Wine fest back with a bang

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Lesotho Wine Festival founder Paulo de Freitas

By Neo Kolane

The 9th edition of the most anticipated lifestyle and exclusive networking event, the Lesotho Wine Festival, is promising more varieties of wine producers this year at Maseru Club on October 15.

Launched in 2012, the annual wine festival is Lesotho’s premium lifestyle event; the vision behind it is manifold.

It provides a platform for producers in the liquor industry to showcase their talent and educate consumers.

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In an interview with theReporter this week, the founder of Lesotho Wine Festival Paulo de Freitas explained that over the years, the festival has built quite a reputation with several wine producers as the go-to people when they want to bring their product to Lesotho.

De Freitas said a market was identified, that there was a serious passion for wines in Lesotho and this kind of came about as a means of putting the market and wine producers in the same space and allowing for their education and passion to grow within the wine culture in Lesotho.

De Freitas, who started the first event with a group of friends in the wine industry, took it just as an opportunity to visit Lesotho; he explained that the family liquor store Station Off-Sales commonly known as Ha Frank always carries a hype around wine and spirits and its appeal goes beyond the borders to Central South Africa.

“We are considered maybe the most looked-up-to wine shops in terms of international wines, the variety of wines and small boutique producers.

“My shop might be small but we create a variety of experiences and a good mixture of not only South African producers but a lot of international wines as well,” De Freitas said.

Deeply passionate about good wine, De Freitas said the wine show is basically him showcasing a lot of wine producers and relationships he built throughout the years.

He affirmed that the event grew from spirit to spirit, from trying out various different venues in Lesotho looking for the best next option.

He explained that for this year’s edition, following a two-year break, he is bringing a massive frame marquee.

 “We will be offering up to 160 wines on show with about 40 producers of wines and a variety of different gin bars.

“We are partnering with Mohope Craft Beer as our official beer partner for the event.

“We will take the opportunity to educate people about the only wine farm in Lesotho, Sani Wines which is situated at Nazareth.

“This will be an opportunity for people to come taste our wines and meet the producers and hear their stories,” De Freitas said.

In regards to the corporate hosting, the passionate networker enthused that this is going to be an ‘awesome’ networking opportunity as it is a limited event.

He stated that no tickets will be sold at the gate, because they are moving with the times and selling them online.

He added that they want people to go online looking at the type of clients they want to attract.

FNB is the main sponsor for the event and De Freitas thanked the bank for allowing them to bring more wines.

People will be travelling from as far as Angola, Zambia, South Africa to attend the event.

“Wine festival would not exists without Ha Frank,” De Freitas boasted.