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Luvo Ntezo, South Africa's Rising Wine Star | The Shift - WSJ.com
January 17, 2013 |WSJ| By TOM DOWNEY.

South Africa's Sommelier
Eight years ago, Luvo Ntezo was working as a dishwasher. Now, as Cape Town's most trusted authority on wine, he's a symbol of the country's distinctive postapartheid viniculture...Ntezo's story isn't just inspiring—it also offers insight into a remarkable development in South Africa's viniculture. During apartheid, boycotts targeting the country's racist policies had isolated its wine-making industry from the rest of the world, which meant that modern cultivation techniques, foreign varietals and rich export markets were all effectively off-limits. In the postapartheid era, the wine market has broadened and expanded—importing vines and growing methods— radically improving the wine made there.

Even so, Ntezo has to introduce wine to drinkers who may know little or nothing about Bordeaux, Riesling or Pinot Noir. His approach is simple: Wine can't just be about taste, color and mouth feel. It must also tell a story. "When I serve Grangehurst's Nikela, of course I want people to notice the blend of grapes," says Ntezo. "But I also tell them that Nikela means 'tribute' in the Xhosa language, that winemaker Jeremy Walker created this wine as a memorial to his parents and that he bottled his first batch of Grangehurst on their former squash court in Stellenbosch. That's something they'll always remember and associate with the wine." It's sommelier as storyteller, a role for which Ntezo is well suited as he confidently looks down over his spectacles at customers more than twice his age.
wines  South_Africa  Cape_Town  storytelling  curators  Stellenbosch  sommeliers  viniculture 
january 2013 by jerryking

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