5 August 2017 Thanks to a few generous recent contributions the fund is now oversubscribed which is great news. And I have been told by the generic Châteauneuf organisation that they plan to pay for the team's car hire in France. More good news.
3 August 2017 We are absolutely delighted to be able to report that the fund we set up to enable a wine-tasting team from Tam's native land Zimbabwe to take part in the world wine-tasting championships organised by La Revue du Vin de France in Burgundy on 14 October has just about reached its target of £6,500. The JustGiving donation page registers a total of £5,082 as I write and Joseph's employers at La Colombe have already given him a generous top up paid directly in South Africa where they all work as much-admired sommeliers. A great big thank you to the 68 donors who so kindly helped to make their dream come true. (And any additional donations, however small, between now and when we finally wind it up to transfer the money to South Africa will naturally be very welcome...) We will of course report on their performance and adventures.
27 June 2017 We published Don't forget Zim's supersomm travel fund with lots more background information, not least from team captain Joseph, second from the left in this picture.
21 June 2017 Tam wrote Just over a year ago, Erica Platter wrote about the inspirational 'Zim somms' who were making their mark on the Cape wine scene through sheer hard work and talent. Since I'm Zimbabwean born and bred, and long exiled from my homeland, the story had a particular resonance for me – in particular that of Tongai Joseph Dhafana. So when we received an excited email from Erica bursting with the news that four Zim somms had entered as a Zimbabwean team for the World Wine Tasting Championship (Championnat du Monde de Dégustation La RVF) in Burgundy on 14 October I was pretty thrilled. And very proud.
A total of 27 countries have entered this year. Last year China stormed the cup, beating both France and the US. South Africa came a laudable sixth, some 30 points ahead of the UK in eleventh place.
Jo Dhafana of La Colombe is the captain of this audacious team. He took part in the 2015 competition as a member of the South African team. This year he flies the Zimbabwean flag, and the rest of the team is made up of Tinashe Nyamudoka of The Test Kitchen, Marlvin Gwese from Cape Grace Hotel and Pardon Taguzu from Aubergine. Take a look at this video of them (the white-sands-and-surf background is about as unZimbabwean as you can get, I might add, although it is very attractive). The photograph above of the team, along with the video, is the work of Gavin Withers, aka The Wine Taster, who kindly let us use the photo. There are more pictures of the team on his Facebook page.
The team needs to raise £6,500 to cover their expenses for the trip (flights and accommodation), and we'd love to help make that happen via crowd funding. So we've set up a fund and would much appreciate any contribution you feel you could make, however small. Please consider donating here.