Meet your #LIQUIDSOCIAL wine curator for October – Minnie Mthombeni.
Minnie is short for her full name which is actually Minenhle. She is currently the Sommelier at Karibu Restaurant and achieved her WSET LEVEL 3 qualification, SASA Level1 certification as well as a Cape Wine Academy Sommelier qualification. We interviewed Minnie and here is what she had to say…
How did you get introduced to the world of wine?
“I really started at the bottom as a waiter who was so inquisitive about the huge wine list which had stories about certain winemakers and the history of South African wine. l worked for Peter Veldsman at Emilys at the Clock Tower some years back. Peter had a culinary school so every afternoon he would have classes with his students about different topics food and wine knowledge. I had this habit of polishing glasses close to their class. l always found it so interesting to hear him describe a wine with so much passion like he was playing a beautiful music note. The words l was hearing also were so grand like Beaujolais, Gewurztraminer, Pouilly- Fume, One of the many theories about “Fume” the origin of the word comes from the white morning mist that blankets the area. As the sun burns the mist it looks as if smoke is rising. That stuck in my mind like glue.”
How did you become a Sommelier?
“At the beginning of my journey, l thought you had to learn more about wine before indulging in the beverage, but as time went on l realised that you had to taste the wine so that your mind takes charge of the experience, the different nuances and the chemistry on the palate. I went on to get my WSET LEVEL 3 qualification, SASA Level1 certification as well as a Cape Wine Academy Sommelier qualification.”
What advice would you give others who want to be a Sommelier?
For anyone out there who wants to be a Sommelier, You have to get into the habit of writing notes when you taste wine. Read a lot about wine, research about different topics and cultivars. Look for wine blogs, the best for me is Wine folly, Vivino is for those with a great understanding already. Join wine clubs like Blacc and another educative platform like SASA.
Don’t be shy to express yourself when you taste a wine there is no wrong or right answer…”
What do you love most about the world of wine?
“l love wine for so many reasons at the moment my life is so wine oriented. Even at 11am I am tasting wine or I am talking to a friend about the previous day’s wine experience or reading a very informative wine article. It has become a lifestyle. The great joy about wine is it’s such a social uniting beverage because you meet so many people as strangers and over time you become great friends. Wine is diverse too, you don’t drink wine to get drunk, you savour and enjoy the geography in a glass. When l have a wine that speaks to me l can go to the moon and back.”
How do you help others find a wine that they will enjoy?
“I often ask people what they like in a wine, of course, it has to have balance, length, acidity, intensity and concentration. My question will be to steer them in a direction whether they like dry, off-dry, robust wines or elegance. And for me, it’s always about the perfect pairing the wine complimenting the food.”
Thank you Minnie for being our Wine Curator of the month!
To receive Minnie’s curated wine club packs this month, head on over to #LIQUIDSOCIAL and sign up!