Decanter speaks to sommelier Wayve Kolevsohn about her love of Champagne, as published in Decanter's May 2013 issue

Wayve Kolevsohn is manager and sommelier of The Test Kitchen, Shop 105a, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa 7925 Tel: +27 (0)21 447 2337; thetestkitchen.co.za

She recently won the South African Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

What’s your earliest wine memory?
I was aged about three or four, and my mother gave me a sip of Champagne from the bottle; my parents managed to capture the whole experience in photos – right from the intrigue, to the shocked expression afterwards.

What bottle first got you serious about wine?
The Sadie Family’s Palladius 2006. With every sip it would evolve, and I was blown away.

Since then, what’s the best wine you’ve drunk?
I love Champagne, so for me it’s Krug – vintage or non-vintage.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on the job?
People often forget what their alcohol tolerance is. Once I served a man who couldn’t remember eating the last half of his tasting menu and demanded the last four courses again.

… and your biggest faux pas?
I suggested an excellent bottle only to realise it was the only one we had – and of course it was corked.

What’s the most annoying customer habit?
When guests ask me to suggest a great bottle of white, and then ask for me for some ice cubes to put in it.

What wines are you buying for yourself?
South African! We are making excellent natural and orange wines.

What’s the most valuable wine lesson you’ve learned as a sommelier?
Wine is ever-changing, ever-evolving. Never stop learning, tasting, experiencing and educating. Sommeliers in South Africa have a responsibility to educate fellow South Africans – a true sommelier culture has only started to develop in the past 10 years, and with the help of our sommelier’s association, it’s up to us to drive the wine culture forward.

Written by Decanter