MOMBO, Okavango Delta, May 2020/ — Appointed in 2019, Mombo’s exclusive sommelier, Alfred Muswaka, has a reputation for hosting exciting and informative wine tasting sessions that encourage guests to explore the intriguing world of fine wine.
Born in Zimbabwe, his career started at the Roundhouse Restaurant in Cape Town where he worked as a part-time server while studying Accounting. Alfred worked under the sommelier who noticed his interest in wine and advised him to join the restaurant’s intensive upskilling programme at its Hospitality Training School, which had just begun operating.
With further mentorship from the sommelier, Alfred went on to complete an Introductory Wine Basics course at the Cape Wine Academy, and was immediately fascinated. His passion and enthusiasm for the subject led him to really excel, and attracted a few bursaries along the way from organisations such as the Cape Wine Academy and Distell. At about this time he stopped pursuing Accounting and decided to dedicate his full attention to the study of wine.
Alfred worked for a number of events companies, including Blend, Thirst and Barcode before he became a part-time commis/ junior sommelier at the Roundhouse and Rumbullion restaurants in Camps Bay during 2011. He moved into a full-time position a few months later. At this time, he was also working for Let’s Sell Lobster, now called Lobster Ink.
In 2013, he joined The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, where he remained until relocating to Madagascar in 2016 as part of the opening team for a luxury resort.
Today Alfred holds a Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy and will soon complete the WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) Level 3 qualification from the International Wine Education Centre. In addition, he is also a South African Sommelier Association-certified sommelier, and has a Diploma in Wine Business Management from the University Of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
In 2019 he joined Wilderness Safaris’ flagship camp, Mombo, and is excited to use his expertise and passion to make a positive difference to his guests’ experiences here. In his role, Alfred curates a wine collection that enhances Mombo’s super-sensory dining experiences and complements its gourmet tasting menus.
He has to take into consideration a number of factors when selecting wine, such as Mombo’s extremely remote location, the ageability of the wines for long-term cellaring when purchasing, while also looking out for vintages that are ready to drink. It also important for him to maintain a fine balance between new trends and classics.
“I am looking forward to sharing my carefully curated wine selection with our guests soon, as our cellar comprises some of the best wines to come out of Africa. Our ethos as a conservation company plays a significant role in the selection criteria, which is why I focus on boutique Fair Trade producers who farm sustainably, and who are socially, as well as environmentally, responsible in their practices”, says Alfred.