Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
5 Oct 2021
1:45 pm

WATCH: Meet Wikus Human – the best sommelier in South Africa

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Wikus Human tells us what he had to do to be named best in the country.

Wikus Human. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Competing against the best is no easy feat, however, Wikus Human has beat the top sommelier’s in the country to be named the Best Sommelier in South Africa for 2021.

Human is the head sommelier for The Marble Group and was selected as the best sommelier by the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA).

Wikus says he had a feeling he was going to take the grand prize and when he did win ,it brought tears to his eyes.

This isn’t the first time Human has been honoured. He was also named Best Young Sommelier in SA in 2017.

“It’s the biggest lifetime achievement for me in South Africa, all the hard work I have put in with my team for the last five years paid off.”

Watch Wikus Human speak about being crowned:

What criteria did he have to meet to get this accolade? Human says they had to do numerous tests, including a food-and-wine pairing, in a limited time.

“It was a six-course menu, which you had to study within two minutes, which was quite quick. According to ASI [Association de la Sommellerie] from six different continents, you had to choose one wine from every continent to pair with the food within five minutes.”

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He adds that this is all done orally, so they couldn’t write down their guesses, however, human says the trick under all this pressure was to stay as calm as possible during the process.

The sommelier says his experience at the top restaurant Marble helped him because there are many dishes on the menu.

“As a good sommelier, you can quickly provide what wine you can pair with, what would work well to compliment all dishes that are on the table,” he explains.

Human was quite confident that his pairings would be spot on. His tip for the perfect food-and-wine pairing is selecting the wines first, making it easier when creating your dishes.

In the past couple of years, South Africa’s wines have won much acclaim and Human says the quality of country’s wines in the last five to 10 years has improved drastically.

“Global warming is playing a big impact on the whole world of the wine industry and South Africa continues to climb to the top… We have so much value for money in South Africa and we have exceptional wines that can definitely stand up to some of the international wines.”