The winner of the South African leg of the Gaggenau International Sommelier Awards 2018, Joakim Hansi Blackadder, is a Swedish-born sommelier who has found a home here in South Africa.
Joakim will join talented sommeliers from Switzerland, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sweden, France and the UK, who will all demonstrate their expertise in front of renowned viticulturists and the international media in Beijing in October.
The International contest will give Joakim the opportunity to take his career to the next level. “There is no doubt that competitions like this give you a little bit more confidence in what you do and being assisted and encouraged by your peers and judges from within the allied industries is fantastic,” he says.
Joakim, who was born and raised in Sweden, completed his studies in his home country where he studied to become a sommelier at Restaurangakademien in Stockholm. He worked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants in Sweden before moving to South African in 2008 where he has been making a name for himself on the local sommelier scene ever since.
In 2011, while working at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Joakim won the first Bollinger Wine Service Award and later in the year the Service Excellence Award from the Eat Out Magazine, an accolade he was to go on and win for three consecutive years.
After his stint at The Roundhouse Joakim moved on to the beautiful Rust en Vrede wine estate as sommelier and while there he was awarded the inaugural Wine Service Award from the Eat Out Magazine along with the award for the Best Wine List in Africa and the Middle East by The World of Fine Wine Magazine. “I also completed my WSET Diploma while at Rust en Vrede and was appointed to the board of the South African Sommelier Association, and inducted as Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux du Champagne, in 2013,” he says.
Keen to experience as much of his chosen industry as possible Joakim left Rust en Vrede to move into the import and distribution side of the wine world, managing sourcing and supply chain for Vinovation, before venturing back into hospitality a year later to join forces with a group of friends and start their company Somm Hospitality Enterprises. “My main client is the Hoghouse Brewing Company, where I manage the beverage programme for their restaurants,” he explains.
With such a wide range of experience and so many accolades under his belt Joakim is well positioned to take on the contest in Beijing with confidence.