By – Jemi Ekunkunbor, Cape Town
Following the successful hosting of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Grand Tasting, in Nigeria earlier July, WOSA invited seven Nigeria journalists on a tour of the Cape Winelands, in Cape Town South Africa as part of promoting South Africa to the Nigeria market.
We took off from Lagos courtesy of the South African Airways, my colleague, Oscar Ochiogu and Amadi an ex Vanguard staff who now works with Business Day. Through Amadi, we met Stella and Patrick Atuanya also from Business Day. By the time we arrived Johannesburg, we met others with whom today we have become friends.
Konye Nwabogor, and Rukky Ogbetuo from Thisday.
From Johannesburg we flew again into Capetown from where our tour to the winelands began.
We were pleasantly welcomed into Capetown, greeted by the sheer beauty of the landscape as we sped through Vanguard Drive, a well tarred, clean highway that led to the five star, Table Bay Hotel where we were housed for the first night of our trip.
Commissioned in 1997 by South African hero and former president, Nelson Mandela, the elegantly designed, 329 capacity room hotel was “built with attention to details to give authentic experience to guests” says NinaTomlinson, the hotel’s Public Relations Coordinator who took us on a tour of the hotel.
From the family room, one of the types of rooms in the hotel, we got a window view that opens to the Bay, with yatch and boats moored in the water overlooking the popular Iconic, TableMountain.
The scene is simply breathtaking and far beyond the waters is a glimpse of RobbinIsland in the far background. For a moment, Mandela’s incarceration was brought to mind and considering the stretch of water between the hotel and RobbenIsland, there was no way the Mandiba would have survived if he had tried to escape from prison. He would have drowned! We were told by WOSA Market Manager, Matome Mbatha that there has only been one man who tried to escape.
The struggle Icon, Nxele Makana on December 25, 1819, together with about 30 other prisoners attempted to escape from the Island in three boats and the boats capsized. Only four of the prisoners survived. You can guess his fatehe drowned.
From the room, Nina took us to the gym, the spa, the swimming pool area September 15, 2013 / 15 etc. We finally ended up with Stelios Norteias, the hotel’s Chef who was waiting to put us through the process of cooking a salmon. We got the shock of our lives when we were told we were going to cook our own version after Stelio’s practical demonstration.
Paired in twos male and female, I found myself paired with Amadi with whom I had to cook a great Salmon and dress it in 30 minutes. It was a fun event as we diced onion and mushroom and fried our fish to nice brown.
Thank God for years of being a home girl.
Along with my partner Amadi, we cooked our way to first position earning for ourselves two bottles of sparkling wine each plus one apron each courtesy of the hotel.
Our first night climaxed in a dinner which we shared with WOSA market manager, Matome Mabatha. The dinning room overlooked the Bay or water front and with the lights falling on the waters with all the boats moored there, the beauty of the view along with the ambience of the dinning room could only be imagined. It was so romantic and the mention of the word romance was like a cue for Matome to acquaint us with the activities of wine producers in South África even as he welcomed us to the hospitality of Table Bay hotel.
As we sat at table, Matome talked about wine in such a romatic way stressing its point of difference with other drinks as a drink to be shared and enjoyed with others.
Wine according to him should not be abused and this he said is what WOSA sets out to do “to drive for better use of alcohol and add value to people lives even as they find their WOSA CAPE WINELANDS
TABLE BAY HOSPITALITY way into the Nigeria market. “These are some of the things that WOSA wants to achieve”.
There was no want for wine-sparkling or red as Vincent the hotel’s wine’s expert, ensured that we got enough tutorial on each type served.
It was an enjoyable evening of good food and wine. For us that evening, we came away with a simple lesson that proved useful in our subsequent visits to wine producers. Before drinking your wine says Matome, “Nose it, swirl it around, and taste it if you like it, then drink it”.
We were sad to leave the next morning, it was such a beautiful place to stay and the hospitality of staff will be greatly missed.
Next week we bring you more gists as we reveal our findings at the various wine companies