Somerset West resident Anita Streicher Nel is captain of the South African team at the World Wine Championships for the third year in succession.
“I am very honoured to again be able to travel to France and represent our country,” Ms Streicher Nel said.
“This will be my third time at the championships and I still can’t believe I am here again – I feel very proud to be doing it again.”
The competition takes place every year around October in France and it is the only challenge of its kind in the world that tests one for one’s blind wine tasting skills.
“Our coach Jean Vincent Ridon, sommelier and owner of Signal Hill Wines, is putting a lot of effort into us this year and training as hard as we can with every opportunity we get to taste together – fine-tuning our palates and communication skills.
“Our journey to France will start in Paris this year and then take us to Burgundy to Nuit Saint George where the championships will take place on Saturday October 14.
“Before this, we will be put through our paces like new army recruits by our coach to make sure we know how difficult it is when you are up against 26 countries,” she said.
“As they always say, the most important thing in the competition is to stick with your gut feeling, but then again, my job as the captain is to be a very good listener. I have to take all my team members’ impressions of a wine into consideration before making a final decision about each wine, and there are 12 in total.
“The challenge is to guess the grape variety, appellation, country, vintage and if you’re very good, producer of each wine. We are hoping to bring back the trophy this year or at least be in the top five, having taken sixth place last year,” she said.
Follow them at www.wine.co.za, and if you would like to contribute towards funds for plane tickets and accommodation, visit the Candystick crowdfunding page at www.goo.gl/XdB3gm