PORT Elizabeth's Lauren Cohen has been named one of the top 10 wine gurus in the country for what she calls her "passion".
The 31-year-old, who competed against more than 200 wine lovers in the South African Wine Tasting Championship, said: "It is gratifying to be rewarded for drinking wine."
The championship, which took place last month, was for the first time aimed at placing talented wine lovers in the limelight and tested their ability to trust their palates.
"This new yearly event isintended to make wine tasting popular and promote wine education, not only among the wine geeks, but to a larger public across all communities," championship director Jean Vincent Ridon said.
Cohen, who described the championship as "pretty challenging", was one of the wine lovers who came out on top after firstly tasting 46 different wines – identifying the vintage, region, grape and the producer.
After doing this, contestants entered a blind challenge arena, where 10 wines were re- served in unlabelled decanters, testing the contestants' ability to recognise wines they had been exposed to through sight tasting.
Cohen's love for wine was sparked in 2008, when she moved to Cape Town, where wine tasting is "part of the lifestyle".
The former Weekend Post reporter later completed two wine courses through the Cape Wine Academy.
Cohen said: "I have always had an interest in wine ..."