WHEN Team Zimbabwe — led by award-winning sommelier Tongai Joseph Dhafana — found the going tough at last year’s edition of the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in France, quitting would have been the easier option.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
But the team decided to have another haul this year and for their efforts, they clinched 14th position out of the 24 participating countries, beating the United States, Italy, Spain, England and Holland along the way.
The championships were held at Chateau St Pierre de Serjac in France last Saturday. Belgium were crowned world champions.
Dhafana, who is the head sommelier at La Colombe Restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa, told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that it was heart-warming that they improved significantly this year.
“The boys went and did way better than last year as they pushed 10 places higher. Team Zimbabwe came 14th out of 24 countries this year and they managed to beat USA, Italy, Spain, England Holland and other few countries,” he said.
Dhafana could not mask his excitement at the turn of events, which stunned the world, and expressed hope they would do even better next year.
“I am delighted to be the captain of these talented sommeliers. The world was shocked with the results, as Zimbabwe is not known for producing wine. Though we faced many challenges, we didn’t lose focus and hopefully next year, Team Zimbabwe will do even better than this year,” he said.
Apart from Dhafana, Team Zimbabwe was made up of Tinashe Nyamudoka, the head sommelier at the Test Kitchen in Cape Town, Admire Wakwa, assistant tasting room manager at Mullineux & Leuu Wine Estate in Franschhoek, Billet Magara, the tasting manager at Passerene Wines in Franschhoek, Malvin Gwese, the head sommelier at Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town and Pardon Taguzu, consulting and wine importer of African wines in Den Hague, Holland.
Meanwhile, Dhafana’s Mosi Wines recently released a new vintage, the Mosi “Calista” Merlot 2017, which is his third vintage after Mosi “Flavian” Syrah 2017, Mosi “Tinashe” Chenin 2017.
Flavian, who died in 2004, was Dhafana’s father, while Calista, who lives in Chirumhanzu, is his mother and Tinashe his son.
He said he was “incredibly happy and humbled” seeing his labour of passion pay off and could not wait to share the new offering with the world.