- Where does your interest in wine stem from, and how did this transition into becoming a sommelier?
“Starting off as a kitchen porter back in 2009, I have always admired the calm and well-composed front of house sommeliers. I got a chance to move to the front of house as a barman and would get thrilled with their charming personalities as they expressed their knowledge to our discerning clientele, and that’s when the interest in wine hit. I immediately enrolled through the cape wine academy and started learning in detail. I got even more involved as I saw how my best mentors were doing in the wine world, Tinashe Nyamudoka (test kitchen) and Joakim Blackadder (somm hospitality enterprises).”
- What are the key attributes needed to become a successful sommelier?
“In my opinion, profound interest and appreciation, as well as a passion for wine and food in general, are the key elements. One also needs to be in great connections with winemakers, sales representatives and peers in the sommelier space. This enables you to broaden your wine knowledge as you will be sharing ideas and experience.”
- What kind of training would be needed to become a sommelier and what have you studied (wine-wise)?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say you need a degree to become a sommelier but to be the best I would encourage taking on some wine courses. Cape Wine Academy and the WSET by Cathy Marston, either one of the two institutes will provide the best knowledge about wines and growing regions as well as the systematic approach to taste and appreciate wine. As for service, Somm hospitality Enterprises offers classes to help one become confident in selling wines and dealing with guests. Lastly, for social and understanding wine trends join the BLACC group of sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. I’ve studied Cape Wine Academy level 1 and 2, South African Brandy course and WSET level 2 and 3. “
- Take us through some of the latest trends in the world of wine
“What I find fascinating these days is the technology being introduced to the industry, especially the newly launched aeration decanter “vSpin” – the best wine tool on the market. Wine applications that helps you store wines in a library and gives descriptions and ratings with average prices per bottle such as vivino, a cellar tracker that keeps track of what you have and how many bottles are in your personal cellar.”
- What is your favourite varietal of wine grape?
“ I love an elegant well-structured Shiraz/Syrah, or anything on blends that is shiraz driven. I follow ripe finesse red fruit flavours with a kick of perfumed bouquet and spiciness to finish, of which the recently launched Boschendal Nicolas 2016 is a perfect example.”
6. You had the privilege of tasting the Nicolas 2016, could you provide comment on the experience?
“What a brilliant, intimate evening it was. I had the privilege of tasting the Nicolas 2016, my type of wine, sumptuously juicy and elegant blend, easy going with ripe fruits (plum and mulberries) and an exciting well integrated texture of tannin.”
- What are your ideal pairings for our Boschendal Nicolas 2016?
“I would greatly enjoy the Nicholas 2016 with tender steak like cote de boeuf, Beef tenderloin or glazed pork belly dish.”
- In your opinion, which are the most common mistakes people make when it comes to selecting a wine?
“Sticking to what they know, making a selection based on how appealing the label is and how he name sounds, and assuming that price translates to quality”
- Any wise words for emerging sommeliers and wine enthusiasts?
“There is so much more to explore and learn in the wine world, so keep your head up high, give it all you’ve got and take pride as an honest performer. “