From Cleaner to Sommelier: Bongani Ngwetiya’s Story

Bongani NgwetiyaBongani Ngwetiya has been appointed sommelier and food & beverage manager for Granita restaurant at Kievits Kroon Country Estate. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of the wine industry.

Born in KwaZulu Natal, Bongani moved to the Cape after he matriculated and got his first job at Spier as a cleaner – humble beginings which in no way suggested what was to come. His job at Spier no doubt changed the course of his life.

It was there that he first discovered an interest in wine and began reading wine magazines. With the support of the wine centre manager, he enrolled in a Certificate Wine Course at the Cape Wine Academy in Stellenbosch. When he passed with flying colours, he was re-employed as a trainee wine merchant at Granita Restaurant Cape Dutch architectureSpier.

On completion of the Diploma Wine Course, he was offered the unsurpassable opportunity to work in the US by Rafiki Wine Company and spent a year in Minnesota gaining valuable experience in the industry.

On his return to South Africa in 1999 he joined Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl as commis sommelier. A year later he joined the Devon Valley Hotel in Stellenbosch, which also owns SylvanVale Vineyards, as a wine ambassador, working in the hotel’s tasting room. During the three years of his employment there, the hotel achieved its first Diamond Award in the Diners Club Wine List Awards.

Bongani then spent a number of years working at top 5-star hotels in Cape Town and Gauteng, including food and wine @ Kievits Kroonthe Arabella Sheraton and the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, Sun City Palace, Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, and, most recently, the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg where he was assistant food & beverage manager.

Bongani says his passion for and knowledge about wine is encouraged and stimulated at Kievits Kroon, which has an award-winning wine list, its own wine label, and is known as the Winelands in Gauteng.

“I love the winelands look and feel about the estate,” he says. “And the wine list is fantastic.” Spoken by someone who clearly knows his stuff, perhaps the next time you find yourself in Pretoria or Joburg, you should stop by Granita restaurant at Kievits Kroon Country Estate.

Find out more about Granita @ Kievits Kroon now.

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