SMART NEW SOMMELIER FOR MAKARON RESTAURANT
MAJEKA HOUSE, the home of Makaron fine dining restaurant in Stellenbosch, has taken its culinary offering to the next level with the appointment of an energetic and passionate new sommelier.
Esmé Groenewald comes to the boutique luxury hotel and spa from Terroir Restaurant in Stellenbosch. In her new role, Groenewald joins executive chef Tanja Kruger as well as restaurant manager, Dean Cole in providing the first class showcase for local food and wine that the stylish Makaron has become well known for.
“We’re very excited about Esmé’s arrival,” says Lloyd van der Merwe, who co-owns Majeka House with wife, Karine. “She brings fresh enthusiasm and the best hospitality experience, making her a perfect fit with the team.”
Groenewald has always had a close association with wine, having been born and raised in the Cape winelands. She cut her teeth in the restaurant business, working and managing high street restaurants and it was here that she first truly discovered her love of wine. “As with many sommeliers, I never chose this profession it chose me,” she says. “One afternoon, sitting on the patio sipping wine and overlooking the vineyards, the penny dropped. I knew where I wanted to go.”
Groenewald got stuck in. “I learnt as much as I could, talked to winemakers, attended tastings and trawled the internet, but after moving to Terroir I knew I had to do more. So, I did.”
She enrolled with Cape Wine Academy and pursued a series of qualifications that would give her the foundations to join the illustrious profession she had set her sights on. “With every graduation I thought I was done, but the subject becomes addictive. Wine is an inexhaustible and fabulous field.”
Groenewald is currently completing a two-year online distance learning diploma through the UK-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
She is quick to add that her career has been shaped by close friends and colleagues who motivated, inspired and tutored here – “Chef Michael Broughton from Terroir pushed me to learn more about wine and introduced me to so many flavours; Joakim Blackadder constantly showed me how much I have left to learn and always has something rare and unusual for me to blind taste; and, Rust & Vrede’s Barry Scholfield, my other half, who is always quizzing me, pushing me to study harder and reminding me that I’m smarter than I think.”
Groenewald is excited about her appointment at Majeka House and involvement with Makaron restaurant. “I’m particularly thrilled about the freedom I have to create something unique – the prospect of being able to throw out the rule book, focus on customer service and create a great, in-depth, wine program that is funky and unique.”
Makaron has an extensive winelist of which the bulk are South African, and particularly from Stellenbosch. Groenewald’s mission is captured in this very winelist at Makaron, for all to see: “I believe that wine is a love affair, passionate and personal.”
The owner-managed Majeka House and Makaron Restaurant is a haven providing personalised service in exquisite surroundings. It is an ideal base from which to explore the historical town of Stellenbosch, the region’s famous vineyards. It is also just as right for a private break-away, providing a range of luxurious facilities including a professionally run spa and spacious gardens.
Majeka House, Spa and Makaron restaurant are situated at 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch. For more information, visit www.majekahouse.co.za or call 021 880 1512.