Professional sommelier Melusi Magodhi was raised in a remote, rural area of Zimbabwe, and had never so much as tasted alcohol until 2010, when he first sampled wine in Riebeek-Kasteel.
“I fell in love with wine in 2010, and since then I have never looked back,” Magodhi says. Today, he holds a level 3 WSET (Wine and Spirit Education) award, an international qualification that identifies him as an expert on tasting, classifying, and pairing wines.
Magodhi currently facilitates wine and brandy tastings for guests at Cape Town’s Ellerman House, as well as advising the hotel’s guests about food and wine pairings. “KWV 15-year-old was named the world’s best brandy, so that’s one of my favorites to serve, especially in winter,” he says.
In terms of clothes, the dynamic, passionate professional favours simple, comfortable staples that don’t require too much fuss or encroach on his time. He describes his sartorial signature as “classic — elegant, yet simple”, and prefers investing in timeless, high-quality pieces to purchasing trendy items.
Ultimately, Magodhi is committed to empowering as many aspiring sommeliers as possible. “The best part of my job is being able to pass on knowledge about wine to others; and the worst is thinking that I haven’t reached out enough to educate the future sommeliers who are out there, and still need to discover their palates,” he says.
Who was your style icon, growing up? Growing up in a rural area, I was not exposed to a many style icons, but as time went by I began to adore John Legend.
Your favourite place in the world? Zimbabwe, but Cape Town stole my heart.
Your signature scent? The smell of a well integrated wine: well balanced, with round soft tannins, yet full-bodied.
The first piece of clothing you were truly excited to own? Polo shirts.
Three wines you think everyone should be drinking right now? Lunch time: Pinot Noir (Hamilton Russell 2015), Chardonnay (Creation), Cinsault (Bosman). Dinner: Cabernet Sauvignon (Boekenhoutskloof), Merlot (Holden Manz), Pinotage (David & Nadia).
The last piece of clothing you were excited to buy? Brown shoes from David Jones.
Your favourite weekend activities? Visiting wine estates, blind tastings with friends, and watching soccer.
Your secret for keeping warm over winter? Drink brandy — but do not abuse it! — and full-bodied red wine.