South African winemakers hope a new wine project will cash in on the soccer craze sweeping the country in advance of next year's FIFA World Cup tournament, while helping train a host of wine stewards to deal with incoming tourist hordes.
Project Laduma, launched by Wines of South Africa, a government- and industry-funded trade group, is releasing a new wine brand called Fundi (from the Zulu word umfundi which means “learner”). All proceeds from sales of the wine will go toward training previously disadvantaged South African youths to be wine stewards in restaurants and hotels across the nation.
The project's goal is to train 2,010 wine stewards in time for the 2010 World Cup, which begins next June in nine different South African cities. South Africa is hoping to add additional jobs to its tourist industry to take advantage of the influx of dollars spent by World Cup fans. So far, more than half the target number of students for Project Laduma have completed their training.
Five different wines were selected by a panel of Cape Winemakers Guild members and labeled with the Fundi label. The Anwilka Fundi Stellenbosch 2007 (86 points, $18), a blend of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon along with Syrah and Merlot, is earmarked for the U.S. market. A total of 750 cases will be released in New York in coming weeks. The wine shows an herb-driven profile, with tobacco and green olive notes leading the way for a core of red currant and black cherry fruit.
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