Gugulethu wine tasting raises eyebrows, and glasses

South Africa
File: Soweto wine merchant Mnikelo Mangciphu, who has the only wine shop in Soweto, enjoys a glass of wine 02 September 2007. The Gugulethu Wine Festival is an initiative to promote entrepreneurship in the Cape Town townships. Picture:

Cape Town  – Wine tasting and the culture surrounding viticulture will play a big role in community integration at the third Gugulethu Wine Festival.

eNCA.com spoke to one of the festival’s founders, Lungile Mbalo and asked him why Gugulethu was chosen as the venue for what is typically not an activity one associates with the impoverished community.

Mbalo said the aim was to distinctly promote racial integration and tap into the hospitality and tourism industries found in Cape Town.

“We are also working to promote education in the hospitality industry and work on getting sponsorships for programmes surrounding the festival for the people living in Gugulethu,” he said.

Last year, festival organisers and sponsors visited the Thembalethu School for the Physically Disabled to plant trees and spend time with the children.

Another avenue the festival provides is a programme that promotes the awareness of alcohol abuse in the community.

In 2011, the first of the festivals was opened by Helen Zille who commented on the diverse integration of many races in one space.

“I am pleased to say that we have managed to attract a good mixture of many people; from the winelands, townships and different representatives in the hospitality industry.

This year, over 3,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival.

Said Mbalo: “Wine is like Joburg’s gold and Rustenburg’s platinum. It is Cape Town’s jewel and we are taking advantage of this big industry."

“We are working on leveraging Cape Town’s tourist attracting abilities and we have managed to classify the festival as an official winter festival."

The TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival, scheduled for this weekend on the rooftop of the Gugulethu Square Mall, will also host MasterChef South Africa judge Pete Goffe-Wood. He is expected to appear alongside Nederburg winemaker Wilhelm Pienaar, and the pair are expected to presenty the winery's now famous Taste Theatre, which includes wine and food pairing education.

-eNCA

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