WINES of South Africa (WOSA) is on some sort of African renaissance mission, with its Africa marketing manager, Matome Mbatha saying they aim to spread wine tasting festival to all the countries on the continent.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

Mbatha said wine tourism was growing at a fast pace  in countries like Zimbabwe, which imports about 18,5 million bottles annually, inspiring a decision to bring the grand tasting event to Zimbabwe.

Matome Mbatha says Wines of South Africa is targeting countries in the SADC region and already has a presence in West Africa (Pic by The Boss Newspapers)

“We export approximately 100 million bottles of wine annually throughout the whole continent. Our biggest market apart from domestic market  is United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany,” Mbatha said.

“We want to diversify our offers and trade within the continent but our main target is SADC region countries like Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia and Botswana even though our market is spread in other countries such as Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana.  

Zimbabwe’s turn had been long overdue, but we are committed to upskilling local people on the etiquette of wine, investing in wine festival events and to do activation engagements with our clients so that they fulfill the expectations of their tourists.”

Under the Influence Beverage Solutions, Zambia sales manager, Josh Isaacs said they have trained more than 20 000 wine traders, which they expect to have a multiplier effect on the region.

“Wine evolution and movement in the continent is relatively rising, so this is about teaching people that wine is more about a relationship with food and cultural movement,” he said.

“It’s  been 8 000 years in human history that we’ve been making wine. What we are also trying to push is to help staff in the lodges, camps, restaurants and hotels to understand what their guests are going to be expecting.

“We have the most gracious and hospitable staff in Africa, mainly in the SADC. They smile and show care but for us, we feel like we have to be on top of the world when it comes to wines and we think what is missing is knowledge and that is we give them tools that they need to excel in the careers.”

Isaacs said their intent was to sell high quality and valuable wines at affordable prices in the domestic market.

Among the wine expects who attended the festival were Botanica Wines maker, Virginia Povall and Evan Alexander manager of  Vinimark’s Business in Africa, the Middle East, UK, Europe and Eastern Europe trading commercial brands such as the Chocolate Block, Porcupine Ridge, Boekenhoutskloof, Reyneke, Krone, Leeuwenkuil and Robertson Winery.

Mbatha said they were planning to take the grand tasting to Harare and make it an annual event.

Victoria Falls was used as a seeding ground to cover neighbouring Zambia as well.

The event, which was held at Victoria Falls hotel and ended on Saturday, with about 250 guests attended the event.