Young Zimbabwean strikes gold in SA wine business

Lifestyle Top Stories

Cecilia Kamuputa

To the Shona people of Zimbabwe, Kumusha means your home, your roots or your origins. This is the name head sommelier of The Test Kitchen Restaurant in South Africa and wine maker, Tinashe Nyamudoka, 35, chose for his wine brand.

“The essence of wine is all about origin, roots and culture. I adopted the European wine culture but I wanted to enjoy wine in an African way,” Nyamudoka told ZTN.

Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nyamudoka crossed the border in search of greener pastures in 2008, living in Cape Town for 11 years before moving to Johannesburg, where he is now based.

“I came from a background of someone who grew up without a bottle of wine at a dinner table to one advising diners at the world acclaimed The Test Kitchen Restaurant.”

Nyamudoka carved his career from humble beginnings at The Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay and then Showroom Restaurant, honing his skills in Reuben’s and Nobu Restaurants at The One & Only Hotel in Cape Town. He was also the head sommelier at the award-winning 5-star luxury boutique hotel, The Oyster Box in Umhlanga.

A graduate of the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy who completed his Diploma at the Cape Wine Academy, Nyamudoka took up wine judging and now sits on the panel for the Wine of the Month Club and WellsFaber Weekly Sommelier blind tasting at the Pendock Wine Gallery.

Between his full time job and wine judging, Nyamudoka decided to venture into wine making and created the brand, Kumusha.

“In hospitality, I was more involved in wine, working as a sommelier. Venturing into wine making and creating my own brand just seemed like a good career projection,” he added.

The sommelier expressed that Kumusha, a brand with an authentic African feel, championing African food and culture, was made mainly with the black African in mind though the wine is appreciated across the board.

“My personal history influences my brand as I have always been outgoing and I love sharing and listening to stories, which is at the core of Kumusha Wines.”

Nyamudoka’s best business achievement to date remains his entry in the American market which he revealed was one of the toughest to do.

“I have always had an inborn need to prove myself and make a difference to the community, the desire to prosper and help others grow drives me,” he said.

Sharing of knowledge is Nyamudoka’s gift back to his community stating that it is his duty and obligation to share what he has learnt along the way to inspire people.

“I think economic stability is all we need in Zimbabwe, people are still consuming alcohol but the environment is not conducive to do business and get your money out of the country.”

With the current Covid-19 pandemic, Nyamudoka did not feel the impact of losing his job as he had just left the restaurant scene.

“It has actually worked in my favour for the wine brand as I am dealing directly with the consumer as restaurants are not full and there’s less feet going into retail.”

 He looks forward to venturing into coffee in the near future.

“My distant grandmother in Zimbabwe grows coffee and I have already started investing in the land and farming.”