Joseph Dhafana – sommelier, winemaker and celebrator of life

Joseph Dhfana is a SASA (South African Sommeliers Association) certified sommelier, winemaker, and international wine and spirits judge. We met with him recently to chat bubbly, his experience in the wine industry and the upcoming release of his own Cap Classique.

Wine connects people. In water you see your own reflection. In wine, you see the heart of another.

Joseph had his first glass of wine on his twenty-eighth birthday while working as a barman in Riebeeck Kasteel. It happened to be a glass of Pieter Cruythoff Brut bubbly, the rest is history…

While he originally didn’t like the taste much, Joseph recognised he had a special taste for wine and went on to study at the Cape Wine Academy and develop his palette. Later becoming one of South Africa’s most regarded sommeliers, at one of South Africa’s most renowned fine dining restaurants, La Colombe. 

Image Source: Mosi Wines and Spirits

Originally from Zimbabwe, he started his own wine label, Mosi Wines and Spirits, a tribute to his Zimbabwean origins and his family. Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-tunya, are the face of the Mosi wine label.  He also captained Team Zimbabwe in the World Blind Tasting Championships in France in 2017 and 2018.

In our wide-ranging conversation, Joseph spoke about how he measures success by the number of people he has helped in his life; and ‘memory’ as the sixth sense of a sommelier,

I have a power bank of wines in my head that I pass on to clients to enjoy, and I can remember what they drank when they visit again!

Joseph’s philosophy is to celebrate life every day. He believes that bubbly doesn’t need a special occasion to be enjoyed, “have a glass of bubbly in the morning when you wake up as a celebration of life”. This is perhaps why it was inevitable that he would produce his own Cap Classique.

Joseph will soon release his “Amelia” Cap Classique – named after his wife. A 100% chardonnay brut that spent 34 months on the lees. Only 240 bottles have been produced.

He said producing his own Cap Classique has been a wonderful and challenging experience. Having to regularly taste bubbly was fun but the timing of the harvest, blending process and maintaining the quality of the wine had to be on point. Joseph describes Amelia as having a clean and fresh nose with yeasty and brioche with citrus notes, excellent mouse with vanilla whiff and a great lingering after taste. Sound delicious!

And we loved this description of Joseph on the Mosi Wine website:

Joseph has been lauded for his humility and for sharing his exceptional knowledge of wine with pure grace and professionalism.

He is a rare vintage with a lot of sparkle! We can’t wait to try his Cap Classique which we expect will be the same. Amelia is available for pre-order, email us at hello@bubblybox.co.za to get your bottle!

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