Al Ahram Beverages, makers of Cape Bay Chardonnay, are committing to a long term mission to educate Egypt about the beauty and complexity of wine. To get the job done, they have brought in a “wine man.
There are some big jobs to be done in Egypt, and David Molyneux-Berry may have one of the biggest briefs this side of the Mediterranean: to teach the Egyptian hospitality industry how to serve, store and appreciate wine.
“The next five years will be the most exciting in Egyptian wine history, Molyneux-Berry said.
“Al Ahram Beverages are developing new vineyards, upgrading existing vintages and bringing new brands to market. There are a lot of smart people investing a lot of money to improve the quality and increase people’s knowledge about Egyptian wine.
It is Molyneux-Berry’s job to train those that serve the wine in hotels and educate the management that wine is a sophisticated product and the presentation requires certain panache.
A no-brainer you may think, but according to Molyneux-Berry, who has worked in the industry for over 40 years and served as the wine director of world wide sales for Sotheby’s in London, he starts his first module with the basics; “wine is produced from grapes which grow on vines.
A big job alright!
But nonetheless, a job worth doing is worth doing right.
If Molyneux-Berry and Al Ahram Beverages can manage to train hotel staff to recommend, serve and talk about Egyptian wine they could well reap a record harvest.
If the 8 million plus tourists a year visiting Egypt all purchased just one bottle of wine during their stay, Al Ahram would be looking at sales in the region of LE 480,000,000 (based on LE 60 per bottle) plus tax.
Obviously the tax would go to the government, who could then spend it on improving female literacy rates, combating childhood diseases and feeding the hungry.
See wine is a good thing, taken in moderation of course, which can be supported by numerous scientific researches, which I am sure isn’t all paid for by the wine industry.
I often take holidays within Egypt and I think other foreigners would agree that even though you can purchase a bottle of the Nile deltas finest in most hotel restaurants, it can often turn out to be rigmarole.
Waiters it seems need to find the designated person who can unlock the “cellar, look in the draw for the cork screw, gather ice and search for a bucket.
OK, it may not be that bad, but you have to admit there is something missing when it comes to wine in Egypt.
As for the wine, it has definitely improved and with further investment, such as what is going on now in the Delta with trials of various varieties of grape and state-of-the-art irrigation systems at work, the future of wine in Egypt is looking full bodied with a hint of sophistication.
Al Ahram vintages, such as Cape Bay and Grand Marquis, are available in all the usual places, but recently I have stumbled across the Maadi Deli which is proving to be my new best friend.
The deli stocks and delivers a wide range of local and imported pork products, such as Parma Ham and English Bacon. It also offers Dutch, French and Swiss cheeses, sausages, pork chops and legs of pork for roasting.
To wash this all down, the deli stocks five-liter boxes of California wine; two white varieties and one red. Each box costs LE 350, which is equivalent to 6 ½ bottles. The imported wine is fresh tasting with a sweet lilt that suites all menus or is just divine on its own at sundown.
With the approach of the “silly season, otherwise known as Christmas, wine is central to many people’s celebrations. Cairo offers fantastic Christmas cheer with carols and mull wine at the British Embassy and also at the All Saints Cathedral in Zamalek.
There are Christmas bazaars, the best known of which are at the Nile Hilton and The German School in Dokki, that offer a fantastic day with tasty food and plenty of gift ideas.
And if you need an idea for a gift, there is no better gift than a nicely wrapped bottle of wine accompanied with a small box of chocolates. Christmas, remember, is about giving, wine of course is about enjoying life.
For the Maadi Deli free home delivery, call 010-231-7611 or (02) 2520-2117.