Growing up in Zimbabwe, Tinashe Nyamudoka started his career in the hospitality industry as a waiter, working into a position wine steward. He began to attract notice in the wine industry, receiving the Reaching for the Young Stars Best Wine Steward Award in 2013 and working to become head sommelier. After working in some of Africa’s most acclaimed restaurants, he took his skills as a master blender and created his own brand, Kumusha Wines.
Today, Savannah’s Baobab Lounge at the Plant Riverside District is hosting a wine tasting event for Nyamudoka’s brand. The event will have special bottle offerings and showcases of art and jewelry direct from the continent and pair the wines with samplings of African cuisine. The Laiken Love Jazz Trio will be performing live for the guests entertainment.
Connect took a minute for a Q & A with Nyamudoka to discuss his career and wine:
Connect Savannah: Do you remember the first wine that inspired your career as a sommelier? What motivated you to pursue a career as a sommelier, wine judge and the owner of a wine brand?
Rudera Robusto Chenin Blanc 2006 is the very first wine I thought was really delicious.
I was inspired by the sommeliers I was working under at the time. Wine judging came about when I was looking for other opportunities to broaden my expertise. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and birthed the idea when I went to wine business school.
CS: What are some of the highlights of your professional life in wine?
Winning the inaugural Best Wine Steward award at Distel Inter hotel challenge 2013. The Eat Out Guide 2016 Best Wine Service award was another career highlight.
CS: Through Kumusha Wines, you’ve expressed a desire to introduce people to the flavors of your home. What are some of the notes that reflect your African upbringing?
I grew up visiting my grandfather in the rural areas and remember picking wild fruits such as apples, sour plums, smelly berry, marula, water berries. I also remember the smell of summer rains.
CS: More attention is being brought to diversity in the wine industry. I see that you’ve joined forums on rethinking wine lists to reflect this need. What do you want to see in the industry for people of color?
Definitely more representation along the whole wine value chain starting from production, distribution, retail, hospitality, marketing and wine writing.
CS: What is your favorite food pairing with one of Kumusha’s wines?
WHEN:Wednesday, April 7, 20215:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.WHERE:Baobab LoungePlant Riverside District - Power Plant Building400 W. River StreetSavannah, GeorgiaTICKETS:Tickets are available at $50 per person and can be purchased online at plantriverside.com or in-person at Plant Riverside District.
I enjoy Kumusha Chenin Blanc with an African traditional meal, like pap with road runner chicken stew - the birds roaming the homestead - and wilted black jack leaves.
CS: Can you describe Kumusha Wines? What can people expect from your brand?
To taste Kumusha wine is to taste a sense of deep rootedness. My personal taste is clear and firm but only to lead the drinker to an infinite open-ended interpretation.
CS: What can the people attending the event at Plant Riverside expect from you and your wine brand?
I have visited family-owned wine farms in South Africa, France and Germany. Their common rootedness in their family terroir reminds me that I have no ancestral claim to a terroir of any kind and that I am, to some extent, rootless and stateless. But in their wines, I receive the same sensations that I get whenever I visit my ancestral home in rural Zimbabwe, where my 91 year-old grandfather still lives. I want the attendees to feel the same when they enjoy my wines.