The South African Sommelier Association

Dedicated to the discipline, art and love of Wine and Spirits. The aim of the association is to ensure that South Africa has its own professional board who shares the joy and energy of wine and spirits.

About Us

The South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) has established itself as an integral part of the food and wine industry in South Africa. The movement was started in 2010 when a group of the same minded individuals got together in the hope of forming an association to help uplift and promote the service of wine in South Africa. SASA is a non-profit organization and aims to offer its services to local and international 

Sommeliers, in being the contact and network portal for those local and international. The association aims to provide training and mentorships to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of the highest level. It will also liaise (or partner) with associations from other countries and will therefore act as an official representative of its professional membership within South Africa.

Xolani Mancotywa
Xolani Mancotywa
David Clarke
David Clarke
Joakim Blackadder
Joakim Blackadder

Joakim was born in Sweden and received his foundational hospitality training at Leksand’s Gymnasium, a programme focused towards tourism. A couple of years later in 2005, Joakim enrolled on Restaurangakademien’s sommelier programme and received his diploma in 2006. Before relocating to South Africa at the end of 2008, he worked for a couple of Michelin stared restaurants in Sweden as well as the sommelier coordinator for the institute that provided his training. Joakim holds a pass with distinction from WSET for Level 3 and is currently enrolled on the WSET Diploma. In South Africa, Joakim started as sommelier for the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, after which he moved to the Roundhouse and Rumbullion Restaurants in Cape Town. He worked for two and a half years as their sommelier and general manager and won the first Bollinger Wine Service Award in 2011. For the last two years he has been employed at Rust en Vrede restaurant, during which time he received the first Wine Service Award from Eat Out Magazine. The restaurants that Joakim has been employed by have also received the annual Service Excellence Award from Eat Out Magazine three years in a row. In 2013 Joakim was inducted as Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and in 2014 as Commandeur of the Commanderie de Bordeaux en Afrique du Sud.


Higgo Jacobs
Higgo Jacobs

Hailing from Calitzdorp, Port wine capital of South Africa, Higgo was lured to the Cape by the beauty of the winelands, along with an ambition to become a lawyer. Although graduating from the University of Stellenbosch with a law degree in 2002, Higgo was constantly taking on wine roles with local vineyards, spending nine years on either side of the cellar door: first making wine, then marketing and exporting it. Relocating to the UK in 2007, he cut his teeth on the wines of the world, working with highly respected importer – Anthony Byrne Fine Wines and later managing award winning wine merchant – ‘Jeroboams’ Notting Hill branch in London. He certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and also holds a WSET Advanced Certificate (with distinction).

Higgo returned to SA in 2008 into the role of resident Sommelier at Steenberg Hotel, after which he started consulting in the industry and is now working with various establishments. Holder of a certificate of distinction in the Wine Magazine / Michael Fridjon Tasting academy, Higgo is senior judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC), and tastes for various local publications and competitions, some of which he chairs. He is also a founding member and current executive member for the South African Sommelier Association (SASA), Co-ordinator of Nederburg Auction selection tastings and Tasting Director for Top 100 SA Wines Challenge.

Spencer Fondaumiere
Spencer Fondaumiere

I have been involved in hospitality my entire professional career. I started out training to be a chef in Nairobi . After 3 years of chef school, I realised the kitchen and its confines were not exactly where I wanted to spend my long term future.  I had and still continue to have a passion for business and entrepreneurship and for as long as I remember I have always had one thing or another going to make an extra few cents. I married the two passions and started my first business when I was 21 a catering company from my mother’s kitchen. That grew into a pretty successful business and kept me busy for the next 7 years of my life. Working with food I developed an interest in wine. I got an opportunity to spend some time in Cape Town and get a formal business qualification I filled up the rest of my time learning more about wine. When the time came, I could not bring myself to leave and decided to battle the department of home affairs and extend my stay in South Africa.

I sacrificed the freedom of self-employment for a pay check and was fortunate to end up getting a job at a wine centric restaurant, working with experienced and knowledgeable sommeliers. This helped fuel my passion and allowed me to interact with amazing people throughout the wine industry and taste fantastic wines from all over the world. Along the way I have earned a few more qualifications and accolades. I am fortunate to work very closely on the wine program of three amazing restaurants each well known for their fabulous selection wines and detailed wine service. One never stops learning about wine, one can never say they have tasted it all. I look forward to my continued education and interactions in the wonderful world of wine.

Barry Scholfield
Barry Scholfield
Online Developement

Working as a barman and waiter during and directly after high school lay the foundation for a career in hospitality that he only realised later in life. Seeking instead to make his money in the offshore oil industry Barry studied motor mechanics, rope access and offshore survival before heading out to Scotland and West Africa to assemble offshore pre refineries. Realising his financial goals but feeling less than accomplished he headed back to South Africa where, after working his way through high street restaurants, he started working on various projects for wine estates including, functions, weddings, poolside bars at guest houses and managing restaurants.

On relocating back to Stellenbosch he took on a management position at Protea Hotel before finally getting an opportunity to train under Joakim at the prestigious Rust en Vrede Restaurant. Working near fanatically, he flew through his Cape Wine Academy courses followed swiftly by the intermediate WSET courses before finally enrolling for the grueling WSET level 4 diploma which he is currently in the second year of.

Barry took over the reins at R&V in 2014 and has successfully maintained and built on the foundation laid before him winning the Best Wine Program in Africa and the Middle East as judged by World of Fine Wine, two years in a row, as well as Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence.

Tinashe Nyamudoka
Tinashe Nyamudoka

Zimbabwean-born Tinashe Nyamudoka arrived in Cape Town in 2008 and knew nothing about wine, he could not have imagined that seven years later he would be one of South Africa’s finest and most-respected wine sommeliers. His is currently the head sommelier at The Test Kitchen, previous Oyster Box Hotel and Nobu @ One and Only Hotel.

He has is also a Diploma Graduate(Cape Wine Academy) with a Certificate, Wine Business Management (UCT, GBS), Graduated the Micheal Fridjon Wine Judging Academy

Tinashe has been on wine judging panelist at Wine Of The Month Club and judge to various local competitions.

His accolades are ;Best Wine Steward (cape legends inter-hotel challenge 2013) and EatOut2016 Best Wine Service Award



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How To Become A Sommelier

SASA currently provides three levels of certification, namely:

  • Level 1 Junior Sommelier
  • Level 2 Sommelier
  • Level 3 Advanced Sommelier (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale Diploma)

Courses are run at regular intervals by our approved program providers (APP’s) with an annual schedule of exams invigilated by SASA that can be found on the facebook pages and websites of both SASA and our APP’s.

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Aspiring Sommeliers & Industry Spectators
Monthly wine seminars/wine service workshops with guest lectures
May Attend AGM
Invited to attend annual wine events at discount rates
Hosting of corporate event which are endorsed by SASA
Conducting industry training seminars
The right to evaluate producers as sanctioned by the SASA executive committee
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Companies who support, require and value the sommelier profession
Monthly workshops
Event posting for free on SASA website
Corporate tastings
Evaluation of producers wines by SASA executive committee
Communication platform for industry related updates (newsletter, networking, website angling etc)
May attend AGM
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Upcoming Events

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