Jean Vincent Ridon

Starting as a sommelier in the family restaurant, Jean Vincent Ridon quickly owned his own restaurant in the middle of the French vineyards of Sancerre. While managing his restaurant in the heart of the vineyards he started a successful wine brokerage company focused on the Loire Valley and Burgundy.

Following strict training, he was apprentice in Michelin-starred restaurants where he learnt the art, making him one of the very few chef sommelier in France.
However Jean Vincent became more and more involved in wine, starting as an assistant winemaker in Sancerre, and working for top estates as a consultant, re-corking their collection of old vintage. This is a skill he is still practising in SA as part of the Amorim Clinic team.

JV was as well involved in wine retail, managing the Centre des Vins de Propriétés in Paris, the largest wine shop in the world at that time with 10000sqm of shelves, before moving to Belgium where he was distributing wines, including his first wines from South Africa which he imported directly to Brussels.
On his first trip to South Africa when he came as a flying winemaker in 1996, he fell in love with the vineyards and decided to settle permanently. He created his own wine label, Signal Hill, and consulted for many other projects.

Being a sommelier was so embedded in him that he created the Classic Wine Trophy in 1998, inviting famous sommeliers and chefs to judge the quality of South African wines.
In 2013 he created the South African Wine Tasting Championships, qualifying a South African team every year to compete at the World Blind Challenge. He also helped original Team Zimbabwe to participate in their first World Championships in 2017.

Twice a finalist at the Best Sommelier of South Africa, he represented South Africa at the Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa in Vienna in 2017.
He was the first ASI Diploma certified sommelier in Africa, and he sits on the exam committee of the ASI, the global association of sommeliers, active across 60 countries.

He manages the Sommeliers Academy, training the hospitality industry and grooming the best sommeliers of the future. His dedication toward education makes him a key stakeholder in the transformation progress in South Africa.

He is known as the #FlyingSommelier