Oenology is the study of wine, and oenophiles, those who are connoisseurs of it. Around the world, oenophiles of African descent are shaping the global wine industry in creative and provocative ways – adding flavors and cultures unique to Africa and its Diaspora. As the number of Black experts, entrepreneurs, and communities in the wine industry continues to expand, Africans are also shaping how global consumers access and experience wine, including curating culturally-informed wine pairing experiences in-person and online. These wine pioneers are shaping culture, while driving innovation in a field that has historically excluded people of African descent.
Please join The Africa Center and Dine Diaspora for a discussion centered around how people of African descent are ensuring their profiles are at the table. The event will be moderated by Chasity Cooper, and panelists will include Kodjo Adovor, Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah and Tinashe Nyamudoka. This program is a part of our Home Is Here series of conversations; an exploration into the ways in which African and African Diasporic culture keeps us connected to the continent, no matter where we are in the world. Use the hashtag #HomeisHere #AfricanWine to join and follow the conversation online.
Chasity Cooper is a Chicago-based wine educator and journalist who holds a WSET Level 3 Award in Wines with Merit. As a wine educator, Chasity’s goal is to break down the barrier of intimidation, empower others to explore their palates freely, and make learning about wine an enjoyable experience for all. She has published articles and features that intersect wine with culture for outlets such as Wine Enthusiast, Vinepair, Food & Wine Magazine, and Imbibe Magazine, and has also executed several creative partnerships with award-winning wine brands. When she isn’t studying grape varieties or creating wine content, Chasity enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Follow Chasity’s work online at www.winewithchas.com.
Kodjo Adovor is a Certified Italian Wine Professional and Vinitaly International Academy Italian Wine Ambassador. He is the first person of African descent to qualify as an Italian Wine Ambassador. Kodjo is the founder and sommelier at Africa Wine Club – which seeks to bring club members together to explore wine, food, culture, and business across the continent of Africa. Kodjo has also led travel groups to explore the joys of Italian food and wine on guided tours in places like Milan, Bologna, Umbria, Venice, Verona, and the Valpollicela. Kodjo holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, an MS degree in Financial Mathematics from the University of Chicago, and BS in Physics from Hampton University.
Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah In 2010, British-Born Ghanaian Ms Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah had a spiritual calling and moved to Ghana, West Africa with her 4 month old son. In 2010, Nadia established a marketing agency named Sixth Sense and was successful in winning their first account with Vodafone Ghana after 2 months of being in operation. This win and successful execution was the beginning of Sixth Sense winning accounts with leading multinational brands including Sage, Merck Pharmaceutical, Viber, WorldRemit, Prudential and many more over the years. In November 2014, Nadia had another spiritual calling whilst on holiday in the USA and by April 2015, she opened Sai – West Africa’s first wine café, serving over 30 wine varietals, from over 100 brands produced in both old and new world wine producing countries, paired with food. Over the years Sai Wine Café has become a home away from home for residents of Accra and tourists and this year Sai Wine Café is celebrating its 5 years by moving to a new location within Accra.
Tinashe Nyamudoka moved from Zimbabwe to Cape Town, South Africa, in 2008 and found work in a restaurant as a waiter. In 2009 he started working at the One&Only Cape Town Hotel as a wine butler. He furthered his wine studies by growing up the ranks and becoming sommelier at the hotel. In 2013, he won Best Wine Steward at the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge. In 2014, he moved to Durban to work as Head Sommelier at the Oyster Box Hotel. He returned to Cape Town in 2015 to work for the Test Kitchen Restaurant and in 2016 won the Eat Out Guide’s Best Wine Service. Tinashe founded Kumusha Wines in 2017 whilst working at The Test Kitchen. He is also the Co-Founder of sommoncall.co.za, an online wine shop, and also works as an independent wine judge and consultant based in Johannesburg, South Africa.