The Kenyan edition of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup was launched last Friday night at the Sierra Burger and Wine restaurant in Westlands, Nairobi. The event drew exporters of South African wine, retailers, consumers and industry experts.
This is the second time that Kenya will be participating in the Sommelier Cup, which is held every three years.
The competition is open to anyone working in the wine and hospitality industries. So far, 15 Kenyans are registered to participate, and there are 15 more spots available. Those interested can register on the WOSA website, and after a screening process, they are cleared to go ahead.
WOSA Africa market manager Matome Mbatha was in Nairobi for the launch.
“This competition is a great way to promote wine learning. Participants will get a chance to show off their knowledge of wines, as well as their presentation — how they make recommendations to diners, how they open the cork and pour the wine, and even how they light the candle at the table,” he said.
Entrants will not have to find their way in the dark. “Our website offers information on what will be tested to help entrants compete well. There will be a written and a practical test so competitors have to know their wines.”
Entries for the Kenyan edition close on March 20. The winner will be chosen on April 4, in Nairobi, to represent the country in the finals in South Africa from September 19 to 25.
Other competing countries are Ghana, Zimbabwe, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US. There will also be entrants from Asia.
The finalists 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 winemakers, dine in some of the country’s iconic restaurants and explore the diverse cuisine.
At the launch on Friday, there were bitings and wine on hand to cater for every taste. Sierra Burger and Wine restaurant only serves South African wine so it was the ideal location for the launch.
The smooth, full-bodied Robertsons Cabernet Sauvignon paired well with the oxtail and mushroom truffle. It is recommended to be served with beef, stews, lamb, venison, pasta and steak.
And the DNA from Vergelegen, which is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon was refreshingly light on the palette.
“Consumption of South African wine is really growing on the continent, and in East Africa in particular. My next stop is Uganda, where I will be meeting people from the wine industry and conducting training courses,” Mbatha said.