By Freeman Makopa
Zimbabwe will this month host the inaugural Wines of South Africa (WoSA) Sommelier Cup Zimbabwe semi-finals in Victoria Falls, with the winner set to represent the country at the fourth grande finale in Cape Town, South Africa in September, alongside other 11 invited countries from across the globe.
A sommelier or wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specialises in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing.
Eighteen participants have registered so far for the local semi-finals, with the registration deadline set for May 6.
WoSA agent for Zimbabwe, Kuda Hove said the competition is held every three years and the next event would be in 2021.
“Wine tourism is now a recognised growth factor for tourism internationally and we stand a very good opportunity to make Zimbabwe a consumptive wine destination through selection of product and experience through food and wine pairing and knowledgeable service personnel,” Hove said.
Hotels Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chapter chairperson, Farai Chimba said human skill development was a key component that WoSA is providing through various initiatives in the country.
“As a prime destination for connecting to the wine lands of the Cape, it is a great opportunity for us to be also geared to serve and provide high quality wines, which the clients can enjoy,” he said.
From January 2019, WoSA has been running semi-final competitions in the invited countries until August. Other invited countries include Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and the US.
After the semi-final competition, the finalist from each country will be hosted in South Africa for a tour of the winelands. They will visit some of the Cape’s most prestigious wineries, meet and taste wines with award-winning wine-makers, dine in some of South Africa’s iconic restaurants and explore the wonderfully diverse cuisine on offer – all against the backdrop of some of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful winelands.
The final will be organised in collaboration with the South African Sommelier Association, who have established themselves as an integral part of the food and wine industry in South Africa.
WoSA is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WoSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 producers on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company and is totally independent of any producer or wholesaling pacompany. It is also independent of any government department, although it is recognised by government as an export council.