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Mosi: Indian Billionaire and a Zimbabwean Sommelier in South Africa

Posted: Wednesday, 02 September 2015 17:03


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Mosi: Indian Billionaire and a Zimbabwean Sommelier in South Africa

Sep 02: What is common between the Indian billionaire Analjit Singh of Max India group and Joseph Dafana , a young black Sommelier from Zimbabwe is that both are entrepreneurs with Analjit buying a substantial interest in the Swartland boutique winery Mullineux and Joseph having worked in the same winery before becoming a Sommelier and debuting with his wine labelled as Mosi produced from the grapes bought from the same company, part owned by Singh, writes Subhash Arora who tasted the Mosi Shiraz in South Africa recently and was impressed with the first Vintage

It made headlines when two years ago Analjit Singh bought a majority stake in the boutique winery Mullineux owned and run by the winemaker couple Chris and Andrea Mullinuex . The name was changed to Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines -Leeu means a Lion in Afrikaans , so does Singh. In fact Leeu is his holding company that has partnered with Mullineux to name the new company. Since then he has bought many other businesses in the hospitality space, mostly centered in and around Franschhoek.

Joseph is a Zimbabwean by birth and moved to South Africa in 2009 by choice and with passion for the wine industry. Singh was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, as a son of Delhi-based late Bhai Mohan Singh, founder of Ranbaxy Ltd., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies with capitalisation running into billions, whereas Joseph has had to struggle financially at every step.

Singh has been a very successful man with interests in several businesses including telecom, which he sold at a huge profit to Vodafone. One of his current activities is in the hospitality and hospitals industry with Max group of hospitals being premium in this category. He had no experience in wine but apparently a big passion for wine and by his own admission, he fell in love with South Africa on his first visit. He made headlines in the South African wine industry when he bought majority stakes in this young boutique winery that has earned a 5-star status and is highly coveted in South Africa, with the top Syrah fetching over $200 a bottle.

Click For Large ViewJoseph had to do numerous jobs to support his career. He worked as a gardener in the Bar Bar Black Sheep restaurant where he rose to become the bar man. ‘On my birthday in March 2010, the owner Mynhardt Joubert gave me a glass of sparkling wine to sip and celebrate. I struggled to finish the wine but the wine bug caught me,’ he says about how he got enamoured by the wine business.

It took Joseph two years to enrol for his first wine certificate with Cape Wine Academy and since then he has never looked back. He visited Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Chris and Andrea Mullineux, the then Lammershoek team.. In 2013, he did his first harvest with Chris Mullinuex and says he learnt many things, one of them being a promise he made to himself that one day he would produce  a Chenin Blanc and a Shiraz in the same style.

Click For Large ViewJoseph kept studying up to WSET level 3 and was busy with the Cape Wine Academy diploma. In 2014 he bought half a ton of Syrah grapes. ‘I used to call Chris Mullinuex and Eben Sadie and sometimes took them to the cellar to taste my wine and give me advice. I really honour those two guys as they are the pillar of my strength,’ he says. He was also helped in different stages by his friend and Sommelier Denis Garrett who advised him from time to time and supported the venture in many ways. Dennis says the grapes were bought from the Mullineux estate and were of the same quality that went into the top quality since Joseph wanted to prove to himself that he could make perhaps the best wine too.

If Singh named his winery after his last name, Joseph labelled his wines as MOSI- the name of the world’s biggest waterfalls - Victoria Falls. The label in fact shows the Falls vividly. Coincidentally, the government of Zimbabwe has announced the change of name of the Falls officially to Mosi-oa-Tunya.

While he is selling his wine – he has made 850 bottles only - he is working as the head sommelier at La Colombe Restaurant in Cape Town and staying with Garrett who is confident that Joseph has a great future in wine making.

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Analjit Singh, Max India, Joseph Dafana, Zimbabwe, Swartland, Mullineux, Mosi, Mosi Shiraz, South Africa, Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines, Leeu, Franschhoek, Ranbaxy Ltd, Vodafone, Syrah, Cape Wine Academy, Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Chris Mullinuex, Denis Garrett, Victoria Falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya, La Colombe, Cape Town



Germain Says:

Mosi wines are better and better each vintage

Posted @ December 10, 2020 10:00


Subhash Arora Says:

Now that I have met all three and discussed the project at length, I should clarify that the Mullineux and BAS own equal share with one of the two promoter still holding a very small percentage of shares. Subhash Arora

Posted @ January 11, 2016 12:34


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