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Best wine range in Africa launched in Seychelles | 01 August 2019

Best wine range in Africa launched in Seychelles

The Vergelegen wine range from South Africa, recently voted as the best in Africa and 34th worldwide, was launched in Seychelles during a short ceremony at Del Place Restaurant on Monday evening.

The minister responsible for tourism, Didier Dogley, and the principal of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) Flavien Joubert were among the guests who first tasted the wine and described it as “excellent and fantastic”.

Vergelegen is a historical wine estate in Somerset West, in the Western Cape province of South Africa.Vergelegen means “remotely situated” in Dutch.

Don Tooth, the chief executive of Vergelegen Wines, presented the Vergelegen range of 15 different wines which would be available for sale at the different hospitality services outlets.

Mr Tooth said with the increasing number of visitors from around the world converging on Seychelles for their exclusive holidays, it is important that they are satisfied with the quality of the products they are served and wine is one of them.

Alongside the new wine range was also introduced a collaboration for wine qualifications which the STA is finalising with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) which is the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications. WSET has led the design and delivery of wine and spirit education for five decades.

WSET qualifications are globally recognised as the international standard in wine and spirit education.

Minister Dogley said the new wine range is a welcoming addition and admitted that wine is a subsector of the hospitality industry that has not expanded and still needs to grow, developed and be appreciated.

“But we don’t have enough people who have been trained properly to be able to advise clients,” he pointed out.

“But as we aim for the high end tourism we need to have more sommeliers and high quality wines to ensure visitors not only enjoy our hospitality and the beauty of our islands but also a wine experience which we need to develop and grow,” said Minister Dogley.

Mr Joubert also welcomed the new wine as well as the collaboration with WSET for the training.

“The STA teaches the basic in wine knowledge but not sommelier qualifications,” said Mr Joubert.

He said already a lecturer from the academy has successfully followed a WSET training course and now the two institutions are finalising a partnership agreement for more students’ and lecturers’ training courses.

He said WSET carried a first training here in May.

With regard to the new wine Mr Joubert said it is welcoming initiative and as Seychelles aims to attract more and more haut de gamme tourism there is the need to satisfy their demands for good wine and initiating the young Seychellois in the art of sommelier is a good step forward.

He said there are clients who are ready to spend up to €2000 for a bottle of wine but to be able to provide services to match this level there is a need for trained and qualified sommeliers who really know wines.

The Hospitality Competence Centre in East Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya is the first approved programme provider of the WSET in sub Sahara Africa which provides the internationally recognised sommelier training.

Its director, Mr Sjouke de Vries, who was also here for the launch event, said wine is nice to drink but wine has a lot of science behind it and a lot of art goes into it.

“If you really want to appreciate wine then it is also about having knowledge about it especially when your country depends on tourists and you get visitors from all over the world who know a lot about wine, it is also very important that the people serving them know a lot about wine as well,” Mr de Vries pointed out.

Mr de Vries said the level of interest shown in the training so far is very encouraging and it is clear that there is a great need for more knowledge in wine. Kristof Delaere, managing director of Southern De Vine (Pty) Ltd, is the locally based agent for WSET here via Hospitality Competence Centre East Africa.

Before Seychelles, the Vergelegen wine range was introduced in Kenya.

The accompanying photos show some highlights to the launch ceremony at the Del Place Restaurant.

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