This has been one of my best interviews. It has been a while since I did a ‘Ask A sommelier’ segment on the blog. I have not met anyone so versed and passionate about wine as Tinashe. He is a sommelier based in Durban, South Africa. Did I mention that he faithfully takes part in our #WineinKenya discussions all the way from S.A? Get to know him a bit better in our interview below.

Here is the Q & A

1.Tell me about yourself. 
Tinashe Nyamudoka born on the twenty seventh Day of July 1985. Grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. Moved down to Cape Town, South Africa at the start of 2008 and now I have been based in Durban for just over a year.
2.Is this something you have always wanted to do or is it something that you picked up along the way
Unfortunately, I never grew up with a bottle of wine at our dinner table. l did drink some wine while in Zimbabwe but the wine bug really bit when I was exposed to the Cape Wine Lands.
3.What are the qualities that you posses that make you a great sommelier?
l’m passionate about wine, it has become part of my lifestyle. I am knowledgeable, eloquent  and very particular with my dressing sense.
4. What does your job entail. Describe a typical work day.
My main focus of the job is on the floor, suggesting wines that align with my guests palate, dish, budget and serving size. That being said, I need the tools and resources to create these memorable experiences. Thus, my normal working day entails managing my cellar, ensuring that the wine list is up to date and ensuring that, if necessary, any outdated issues are shared with the team in time and in a manner to ensure information can reach the guest. I conduct regular training to team members on beverage and wines. I also liaise and taste wine with wine reps for potential listings or updates.
5. Challenges of you job.
Most of the challenges are the ones which I really enjoy as a sommelier. Challenges of finding a perfect wine for a guest, challenge of me still being a student of wine, learning new things all the time to keep abreast and the challenge of impacting knowledge to your working staff.
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6. Best thing about your job
I get to taste wine and food for a living. ( I don’t drink for a living as others would presume )
7.Five random facts about you.
 – I discovered my love for food after wine and it’s been one of the best things ever.
    –  Apart from wine, I’m an avid lover and collector of Kentucky Straight Bourbons.
    –  I love reggae music a lot and also a sports fanatic.
    – I enjoy outdoor activities greatest achievement has been a 5 hour hike up Table Mountain along the skeleton gorge route.
    -I never give away a prized bottle of wine unless I’m sharing it with you.
8. What is your best food & wine pairing?
I always feel food and wine pairing has more meaning if you want to have a formal or fine dinning meal of which most people don’t often do. I always advocate for people to choose a wine they would enjoy and marry it with your food. That being said, I enjoy a home cooked T-bone with a big bold bottle of red.
9. What would you tell an aspiring sommelier?
You have to appreciate wine and food. As you become more knowledgebale and articulate you still have to be careful and understand that its not all about you, it’s all about THE GUEST.
10.What keeps you going? What is your mantra?
I really enjoy learning about wine and helping others explore the world of wine. Wine, its in my veins and I can’t get it out.
If you enjoyed this article, read my Ask A Sommelier Interview with Geoffrey Kariuki.