image by www.wine.co.za

image by www.wine.co.za

On 29 July Anita Thomson was awarded the SA Sommeliers Association’s Most Up & Coming Wine Steward at this year’s Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge. Anita competed against wine stewards from South Africa’s other top hotels and did us proud. Well done, Anita!

Coming from a large family, Anita has always had a natural affinity for people and communication. She grew up in Khayelitsha as the youngest of six children, excelling in drama and music, before going on to study Human Resource Management. Her studies helped her decide that she wanted to work with people daily.

Anita applied for a learnership at the Vineyard Hotel in 2008 as a trainee in the Food and Beverage services. After completing the programme, she applied for the position of waitron at the hotel’s flagship restaurant, the Square, where she has served for the past five years. Naturally polite, committed and highly motivated, it has been a position that has played to her strengths and allowed her to grow.

Opting for a change of scenery, Anita spent a few months in the retail sector. She says, “After I found myself seating guests and taking drinks orders on the quiet mornings in the local business café, I realized that my heart would always belong to hospitality.” Anita was welcomed back into the Vineyard Hotel team with open arms and was soon after promoted to Maître D’.

While the time at the hotel has proved to be a valuable learning experience for Anita, it has also helped cultivate an interest in wine. Sparked by watching guests’ enjoyment, she would study labels on the bottles and the restaurant’s extensive wine list on quieter evenings, before enquiring on the details of the food and wine pairings. Her natural curiosity then extended to acquiring knowledge on the best-selling wines on the menu, popular wine estates and guests’ general feedback.

As someone who is so obviously in love with her job and dedicated to creating a positive experience for all guests, there can only be a bright future ahead for Anita.