Judging: Service Excellence

Higgo Jacobs


Higgo Jacobs’s experience in the wine industry spans over 20 years, starting with doing harvests in Stellenbosch in 1998 and ’99, and interrupted by a law degree from the University of Stellenbosch. He has experience on either side of the cellar door: first as winemaker’s assistant, then marketing and sales. Relocating to the UK in 2007, he cut his teeth on the wines of the world, working with highly respected importer – Anthony Byrne Fine Wines and later managing award-winning wine merchant – ‘Jeroboams’ Notting Hill branch in London. While abroad, he studied with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Higgo returned to SA in 2008 into the role of resident Sommelier at Steenberg Hotel, after which he started consulting in the industry and is now working with various establishments on their wine programs. As a consultant to the industry, he drives a variety of projects ranging from annual fine wine events and auctions, to sommelier education and competitions, and he is often asked to represent South African wines on local and international platforms. Higgo is a senior judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and Decanter World Wine Awards and was also on the jury at the ASI Best Sommelier of the World this year in Antwerp. He is a founding member and past Chairman for the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) that does training and development for the profession in South Africa as well as a member of the by-laws committee of the ASI (Association de la Sommellerie Internationale), the international regulatory body for the sommelier profession.