BOUCHARD FINLAYSON, one of South Africa’s leading wine farms, is delighted to announce the first recipient of the Bouchard Finlayson WSET Scholarship. Thabang Mamkeli, 23, has been chosen from the many applicants to be the winner of the scholarship, giving him the opportunity to attend a WSET Level 3 wine course with the International Wine Education Centre, worth R13 500.
Mamkeli is a retail assistant at Dry Dock Liquors in Parkhurst, Johannesburg and has worked in the wine industry for four years. His interest in wine was first sparked by Joss Du Trevou, who owns the Eco Motel where Mamkeli worked while still in high school and since then, he has been mentored and nurtured by Dry Dock owners/managers Martin Pienaar and Jonah Naidoo. Mamkeli completed his WSET Level 2 in Wines in 2018 but has been keen to continue his learning. “The more I think I know stuff, I find there is so much more to know!” he says, and states that his long-term goal is just to fully immerse himself in the world of wine and see where that takes him.
Luckily for Mamkeli, he is already an avid fan of Bouchard Finlayson. “I’m totally besotted with Pinot Noir!”he laughs. “So this scholarship couldn’t be more perfect.” Apart from the Tête de Cuvée Pinot Noir which he describes as “exquisite”, Mamkeli says his favourite wine is the Hannibal. “I definitely remember the first time I had that wine – it’s such an unusual blend and then it’s just so orgasmic, it’s truly a memorable wine.”
Bouchard Finlayson’s general manager, Judy Bakker, says: “Introducing the Bouchard Finlayson WSET Scholarship allows us to give back to the South African wine industry and market, and to contribute to the personal development and education of a deserving candidate. We are excited to have someone as passionate and capable as Thabang on board.”
The UK-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications are the industry standard for all sectors of the drinks business in more than 70 countries around the world. The WSET qualifications are taught in South Africa by the International Wine Education Centre (IWEC) which runs courses throughout Africa and beyond. Says Cathy Marston DipWSET, owner of the IWEC: “I think it’s amazing for Bouchard Finlayson to invest in the future of young South Africans such as Thabang, giving him the opportunity to learn and grow in the industry. I’d like to thank them wholeheartedly for their commitment to the industry, we look forward to welcoming Thabang onto his Level 3 course and wish him every success.”