From general hand to leading winemaker

By Tichaona Sibanda

Thirty-seven year-old Tariro Masayiti has made history, by becoming the first Zimbabwean to make wines that will be sold exclusively under the label of the international governing body of football, FIFA. ‘For me it is a huge achievement and an accomplishment that is nothing short of a miracle,’ said Masayiti, adding, ‘the recognition by FIFA is a dream come true.’

Two of the three official World Cup wines, have been created by Masayiti and all three limited edition World Cup wines come from the estate where he works in South Africa, Nederburg. Masayiti told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that he’s responsible for making the Sauvignon Blanc and Dry Rose. The other was the responsibility of a colleague at Nederburg.

‘What it means is we are the official wine supplier of the three wines during the World cup. Our products will be sold all over the world. We are currently distributing our wines to every corner of the globe,’ Masayiti added.

But how did the Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of Zimbabwe end up in this unique profession?

‘It was by accident really. My brother used to work at a farm close to the Mukuyu wineries in Marondera. During my days at the University he recommended I do general work at the winery as I needed pocket money and something to help my family with.

‘It was here that I got interested in winemaking. I used to see visitors from all over the world and some of them encouraged me to take up winemaking as a career. I applied and was accepted for a place at the University of Stellenbosch where I studied Viticulture and Oenology (winery),’ Masayiti added.

After four years at Stellenbosch, he also made history by becoming the first black student to graduate in Viticulture and Oenology.

’I was head hunted by Nederburg before I even finished my studies. As a winemaker my responsibility starts all the way from the vineyard. I’m responsible for managing and producing grapes under 800 hectares of land.’

He has become a master of the grape by diligently working every task, from sorting vine cuttings to working on the bottling line, which has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience.

‘I physically test the grapes. I smell them and at the same time look for specific characters and flavours. You improve on the job with training – you just need to taste a lot of wine. You need to love wine and having a science background is useful, so you understand the technical processes. But one thing that serves me well is I am dedicated and passionate about winemaking,’ said Masayiti. SW Radio Africa