MY WINE UPBRINGING
My introduction and growth with wine is a bit like the French term known as terroir defined as grape, soil and climate. In the first part, I am like the grape that is growing, the soil describes my education, training and knowledge, climate is my development and growth working in places like the UK, onboard The Yachts of Seabourn, South Africa, Argentina & Uruguay facing all types of topography.
I was brought up in South Africa in the heart of the Cape Winelands, a stunning wine town called Paarl, which is very close to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the Napa Valley of South Africa. Our house was next to a vineyard, which used to grow grapes for the famous KWV co-operative in Paarl. My brother Luke and I used to climb over the fence as kids and help ourselves to these looming cluster of ripe Chenin Blanc grapes. The grapes were grown on the high cordon system, so my brother had to climb on my shoulders to retrieve them. The farmer used to walk around the vineyard with his rottweiler, so once we built the wall round the house and heard a few gun shots fired in the air, we decided it was time to look for new adventures. I have now grown up and the vineyard is no longer there, but that year of 1990 will always be memorable and that was the beginning of The Wine Experience that brought me all the way to Uruguay.
I was very fortunate to work for places like The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in the Highlands of Scotland & The Covent Garden Hotel in London, where I fell in love with Hospitality & Service, and got the opportunity to meet so many interesting people from all over the world.
It was an absolute privilege working for Majestic Wines in London. I gained a wealth of wine knowledge and experience. I started working at the South Kensington Branch as a Trainee Manager and quickly learnt the skills of the trade. Within the first couple of months I finished my WSET (Wine Spirit Education Trust) Advanced Certificate. We offered competitive prices, excellent customer service and an impressive range. Majestic Wine operates as a mixed case retailer, selling a mixture of wine, champagne and spirits with a minimum purchase of six bottles. The company owes its expansion and success to a combination of acquisition and development. I have to say that this company really put me on the map as far as wine is concerned. They really know what they are doing and I was privileged to work with so many wine lovers from all over the world.
In 2005 I joined the Yachts of Seabourn as Head Sommelier. Here I was faced with a different challenge. I had to take all my skills that I gained on land and apply them at sea. I was responsible for the onboard wine selection, training and education of all those involved in sales and service of wine, organizing and conducting of wine tasting seminars and making sure the guests have the best experience and service. I noticed that by the time I left this champagne, caviar and wine lifestyle, people were starting to discover and drink more approachable, affordable, food friendly wines from South America, Africa and Europe.
Love brought me to Argentina and I was fortunate to do some Freelance Work with Wineries in Mendoza before leaving for South Africa and working for the Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch owned by the British Diamond Merchant, Laurence Graff. It was very exciting time working for an Estate that achieved so much in a small space of time. Besides winning accolades for their Cabernet Franc Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, The Lodge at Delaire was voted Best Grape Escape in the World in the Wallpaper Magazine.
In 2010 the Love of my Life got offered the opportunity to open the new Fasano Hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay and seeing that Sabrina is half Uruguayan it was a simple move from South Africa. Not long after we arrived I got the opportunity to meet Max the Director of Vik Retreats, who offered me the Food & Beverage Manager, Sommelier position at the Fabulous & Sensational Playa Vik in Jose Ignacio, which is owned by the wonderful Alex & Carrie Vik who really have “that original eye” for the outrageously unique and super elegant. Working with them was an Amazing Experience and they are like family to me.
The idea for The Wine Experience started when I realized that there was a big gap in the market for taking tourists on wine tours and having a Real Passion for Wine, I wanted to do something about that and Revolutionize Wine Tourism in Uruguay. I would like to offer tourists the Best Possible Experience while Vacating & Traveling in Uruguay and be there “inside man” into making their stay an Unforgettable Adventure. This is an Exciting Time in Uruguayan Tourism and I have Positive Expectations for this Business. Having said that, I will also be offering Wine Trips in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, South Africa and in Europe in countries like France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Please click on http://thewine-experience.com/category/wine-tours/ and Start Your Journey.
Read more about My Philosophy and Vision for this Business. Thank you for reading and we look forward to hearing from you, whether booking online, or doing The Wine Experience. Gracias totales !!!