HARARE – Did you know wine has legs? Yes it does, the legs are the ones that will tell you how rich in alcohol rich it is.
So when you see wine experts swirling the wine and then looking at the glass they will be looking for the legs, which is, in lay man’s language, the time the wine takes to settle at the bottom of the glass.
These are the kind of things, apart from drinking the wine, one gets to learn and experience at a wine tasting event.
One would expect that the dearth of vineyards in Zimbabwe would concomitantly result in the death of a wine tasting culture, but it has quite a following.
However, those who attend these events in Zimbabwe are mainly from the white community.
The Daily News on Sunday was recently invited to a wine tasting event dubbed Meikles Grapevine in Harare.
Several people explained why the art of wine tasting appeals to them.
Some of the participants at the Meikles Hotel’s wine tasting event.
For Collina Mvududu, a costume designer, it is both about being confident about the wine you are buying and the eccentricity of wine tasting itself.
“I like the eccentric stuff, that’s why I am here. Even if you are secretly eccentric, wine will definitely make you more eccentric,” Mvududu said.
“The reason why I like coming for these wine tastings is because, naturally you go out there and there are so many choices and you want to be sure you are getting value for money, so you come here you have a taste and you go out there knowing what you are buying,” she said.
“You would not want to buy a bottle of bad wine. But at the end of the day it’s about being confident with the kind of wine you are getting,” Mvududu said.
She said the tastings also link her up with the people behind a wine brand.
“It is also about interaction with people, and it is great to meet with people who are actually in charge or representatives of a wine brand. This is my first time, believe it or not, but I am actually a wine fan,” said Mvududu.
For Alex Fairlie, a writer, general artist and musician, it is all about good company, posh places and good wine.
“There are three reasons, firstly it’s free; secondly it’s at Meikles anybody who is anybody would want to be here.
“It’s a posh place and thirdly, good wine, good people, good company and that’s pretty much it. I am not a wine expert but a fanatic,” Fairlie said.
Stan Huggins, the man behind the Meikles Grapevine, which came into being eight years ago, said the tastings are meant to help people have some deep appreciation of wine.
He, however, explained that wine tastings are not confined to Meikles Hotel as they do outings in the mountains as well as visiting vineyards.
“People learn about wine and the importance of wine not only as a beverage to be enjoyed, but as a beverage that has a long history. It is a beverage that dates back to the earliest of human times, you read about it in the Bible. We try and teach people how to drink wine responsibly; we don’t want people to get drunk. It has health aspects to it,” Huggins said.
“We have got about 450 members, there are no fees; there are no obligations. We just want people to come down and enjoy wine.
“Usually, we have about 40 to 50 people who come per tasting monthly. Sometimes it’s free, but when we have a food and wine they have to pay for that. And we have in the mountains they also pay, but it’s usually free,” he said.
The wines tasted so far are from France, South Africa, Bulgaria, Australia Germany, Spain, North America and Zimbabwe.
“We have yet to taste wines from China and other parts of the world as well. It depends with what our suppliers can give us,” Huggins said.
Did you also know that you cannot refer to any sparkling wine as champagne unless it is from France, where the champagne region is found?
Part of the wine regulations are that it can only be port if it comes from Portugal and can only be cherry when it comes from Spain.