NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The 2021 Kenyan edition of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) held an exquisite trade show at the Sarova Panafric hotel, Nairobi. The hotel reopened its doors 6 months ago after a long stint of the nationwide shutdown which somewhat paralysed the hospitality industry barring such events. Wines of South Africa (WOSA), is an industry-owned organisation whose main objective is to grow the South African Wine export market. The wine event, was hosted by Wanjiru Mureithi (popularly known as Winenjiru), a certified partner of WOSA mandated to manage the Kenyan series.
The event drew importers of South Africa’s finest wines, retailers, wine lovers, sommeliers and other industry experts. According to the organisers, a magnitude of Kenyans were enthusiastic about signing up but most were restricted since it was an invite-only affair. This helped limit the crowd numbers and observe Covid protocols while at the same time achieve a sentimental experience. The upper deck pool area set the mood and created an aura of chill while visitors scoured around various booths tasting wines displayed in the showcase. The event was graced by chief guest Zanele Sanni, from the South African High Commission with other delegates also present to embrace the veterans and also the new importers and entrepreneurs in the wine space. “My arrival in Kenya made me excited about the country’s economic recovery efforts, and the fact that you are not doing entry level wines any more makes us happy. We definitely recognise the work you are doing…,” said the senior delegate from the High Commission.
Some notable wine brands from Africa’s south included Perdeberg with their unique grape blend called Joseph Legacy. This particular wine is actually a special blend of 5 different types of grapes (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec). According to the local importer, The Wine Shop Kenya, the project was a special tribute to their winemaker, the late Joseph Huskisson. Galina Kenya, a wine importer and distributor, was also present showcasing their award winning wines -Bushmanspad Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc. Another brand, Women in Wine, stunned guests who learned of the rich history behind the curtains – a wine producing company owned, controlled and managed by women.
Next up was wine distributor giant KWAL with its new collector’s reserve on showcase – Durbanville Hills. The exhibit is inspired by Cape Town’s radiant energy truly connecting the Winelands and City. With a stroke of genius, the winemakers handpicked prominent landmarks in Cape Town and commissioned a vibrant artist by the name Theo Vorster to impart his vision of the landmarks onto each bottle.
Similarly there were a number of new entrants in the market such as SkipSkop, a family owned winery located in Naiper, SA. Also present was their local distributor, a former journalist turned wine importer, Anne Nixxie. The duo showcased the SkipSkop – Nixxie light red Sangiovese, a rich grape varietal from Italy grown in South Africa. The winemaker also boasts a wider range of wines such as Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon and Red Petit Verdo.
Standing out was another entrant, GunBay Wine brand which is inspired by the daily firing of a two smoothbore muzzleloaders on Signal Hill adjacent to Cape Town’s Table Bay. This centuries-old tradition harks back to the days of sailing ships which needed an accurate timepiece to calculate longitudes before once more embarking on their perilous journeys. The Noon Gun ritual continues to this day. Whilst ‘watches’ back then were set by the cannons, locals toyed with the thought to that this tradition also honoured those who defended the grape harvest in the Cape winelands.
Also present were the likes of Kenyan sommelier, Samuel Ndichu, the top finalist at the prestigious Wines of South Africa Sommelier Cup 2019. ” For me, WOSA events are always a great place to meet my old friends in the industry and because of what we went through last year, it is a way to catch up and encourage each other to grow the industry,” said the accomplished Kenyan wine expert hinting about a formation of a wine assosiation currently in the works. As the grand wine tasting drew to a close, we could see many wine fans trickling in hoping to give their palates a taste of the very best as sommeliers such as Silas Ndungu showed friends the various wines on display.
With the dusk-to-dawn curfew still in effect, guests could be seen leaving at around 9pm while wine importers and distributors packed up their wines ready for the Mombasa WOSA wine tasting to be held at the White Sands hotel starting Thursday-11th extending to Friday-12th, the same week.
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