KampalaLite’s Connoisseurs Festival: An affair of fine wine, food & classical music

By Martyn Tumwesigye

March 4, 2014

KampalaLite's Connoisseurs Festival March 2014The second KampalaLite’s Connoisseurs Festival that took place at the Sheraton gardens on 2nd March 2014 is an annual celebration of classical music, fine wine and food. The well-organized festival is a fundraiser for the Kampala Music School to promote Ugandan musicians who play instruments. It was a great uncommon experience for both families and “oenophiles” or connoisseurs of wine. One of the major highlights of the evening was fine wine tasting. Wikipedia describes a connoisseur as a person who is an expert judge in matters of taste.

Although some of the people who attended the festival would not have gone as far to say they were connoisseurs, the event provided baby steps for that to happen. An affordable gate fee of 25,000 UGX came with a souvenir wine tasting glass for the event. And for those that attended the event and were of drinking age like yours truly, the “adventure” started.

Unless you have been drinking wine for a few years and thus are very knowledgeable in the art, then you just like the rest of us need to know a few general rules in wine tasting using wine glasses:

–         Look: Examine the wine’s color and clarity.
–         Smell: Before you sniff, swirl the glass to get the aromas released.
–         Taste: Taste the impact of the components of wine, sugar, tannin, acid and alcohol on the palate.
–         Swallow or spit: After having gathered your information, sweetness, bitterness, aroma etc.
–         Assessment: Try to remember and not your overall impression for future use.

My first pit stop was at the 49 Cheese & Wine stall. Having only been familiar with Italian wines, I didn’t know any of the wines on display so my guess was that I’d ask for their best dry white wine. One of the model looking women behind the stall quickly pointed to one bottle. She poured me a “chardonnay” that was a red wine masquerading as a white wine which I learnt was a perfect match for steak. While tasting the Mozzarella cheese on offer, I bumped into Charlie one of the proprietors of 49 Cheese & Wine. 49 Cheese & Wine is located on Plot 49, Luthuli Avenue, Bugolobi. (+256 (0) 759 499 463

“Last year the event was marred by rain so the event wasn’t as well attended like this one. Today it’s a bright Sunday afternoon and everyone is out” Charlie said.  

The second stop was at the Karuka Agencies stall. For the guys that attended, you have to agree that this stall could have easily taken the cup for most ravishing attendants. The attendants who all wore big smiles on their faces were quick to run you through all their wines and informed us that they are the distributors of Robertson Wine. It was at this stall that I tasted “pot” a “Red Muscadel” sweet wine that has a fine taste and smooth feel on the palate and is probably most recommended for the women. Karuka Agencies are on Plot 13, Cooper Road, Kisementi. (+256 (0) 774 600 805)

Up next was The Wine Garage stall which was also in the vying for most ravishing ladies as attendants. Here Ms. Alicia recommended I taste Laborie Sauvignon Blanc a dry white wine from South Africa. It did live up to its repute and I asked for another glass. Amidst tasting grapes and the Sauvignon Blanc, Alicia told me that a bottle cost 50,000 UGX at their stores that are located in Muyenga TankHill and Shumuk House. Plot 2, Colville House. (+256 (0) 759 954 700)

My last stop was at the Ambar international stall. This stall wasn’t in the vying for the most ravishing women as attendants though. Why? You see all the attendants at the Ambar stall were men. Probably a needed change for the women at the event I presume. I inquired about “their best dry white wine”. Mr. Sileshi Tsegaye the proprietor was quick to rubbish my request and informed me that there’s no such thing as “the best wine” but rather the taste of wine depends on ones palate and the occasion plus food its being served with. Ambar International Co. is on Plot 262, Kibuli Road, Old Kampala. (+256 (0) 772 732 742)

It was about time to slope down to the gardens where everyone was now seated on the grass and others on their rugs for the next highlight of the festival: Classical music.
Francis of Sauti Ya Afrika at the festival
It was clearly evident that the Kampala Symphony Orchestra, Sauti ya Afrika and the KMS Jazz Group all under the Kampala Music School were entertaining the crowd. The highlight of the evening came as courtesy of the immensely talented pianist Miss Carmela Sinco from New York who was a guest performer at the event and she performed two pieces: Boda Boda and Rubaga Rain. Her pieces were captivating. You could feel her energy and passion as she played which was visibly clear as even little kids pulled out their parents smart phones to record the moment.

The other highlight of the evening came as courtesy of Sauti ya Afrika members Charles, George, Ben, Francis and the Kampala Symphony Orchestra who put an awesome performance of a piece titled: Nela Fantasia.

Around 6PM the festival came to an end but the families and people who attended were in no mood to leave so early. A point to note for the organizers that perhaps the event should go up to 8PM next time. The third Kampala-Lite’s Connoisseurs festival will be held at the Sheraton gardens on the 3rd August, 2014. Mark your calendars!

Overall the second Kampala-Lite’s Connoisseurs Festival was an afternoon well worth spent learning the art of wine tasting supplemented by classical music and a fun event for the family.

For more information and updates about the next event, please visit their website:
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Office Tel: +256 (0) 414 233 215
Mobile: +256 (0) 773 327 414
Location: Plot 18, Kitante Close (Off Yusuf Lule Road)

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1 Reviews

  1. Fiona Tamale says:

    This is a fantastic piece, thank you Pearl Guide for such a refreshing story angle. Well done!

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