Top wine expert at My Pond

JON HOUZET

WELL-BALANCED: Wine expert Georgio Meletiou, who has worked as the Sun International Group’s head sommelier, is now a consultant for My Pond Hotel and will be writing a weekly column in Talk of the Town Picture: SUPPLIED

MY Pond Hotel now boasts its own wine expert who does wine pairings with its gourmet yet affordable Sunday lunches.

Georgio Meletiou has worked as the Sun International Group’s head sommelier, responsible for 15 three to five star hotels, and counts Oprah Winfrey, Sir Cliff Richard, Tina Turner and Paris Hilton among the celebrities for whom he has conducted private wine tastings.

He currently works as a private wine consultant and sommelier for restaurants, hotels and private enterprises.

Meletiou started in the hospitality industry in 1996 at The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.

“I did my Hotel Diploma, and then moved over to work at The Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. That is was the so-called ‘wine bug’ bit me,” said Meletiou.

“The wine presenter at the wine shop was sick one day, and they had a group of 45 people who wanted a private wine tasting. They were all international delegates from six different countries. Because I can speak six languages fluently, I was able to present our own wines to them in their own languages. And like they say the rest was history,” he said.

He proposed the franchising of the Spier Wine Shop at Sun City, and managed the shop from October 2001 to April 2003, after which he got the position of sommelier at The Palace Hotel at Sun City.

GREAT FOOD, GREAT PRICE: My Pond Hotel’s Sunday lunch special has proved a hit with locals who can have a three-course meal for just R60, with suggested wine pairings by consulting sommelier Georgio Meletiou, who recommended a natural sweet wine, Drosdy Hof, to accompany either starter – the rolled Greek salad and baked feta pictured, or the spicy chickpea and lentil soup Picture: JON HOUZET

After two years as Palace sommelier he was promoted to Sun City Resort sommelier and was responsible for everything wine-related at three 5-star hotels and one 3-star hotel.

Among his highlights during this time was assisting world renowned party planner Colin Cowie to pair suitable wines for a lavish formal dinner for Oprah Winfrey at Sun City in December 2006.

“In 2007 I was promoted to Sun International group sommelier. At that stage I had the biggest sommelier’s portfolio in the country,” said Meletiou.

While at Sun International he received seven Diamond Awards for the national Diners Club Wine List of the Year Competition, which gives recognition to those establishments whose wine lists not only provide a balanced range of wines but which also best complement the food on offer.

“A Diamond Award is the highest award one can get. It’s above 90%,” said Meletiou.

Another highlight with Sun International was conducting food and wine presentations for the BBC in collaboration with world-renowned two star Michelin chef, Conrad Gallagher.

DELICATE AND DELICIOUS: For the Sunday lunch main course option of beef fillet medallions at My Pond Hotel last weekend, wine expert Georgio Meletiou recommended Fat Bastard Shiraz, a medium-bodied, well-balanced wine, but Chocolate Block, a top-range blended wine, also proved an excellent choice Picture: JON HOUZET

Meletiou has a Diploma in Wine Studies as well as a Sommeliers Diploma.

He will be writing a weekly wine column in Talk of the Town, starting next week.

My Pond Hotel will also run a weekly competition in collaboration with TotT relating to the wine of the week, and the first correct entry drawn will win lunch for two at My Pond.

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