Special Jury Prize in South Africa goes to Embarc

Lisa de Beer, Embarc, flanked by Tawanda Marume and Liora Levi. Photo: Tahier Parker.
Krister Bengtsson
Published 04-October-2022
News / South Africa

On Oct. 4, Star Wine List celebrated the great wine lists of South Africa for the first time, in cooperation with the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA). Embarc in Johannesburg was awarded the Special Jury Prize, recognizing a venue that has done something extra with their wine list, such as the direction, the style or the value.

The category was presented by TOPS at SPAR.

"We all know how challenging the last couple of years have been for the South African wine and hospitality industries. Thus, it is heartwarming to learn about passion projects such as Embarc who have been able to create something meaningful for the people associated with it, highlighting the incredible quality of South African wines,” says jury member Heidi Mäkinen, Master of Wine and President Finnish Sommelier Association about the winning wine list.

”By giving this prize to Embarc we wanted to encourage people to follow their dreams and trust that anything is possible when you believe in it.”

Lisa de Beer, Embarc, commented:

”We are so excited about this, honestly we did not think we were going to win anything. We don’t have the numbers, we’ve got close to 100 wines, but for us it is about showcasing South African wines. Food and wine are connected for us. When you come across a bad list people talk about it but when you come across a good list, not enough people speak about a great wine list. And that why we are so thankful to this competition because it is shining a light on great lists and bringing energy to an industry that needs a little bit of a push and some excitement. It’s not just about the food, it’s about the food and wine.”

This was the first ever Star Wine List of the Year South Africa, and it was held during a live event at the Champagne Telmont Best Young Sommelier of South Africa event in Stellenbosch on Oct. 4.

The silver medalists in the Special Jury Prize category were:
Folk Café, Cape Town
Penny Noire, Cape Town
Silver Orange, Hartbeespoort
The Service Station Wine Bar, Rosendal

Embarc is now qualified for the International Final in June 2023. There, they will face wine lists and teams from Scandinavia, UK, Germany and more.


The jury consist of three world-class sommeliers from our International Jury Panel:

  • Heidi Mäkinen, Master of Wine, President Finnish Sommelier Association
  • Marc Almert, Best Sommelier of the World 2019
  • Piotr Pietras, Master Sommelier

And as the local sommelier expert jury member, based in Johannesburg:

  • Tawanda Marume, Best Sommelier of Zimbabwe 2020

To read more about how we judge wine lists, see the link below.

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