine. After teaching in Sweden he cut his teeth on big name restaurants before emigrating to South Africa where he left a legacy of accolades and awards in his wake including Best Wine Service, Service Excellence and Best Wine Program in Africa and the Middle East to name but a few. Joakim is a diploma graduate from both Wine and Spirits Education Trust as well as The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.
He currently heads the wine program for The Hoghouse Brewing Company while sitting on the board of both Somm Hospitality Enterprises and the South African Sommelier Association. He loves wine so much he proposed not with a ring, oh no, but on one knee with a bottle of Domaine de La Romanée-Conti in hand. As all sommeliers should.
After a BCom degree in Tourism from the University of Pretoria Wikus started his career in the then Zest Bistro in Pretoria, followed by stops at Forum Homini and Roots in the Cradle of Humankind. Strongly influenced by Francis Krone, he honed his skills before being approached by chef David Higgs to head the wine program at his new venture Marble from where he still works today.
A proud holder of the WSET Level 3 accreditation and Introductory Certificate through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Wikus also boasts the title of Best Young Sommelier in South Africa awarded to him in 2017’s Moët & Hennessy competition. What’s his favourite part about being a sommelier, he doesn’t have one, he loves every bit of it as much as the next!
One of the brightest stars on the South African sommelier scene, Tinashe's career is only slightly overshadowed by his impressive wardrobe. Over the past ten years Tinashe has slowly carved out a name for himself at establishments such as the Roundhouse, Reuben’s, Maze, Nobu and The Oyster Box before making it big with chef Luke Dale Roberts at the Test Kitchen, currently ranked number one in SA and were he currently still heads their wine program.
Tinashe holds accreditation from both the WSET and Michael Fridjhon’s Judging Academy as well as a Diploma from the CWA, has featured on countless local tasting panels, represented Zimbabwe at the World Blind Tasting Championships and is a board member of both the South African Sommelier Association and the Black Cellar Club.
After completing her studies in Stellenbosch, Chantelle Gous (32) left South Africa to work in Canada for 4x years. Her interest in wine was peaked after working in a contemporary family restaurant and helping out in an Italian wine store part-time. She completed her WSET3 in Canada before returning to South Africa where she immediately started working with Singita Conservation Company in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park where she has progressed and twice promoted to be Senior Sommelier Operations. After working at the Sabi Sand Singita lodges for the past 4x years, she has recently ‘returned’ to the Cape Winelands where she is working with Francois Rautenbach as part of the Singita Premierwine Direct team.
Cape-Town born, Wayve graduated from the Cape town Hotel School and headed off to London where she started her career at Michelin starred restaurant, Chez Bruce.
Upon her return and after completing a post-graduate degree in management, she spent the next few years working as the Restaurant Manager at the world famous restaurant, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais and then as Head Sommelier of The Test Kitchen in Cape Town.
Taking the first tentative steps towards a profession in hospitality Esmé had been working in restaurants since she was still in high school. Thereafter she has managed a impressive array of highly successful establishments including Terroir Restaurant and Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House. Holding qualifications with both CWA and WSET she is currently enrolled in the latter’s diploma program.
She oversees the administration for the South African Sommelier Association, sits on the board of Somm Hospitality Enterprises where she also oversees the operational side of the business. Her favourite part of being a sommelier? Challenging stereotypes, bottle of Syrah in hand, in a fairy dress, obviously!
After a checkered history of stop-start career decisions in remote parts of the world, Barry found his calling on a wine farm in Franschhoek one sunny afternoon in his early twenties. He has since formelised his love of wine through both the CWA and WSET where he is currently enrolled in their diploma program, he’s one of only six people to hold the coveted SASA Level 2 Certified Sommelier Certification, has helped create and later managed what was awarded the Best Wine Program in Africa and The Middle East, which ended up becoming a repeat award. He currently serves on the board of both the South African Sommelier Association and Somm Hospitality Enterprises, where he is also oversees the day to day running of the business. His favourite part of being a sommelier? Traveling the world from the comfort of a wine glass while exploring the people and cultures that made it happen.
In 2009 Pearl won Best Wine Steward of the Year in the Diners Club Wine list award, kickstarting her career she spent 3 years at the Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar, before she took on the position of Sommelier at Myoga restaurant with Michelin star Chef Mike Basset. She then joined the team at the Planet restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Pearl then continued on the as a Sommelier & Beverage manager at Cape Town’s five-star Taj Hotel, after which she managed The Vista bar and lounge at One & Only Cape Town. Pearl currently serves as Resort Sommelier at the One & Only hotel. Pearl has a Post Grad in Wine Business management from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, She has judged on a number of wine panels is currently an elect Honorary Executive Board member of the South African Sommelier Association while she was recently voted as the National Chairperson to the board of the Black Cellar Club in established in 2016.
Tongai Joseph Dhafanaas an internationally celebrated Sommelier, wine judge and custodian of his own successful wine label Mosi Wines, together with his most recent addition, Mosi Gin. From humble childhood beginnings in rural Zimbabwe, Joseph Dhafana took on the South African hospitality industry when he discovered he had a flair for food to match his hidden wine-making talents. Refugee turned winemaker, Dhafana shares his time between his career as Sommelier at the world-celebrated La Colombe Restaurant in Constantia and nurturing his wine production comprising Chenin Blanc 2014, Syrah 2014 and 2015 Flavian Syrah, all produced with minimum intervention according to Dhafana’s belief that wine must be as natural as possible in order to reflect the true expression of the terrier soil. Mosi Wines are recognisable by their hand-rendered label of the mighty Victoria Falls locally known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ which hails back to his roots and are often behind Dhafana’s many philanthropic projects in support of communities in need. Along with his many wine credentials, Joseph Dhafana is a board member of the BLACCCellar Club which educates and grows wine appreciation for those employed within the hospitality industry through non-competitive, informative events.