Stefan Kobald is a judge at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Stefan Kobald started his career back home in South Africa in 2013 as a Chef De Rang at the Sandton Sun Hotel in Johannesburg, where he found his passion for wine.
He started to study the world of wine through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He then went onto working for one of the of the most luxurious boutique hotel properties in the country, the Saxon Hotel. The wine list was extensive and he benefitted from the exposure to some of the best wines from around the world and South Africa. After a lot of hard work and studying, in June 2014 he travelled to the UK where he successfully passed his Certified Court of Master exam.
In 2014 at the age of 22, Stefan won the SA Chaine des Rotisseurs Jeunes Sommelier Competition. As the youngest sommelier to have achieved this title, he went on to represent South Africa in the International competition in Copenhagen where he was placed 4th out of the 15 countries competing.
He wanted to continue his studies and gain his Advanced certification, which is why he chose to move to the UK in 2014. He joined the Social Company at Pollen Street under the guidance of Laure Patry, where he progressed from sommelier to assistant head sommelier at Social Wine and Tapas. Within 6 months he was promoted to head sommelier and eventually to group head sommelier, supporting Laure with the running of the everyday business and wine programme development of the Social Company.
Since passing his advanced exam in 2015, Stefan has moved on to attempting the Court of Master Sommelier Master Diploma. He is currently working as executive head sommelier at the Biltmore Hotel, Jason Atherton’s newest project opening in Mayfair.