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Kicking it

Quebecer wins Canadian leg of Sommelier World Cup

By Amanda Allison

There may be no Canadians playing in the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup of soccer in South Africa, but that country’s Sommelier World Cup challenge is a different matter.

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) announced that Véronique Rivest of Quebec has won the Canadian leg of this race against stiff competition.

Contestants at both events first completed a 20 question written test and blind tasting of South African wines. The top five all moved onto the even more challenging second round, where they faced a tough 10 question oral exam that left many scratching their heads. In the final stage of competition, the best of the best had to orally evaluate three wines from different FIFA World Cup participating countries.

Rivest, fresh off a top-12 finish at the Best Sommelier in the World event hosted by Chile in April, took the Eastern Canada semi-final on May 18. Later that week, the West battled it out in Vancouver, where Jacques Lacoste was named Western Canada champ, but failed to better Rivest’s top score.

“Véronique will receive an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa this fall to compete against the other finalists from across the globe for the grand title,” said WOSA Canadian director Laurel Keenan.

“She will be part of a tour with global colleagues of SA regions and wineries and will get to meet some of the leading personalities in the South African wine business. This will undoubtedly be paired with the fantastic food and restaurant experience in the Cape wine lands and an opportunity to soak in the uniqueness of the place.”

Rivest will face off against top sommeliers from 12 other countries in October, when the real battle begins. To follow results from the other competing countries as they are announced over May and June, visit the WOSA Sommlier Cup website. (www.wosasommeliercup.co.za)

Keenan believes the event was a huge success and talk has already begun about the next sommelier challenge.

“The energy around the competition was very positive and has inspired us to think about how we can make this a semi-regular occurrence going forward, as a method to getting people excited about South African wines.”



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