Sommelier Gregory Mutambe is on hand to advise diners in the award-winning Azure Restaurant. Gregory started his career working as a cellar-hand in a Zimbabwean winery, after which he trained and worked in Johannesburg restaurants and, most recently, worked as the Vineyard Hotel Sommelier. He has a true passion for wine and food which has allowed him to compile an extensive wine list for the enjoyment of guests.
The wine list he has created is truly impressive, and has received the high-status of Three Flutes in the Long Wine List category in South Africa’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2012and also Diamond Certification by Diners Club Wine List awards for 2011 and 2012. Guests will find not only an outstanding range of the great names of the wine world, but also an intriguing selection of lesser-known bottles. Many of the wines listed are available by the glass, including a selection from the celebrated South African estate of Bouchard Finlayson.
Gregory assists diners with the perfect wine pairing during meals, working closely with executive chef Christo Pretorius. During his flourishing career Gregory already successfully judged wine selections at SAA and at the Annual Nederburg Auction, and has been a finalist in the prestigious Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Awards in 2011 and 2012. He has also been invited to be one of only three Associate Judges at this year’s Best Value Wine Guide judging, taking place in June 2013.
He cites French-born Master Sommelier, Master of Wine and the World’s best Sommelier, Gerard Basset as his inspiration, and says about his profession: “If you want to become a sommelier you have to have a real passion for wine and be prepared to work odd hours, weekends and holidays. This shouldn’t discourage you, as the exposure to different wines you receive, and the incredibly interesting people you meet from all over the world, makes for the most gratifying experience you could ever have. You become the palate for guests, who trust in your knowledge and ability, which is just remarkable.”