Congratulations to the newest SASA Certified Sommeliers


One of the biggest hurdles to South African sommeliers has always been the lack of formal, attainable, internationally recognised, sommellerie accreditation in South Africa.

In an effort to address this we set out more than two years ago. Drawing on the experience of senior members in the organisation, who had been trained and accredited by various bodies around the world from France and Sweden to the USA. To create a syllabus that would test the proficiency of sommeliers by sommeliers, while simultaneously striving for international recognition.

Now after our third round of exams, we are proud to announce the first six sommeliers who have passed all three the rigorous exams and are now accredited sommeliers by the South African Sommelier Association, a recognised member of the association de la sommellerie internationale (ASI).

From left to right: Eben Bezuidenhout, Spencer Fondaumiere, Jean Vincent Ridon and Barry Scholfield. Absent: David Clark, Ralph Reynolds.


Our next round of exams will be held on the 9th of October 2017. For more information please contact


A little more about our newest Certified Sommeliers:


Barry Scholfield

Through a chance encounter with a warm summer’s day and a glass of wine, overlooking the Franschhoek Winelands Barry had an abrupt change of career and of heart that started a journey through the South African restaurant industry from high street restaurants to winelands weddings, corporate hotels and everything in between before training under Joakim Blackadder at the prestigious Rust en Vrede Restaurant. Where he worked his way through his CWA courses followed swiftly by the intermediate WSET courses and finally enrolling for the grueling WSET level 4 diploma which he is currently busy with.


David Clarke

Has been in the wine industry since 2000 and was certified as a sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers in Australia in the mid-2000s. During this time he was the wine director at Vue de Monde restaurant in Melbourne, and was executive officer of Sommeliers Australia, a national association with a database of more than 3000 members before moving to Cape Town in January 2013. David has worked in fine wine retail in London and in Melbourne. He and his wife Jeannette (also a certified sommelier) run a wine agency based in Cape Town called Ex Animo. They also export South African wine to the thirsty people of Australia.


Eben Bezuidenhoud

Eben studied viticulture and oenology at the University of Stellenbosch. After completing his Degree he went on to work as a harvest intern at various South African cellars. Understanding the need to have a global perspective on the wine industry he enrolled in the Master Vintage graduate program in France, Italy and Spain before returning to South Africa as assistant winemaker for Almenkerk. Thereafter he moved to the hospitality side of the industry as Apprentice sommelier at Singita before finally settling at Grootbos Nature Reserve as Resident Sommelier where he has since completed his WSET level 3 certification and is currently enrolled in the level 4 program.


Jean-Vincent Ridon

Is the total French wine man. He started as a sommelier in the family restaurant Le Lion d’Or before embarking to launch his own restaurant wine bar in Sancerre. While being a wine broker, wine importer and winemaker, he worked in many Michelin star restaurants before moving to South Africa in 1996. He consulted for many wineries as a winemaker and has been internationally awarded for the wines produced by his urban winery and wine bar, Signal Hill winery. Journalist and wine educator, he works as freelance sommelier for restaurant and private clients. He produces the “extreme pairing” video program for, is the author of “Passion for Pairing” book. He organises the South African Wine Tasting Championships and the National Beer Trophy, he is as well the coach of the South African Team of Wine Tasting. He was awarded Vice Best Sommelier of South Africa 2016


Ralph Reynolds

Got into wine a little later in life. Starting off as FOH and Bar manager for Charlie Crofts in Durban and Richards Bay before moving to Karibu in the Waterfront where he worked as waiter and assistant sommelier. After a brief break from the restaurant he rejoined the team in 2011 and soon worked up to sommelier, bar manager and FOH manager. Ralph is a certified Cape Sommelier through the CWA, captained the South African Tasting Team for the International Tasting Championships and is currently a sommelier at Aubergine Restaurant.


Spencer Fondaumiere

Started off training as a chef Nairobi Kenya whereafter he opened a catering company from his mother’s kitchen which he spent the next seven years building into a successful business. It was however on a trip to Cape Town, while gaining a diploma in Business Management from the University of Stellenbosch, that he fell in love with the Mother City and decided to battle home affairs for permission to stay before finally foregoing the freedom of self employment for the opportunity to work and train under Neil Grant at Burrata Restaurant. Here he gained valuable experience from a world class sommelier while completing his CWA Certificate and WSET Level 3.

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