The Wonders of wine

By Drum Digital
29 September 2010

IT USED to be a white or a chizzboy thing: expertly swirling your wine in a glass, inhaling the aroma and savouring the flavours as they lingered on the palate. But these days wine is fast becoming the drink of choice for more and more black people. It’s no longer uncommon to spot a black face at an exclusive wine tasting and when planning a special evening many of us now reach for a bottle instead of a six-pack.

A good indication of this growth in interest is the Soweto Wine Festival, the only exhibition of its kind aimed at the black township market. Not only were 76 per cent of the people who came to the recent twoday exhibition black, the overall attendance has grown from approximately 1 500 people in 2005 to 7 548 visitors in 2010.

So just who is drinking wine?

Research from the Soweto Wine Festival shows that black drinkers are mostly under 35, single, have a university degree, own a car or a house, earn between R10 000 and R20 000 a month and are heavily influenced by brands.

Thabo Mogale (32), a chartered accountant, says his interest in wine started after a tasting at work. “I was a beer drinker until I joined a firm in Sandton. Every last Friday of the month a guy from a wine club would come around with a few bottles for us to taste. I really got into it, picking up the flavours and aromas, and I joined a club to learn more.”

Another convert is Nomkhosi Mbatha, a 27-year-old journalist. She started drinking wine at university but didn’t consider herself an enthusiast until recently. “Don’t we all start with the Overmeers, the Cellar Casks and sometimes the OBS (Old Brown Sherry)?

“Then an ex took me to The Grillhouse in Rosebank. Their food menu is only one page long but their wine and spirits menu runs over three pages.

“I started tasting the wines on offer and my ex and the waiter also recommended what to pair the wine with. It’s just such a beautiful taste when all the flavours blend together.”

“Wine is a lifestyle,” Thabo adds. “Once you start drinking it, it changes what you eat and where you socialise. I used to think it was strange for people to eat blue cheese, but wine changes your palate. It really opens you up to new taste experiences.”

Read the full article in DRUM of 10 October 2010

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