“Kumusha,” in the Shona language relates to a feeling of belonging, of being home, finding your roots and origins. However, it is not necessarily a physical space and is born of Shona philosophy. “Kumusha” is sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka’s own wine blend.
‘Kumusha’ is a new African wine
Recently, working with Attie Louw of Opstal Estate in the Slanghoek Valley, Nyamudoka learnt wine blending. Furthermore, according to an article in SevenFiftyDaily, he says “I don’t pretend to be a winemaker.” However, “I…bring a lot of experience from hospitality, gastronomy, and [from] …experience as a sommelier.” Continuing, he mentions working for The Test Kitchen, where he noted the care and attention paid to ingredients. Moreover, he says “the chef may spend three days on a single ingredient.” Importantly, this inspires him to create his blends with patience and care. And, wine means everything to him.
Tinashe Nyamudoka, a Zimbabwean-born sommelier and winemaker bases in South Africa’s Cape wine region. Just over a decade ago, immigrant Nyamudoka started at the bottom of the restaurant trade. Furthermore, his journey with wine started then as well. Historically, wine is not an African drink. And, wine terminology wasn’t traditionally present in African food. Interestingly, Nyamudoka explains that reading Jonathan Nossiter’s wine memoir educated him. Called“Liquid Memory,” it made him realise that few Africans ever experienced “…cranberry, black currant, quince, or paprika.” So, “we had no idea what the wine establishment” described.
From waitron to winemaker
Undaunted, Nyamudoka started an informal wine tasting group. Together, they assigned herbs and spices in their own taste memory to wines. Then, they noted whether the wine is a Merlot, Shiraz and so on. Interestingly, they Africanised “Liquid memory”.
Unstoppable, Nyamudoka with three other Zimbabwean sommeliers participated in the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships in 2017 and 2018 in France. Respectably, Team Zim landed 14th place. In fact, they beat teams with far more wine education and experience. Excitingly, their journey gets traced in the upcoming documentary, Blind Ambition.
Importantly, Nyamudoka creates the blueprint for Black winemakers and entrepreneurs. And, no doubt, wine fans support him on this exciting journey.