November 2022

Bringing People Together through a Passion for Wine

in Food

Bringing People Together through a Passion for Wine

Singita’s teams are made up of myriad passionate people – all having reached Singita via their own unique journeys – and each plays a part in the lasting impact of your stay.

One important element of the guest experience is an exploration of our world-class wine collections – an area we have passionately curated to make it equally as immersive and conducive to connection as every other aspect. Each bottle, discerningly chosen, patiently matured and carefully transported, adds variety to our selection and contributes to memorable moments enjoyed in the natural beauty of our locations. Our sommeliers play a crucial role here, sharing their appreciation of the depth of the wines in our cellars with guests and helping them to create meaningful memories.

At Singita Volcanoes National Park, your wine-tasting and pairing experience is in the capable hands of Alister Zengenene, whose own story is as impressive as the collections he so passionately shares with our guests.

WATCH Sommelier Alister Zengenene shares his passion for wine with guests of Singita Volcanoes National Park

An unexpected calling & chance encounter

Coming from a family of non-drinkers in Zimbabwe, Alister’s first taste of wine was only as a young man – growing up, his religious background meant that he had very little exposure to wine before that. From a young age his mother became the sole provider for his family (his father had passed away when he was eight) and once he was old enough to work, he left Zimbabwe to look for employment to help support his family.

Once in South Africa, he found himself working in the restaurant industry, and it was here that he was exposed to the world of wine for the first time. “I became fascinated by it – it was so different to how I’d perceived it growing up, and I recognised its ability to bring people together,” he says.  

This fascination prompted him to start researching in his spare time and this fuelled his passion further. One day, a fortuitous meeting set his life on a new and unexpected course, which would ultimately change the trajectory of his whole career. A guest at the restaurant where he was working – who was the manager of a prestigious wine estate – asked for recommendations and Alister embraced the opportunity to show the knowledge he’d acquired. So impressed was this guest by Alister’s passion and instinct for wine, that he offered to sponsor his studies as a sommelier. 

With his mother’s blessing, he pursued this next phase of his education with dedication, and once certified, finally got his dream job – as a sommelier at Singita. “I love being part of making people’s time at Singita unforgettable.” Guests now benefit from the passion he has for creating memories and experiences for guests, through wine, at Singita Volcanoes National Park.

Alister's discovery of the world of wine as a young adult prompted a desire to study further, eventually earning him a role as a sommelier

Wrapped in the warmth of Rwanda’s hospitality

Boasting awe-inspiring views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes and surrounded by high-altitude forests, our properties in this region – Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House (part of the Singita Private Villa Collection) – offer a singularly cocooning and nurturing travel experience. One that never fails to make its mark on guests.

Richly layered spaces celebrating the energy and warmth of this country’s people and culture and unique and life-changing wildlife encounters – trekking with the endangered mountain gorilla – come together in a truly meaningful adventure.

The nurturing environment of Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House allows many opportunities to connect and contemplate, wine tasting being one such memorable experience

This environment serves as the perfect space to spend time contemplating your surroundings and enjoying the peaceful setting and the company of loved ones. Our cellar in this remarkably designed lodge is one such space, and is ideal for couples and friends to connect over a shared passion to enjoy world-class wines.

The Singita list has earned numerous awards, the top Diner’s Club Wine List accolade and recognition from many local and international organisations. This is enhanced by a sommelier-guided tasting and pairing experience that brings out the very best of each bottle.

Singita's wine collections have garnered worldwide recognition, and add richness to the experience of a guest's stay

In pursuit of wine renown

Singita is recognised as an influential wine collector and the extensive cellars across our properties showcase a premium selection, including some of the continent’s most sought-after private reserves, as well as exclusive releases, limited single-vineyard and rare auction wines. To learn more about Singita’s unique wine journey, click here >

By Julia Freemantle

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