The Next Chapter - Tawanda Marume

My journey started by chance some 10 or so years ago while working at an insurance company in Zimbabwe and I happened to be tasked to source wine for a Christmas party.

While searching, it came to light that Zimbabwe did not have a big selection of wine, in fact, wine culture seemed non-existent. A light bulb came on. I should work towards bringing wine into the country. At that stage, alcohol was just alcohol, everything was labeled in the same basket from gins to vodkas to liqueurs to wine to whiskey. I remember very well an email I sent to a relative in Botswana asking for prices of wine and in that list Amarula, Jameson and Gordons were included.

Coming to South African and settling in Stellenbosch, I began studying through the Cape Wine Academy. 9 Years later, I am almost at the point of completing my Cape Wine Masters program, the highest wine qualification in the country – with only 2 exams left to complete. The journey has been amazing, meeting some extraordinary people and learning from some of the best palates in the country. I have absorbed as much as I can and there is still room for more. Sue Proudfoot and François Rautenbach stand out as the individuals who were the most influential in my journey and imparted what I regarded as the best gift in life, their knowledge.

After spending time in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, I learnt one of the most valuable lessons; it’s always about the guest. I may have an opinion on certain wines but if my guests do not agree, I should never force feed them with my choices but rather understand their palate and wine choices. After all, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to wine appreciation, everyone has a style or varietal or type of wine they like. My passion has always been training and development of the wine industry and while in Tanzania I had the privilege of taking 16 of my colleagues through the Introduction to South African Wine Course and all of them passed. That was the highlight of my time at Singita Grumeti Reserves. I should also admit, living close to nature has a way of making one appreciate the balance of an ecosystem and the beauty that is around us. Admittedly, once a Singita, always a Singita.

I moved back to Cape Town to join Rust en Vrede which became a short, but very packed part of my journey. The team was amazing, the food awesome and one of the best wine lists in the country. Working with Fabio Daniel was amazing, new dishes always on the cards, so many wines to choose from and a small intimate restaurant to serve. It was great to be on the floor again in South Africa and experience the evolution of the fine dining scene after having worked at La Colombe from 2012 to 2014.

Now is the time for the next chapter. I have always wanted to take wines back to Zimbabwe and be part of the story in growing the wine industry. I had an opportunity to support Tinashe Nyamudoka at a food and wine pairing event at The Old Vineyard in Harare and it was quite eye-opening. There is a growing market keen and hungry for fine wines but presently there are few available in the market. Speaking to some producers who already send wines into Zimbabwe, there is consensus that the market has great potential and with more work it can grow exponentially. As I am making my way back to Zimbabwe, I have decided to take a detour and stop in Gauteng. This is a whole big city with bigger challenges and bigger opportunities. It is a very interesting market that accounts to roughly 65% of fine wine purchases in the country. I will be stationed in Gauteng for some time as I wait patiently on the developments in Zimbabwe, post elections.

In Gauteng I have collaborated with Patson Mathonsi to take on a few brands and represent them in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Patson has vast experience in Gauteng and a lot of relationships created over the time he worked from being a sommelier at DW Eleven-13  to sales with Reciprocal. We are both excited to start this new journey and believe our experience and collaborated effort will contribute to the development of the wine industry in a positive way. We will not only represent wine producers, but we will be involved in training of wine and wine service in restaurants and off-consumption outlets. If you would like to get involved with us as a wine producer or restaurateur, please do not hesitate to get in touch us.


Tawanda Marume

SAWTC2018 Cape Town - Tawanda Marume

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