A new Cape wine club is working to broaden the appeal of the fruits of the vine
Neighbourhood chatted to Gregory Mutambe, chairman of the Black Cellar Club (Blacc).
What is Blacc and how did it come about?
After a glass or two of wine, of course! It’s a club of like-minded people who want to raise awareness around wine consumption, and careers in the wine industry, particularly among the black community.
The name comes across as the club being exclusive to the black community, but that’s not the case as we have a number of white members. At the moment, we have around 60 members, and our plan is to grow nationwide; we’re slowly expanding to Durban and Johannesburg. All of us on the executive board have full-time jobs in the hospitality industry, so this is something we do in our personal capacity as a way of giving back.
What are you trying to achieve with Blacc?
Mostly, it’s about encouraging the enjoyment of wine. The per capita consumption of wine is much lower in the black community, and the growing black middle class often choose other drinks – beer, whisky and cognac – over wine, so we’re trying to change that.
It’s also about education. When people start drinking wine they often start with sweeter rosé-style wines. There’s nothing wrong with those, but educating the palate is important. If people understand the process of why wine tastes a certain way, they will be encouraged to try different types of wines. It’s all about understanding the product.
How are you going about spreading the word?
We started a programme called Blacc Mondays, with excursions to wine estates to learn more about wine and the industry. We also have partnerships with educational bodies such as the Cape Wine Academy and the South African Brandy Foundation which are extending their support by offering courses for members of Blacc. It’s about empowerment through exposure and education.
What is planned for the future?
Along with more Blacc Monday events, we’re planning wine-and-food pairing evenings. We’re also looking at releasing our own wine under the Blacc label. It’ll be a top-class South African white wine as a way of raising funds for the ongoing work of Blacc.
Words: Richard Holmes | Images: Supplied