Linda Murphy sends this report from Cape Town.
Part of South Africa's preparations for hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup is taking care of the world's wine-drinking soccer lovers ... or is it soccer-loving wine drinkers?
South Africa lacks the number of trained restaurant, bar and hotel wine servers needed to competently quench the thirst of the projected 10 million visitors who will come for the football in two years. Recognising that the World Cup is an opportunity for South Africa to present its wines in a positive fashion, Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has launched an ambitious programme, the Laduma Project, to raise funds to train 2,010 people in the hospitality industry, thereby helping previously disadvantaged South Africans to become wine stewards and ambassadors for their country's wines.
Laduma – the isiZulu word for a soccer goal – is funded largely by the sales of a brand called Fundi ('learner'), red wines produced by six Cape wineries and sold to raise funds for the training of South Africans, many of whom are not familiar with wine.
Wines from Stellakaya, Anwilka (the wine outfit effectively funded by Chx Angelus and Cos d'Estournel plus Klein Constantia), The Company of Wine People, Hartenberg, Waterkloof and False Bay Vineyards, comprising various mixes of Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, were selected for Fundi by the Cape Winemakers Guild, and are on offer in South Africa and selected export markets.
The labels sport a sunflower design, an African symbol of hope. Bottles are adorned with a beaded wine glass marker, produced by local beaders. Production costs have been donated or subsidised. Fundi sells in South Africa for 120 to 150 Rand per bottle, and can be sourced at www.fundiwine.co.za.
South Africa, and the world, cannot have enough wine-savvy representatives at the ready when visitors arrive, eager to eat, drink and be merry. The Laduma project could be the thing that not only provides World Cup visitors with professional wine service, but also provides a career path for South Africans used to drinking Coke.