WiNE had a big role when showcasing French culture last week at the France-tanzania Business Forum here, in Dar es Salaam. At the four-day event, which included not less than 50 French and local companies, the stage was given for a presentation by the Export Manager of Barton & Guestier (B&G), ignacio Marcos, who was brought into the country from France, especially for this occasion. His presentation was followed by - what else - a wine tasting session.
inquiring later on during the proceedings, it was learnt that all of this affair was solely geared towards bringing more information about the specificities of French wine, to a local population.
the intention for doing this was based on informing participants on how to appreciate the culture of wine, or at least why the French do. through Marcos’ presentation the differences between rose, red and white wines, together with getting more information about French wine in general, became much clearer.
the participants both local and French members of the Business Forum, students from the National College of tourism, were on the role wine plays together with being given a brief history of France’s connection to it.
Needless to say, as host of the Forum, the resident French Ambassador, Malika Berak, was also present. Luckily, the ‘Daily got a quick word from her, on the relevance of going through such trouble to highlight a drink.
“Wine for us, French people, is something cultural. As you heard the figures given in the presentation it’s also something very important for our export,” she immediately replied with a noticeable excitement in her tone. “After all,” she continued, “wine is something very cultural and in a way,is part of our genes.”
Ambassador Berak went on to explain it is this cultural aspect that results in a French person knowing when eating something they have to combined it with a certain type of wine. that’s why she maintains it’s their“history”,hence the art of wine making being called “Oenology”, which is a Greek word. It is for this reason that they saw it fitting to bring a wine expert from France especially for the occasion.
When the ‘Daily News’ got the opportunity to get a word from the visiting Marcos, he started by explaining his area of work covering Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
He was very proud of the fact that being based in Boudoir since 1725, makes B&G the oldest wine company there, who have wine coming to them from all over the country.
For, Marcos wine culture is a “fascinating world” that needs to be brought to all corners of the globe. he was pleased to have had a good attendance for his presentation, for which he had to keep as simply and straight forward as possible, seeing that there are many different tastes, based on the particular area a wine comes from.
“the terrain, which is a mixture of the soil, weather and the grape will give a particular combination and flavour to the wine,” he explained further. He also agreed that bringing the presentation here, as part of the first “Semaine de la France” (French Week), at the National Museum and house of Culture, in the City Centre, was quite in order.
For him, being part of their culture, wine has become the ideal accompaniment not only for food but also any social event. the reason for this he pointed,was apart from wine being part of their culture, it also belongs to one of their major economic sectors, which is agriculture.
Therefore, wine was well place in the Business Forum. Another person present was the Sales and Marketing Director of the local Red ‘n White wine distributors, who are based here in Dar es Salaam, Mady Alberdienst.
Although from Belgium, she also endorsed the relevance of giving wine a platform at the Forum. “it is very important here actually, if the Forum is all about French awareness and culture.
As indicated in Marcos’ presentation, when he mentioned each French person drinking one bottle of wine every five days. I think he even said that France is the country that consumes the most wine,” Alberdienst suggested, as reasons behind her statement.
She thinks wine has become an important part in France today simply because the French noticed very early, the suitability of their terrain to producing it. No doubt the visibility it provided for her company was very good, especially given the way in which the forum was well organised.
For her just getting local people talking about wine in a different way than normal, was a very beneficial bonus. Another Director of Red & White present and spoken to was Filip Jack.
He also comes from Belgium and told the ‘Daily News’ their goal was simply to promote wine and its culture in the country. they think it’s a very important drink in society, because it provides the way to another country or continent, which he feels is very important.
“You’ve fantastic tanzanian-made wine, no one can deny this, but i think it’s also nice to be exposed to other influences. What we tend to forget here is that there are other wines, like French, Spanish and italian wines. So, with this kind of event, as “Semaine de la France” we got the chance to promote French wines together with B&G here,” Jack said.
He thinks wine from here, South Africa and France are all good. therefore, it’s not about one being better than the other. However, the fact that all are grown in different regions, continents and soil, must affect or impact the taste of the wine produced.
Therefore, given that “wine is magic and not necessarily rational”, as they say in France, “Colours and flavours are not debatable”. Jack has no doubt that bringing French wine here would provide another artistic drinking experience for those who drink it.
He welcomed the opportunity to give this part of France, apart from its “strong business” foundation, here, for the benefit of all.