Photo Credit: Photo credit: Isithadile Matshoba
Woman-owned Wine Tasting Educates Travelers in South Africa
Making the world of wine accessible to the Black community is no small feat. Tuanni Price, the force behind Zuri Wine Tasting, is on a mission to do that. Her woman-owned wine tasting business is a testament to her passion for wine and desire to share that joy within the community. Price’s journey led her from the corporate offices of Southern California to the stunning landscapes of South Africa.
For Price, becoming a respected figure in Cape Town’s wine tasting scene began with a simple desire. She wanted to explore the world. She’d visited regions for their wine, like France, Italy and Spain, but yearned to experience Africa. The decision to move to Cape Town was influenced by the inexplicable feeling of belonging after setting foot on African soil.
“My initial plan was always to travel to all seven continents. The idea of moving abroad was already on my mind. I visited Barcelona, which was amazing. It felt like I could live there,” she shared. “However, I knew that I couldn’t make that decision without traveling to Africa first.”
As fate would have it, Cape Town called to her soul, like nowhere else.
Finding a New Home
In 2017, she was living in Southern California and working as a Director of Accounting for a tech company. She operated her wine business part-time, but wanted to experience more adventures abroad. One day, she decided to share her desire to spend more time in Africa with her manager and request extended time off.
“That day, I was shocked to learn I had been laid off,” Price said. “The unexpected silver lining was that I got a generous severance package and a year of healthcare to help the company transition my role to others. They even agreed to remote work so I could continue traveling to Africa. It was my ideal scenario.”
By the first week of March, Price was in Cape Town on a four-month stay. By the summer of 2018, she returned to the US to finalize her affairs and officially moved to South Africa in December. Her original business model involved traveling between locations every six months. The global pandemic prompted a life-changing decision. Opting to remain in Cape Town, she adapted to the new normal by using virtual teaching.
Building Community Through Wine
Transitioning from a steady 9-to-5 paycheck to entrepreneurship wasn’t without its challenges. Price’s passion for wine and commitment to her vision made the journey worthwhile. This Black woman-owned wine-tasting brand thrives on word of mouth, a testament to the authenticity and impact of her wine experiences.
“Living in Cape Town was a positive culture shock for me,” she explained. “I found a vibrant sense of community in a city that welcomed me like a small town. I realized the power of being open to new experiences and how something as simple as sharing a glass of wine can change your life.”
Influenced by her Californian roots, her perspective as a Black woman has brought a bolder and more inclusive approach to her business and the community.
Championing Black-owned Excellence in South Africa
Price’s dedication to supporting Black-owned wine farms and winemakers in South Africa sets her apart as a true advocate in the industry. She hesitated to silo her business as a champion for only Black people in the wine industry, but she came to realize the importance of uplifting marginalized voices in homogenous spaces. Her efforts have increased exposure for these businesses and sparked a broader conversation about diversity in the wine industry.
Price actively involves other Black sommeliers and wine educators to shift the narrative in predominantly elitist spaces. She wants to ensure more seats are claimed at tables to Black people. Her commitment extends beyond her business to the local community and travelers from all over the world. Zuri Wine Tasting offers private tastings, wine blending classes, wine farm tours and wine-related events for corporate and non-profit clients.
Education is Empowerment
One of Price’s wine-focused initiatives is the seven day wine education retreat, called Wine Week South Africa or WWSA. The innovative program offers participants a chance to explore the intricacies of South Africa’s unique wine culture. Price’s expertise as a sommelier supports her advocacy for Black-owned wine-tasting businesses, farms and winemakers.
“We have interactive classes, hands-on grape picking and cellar work, and visits to local vineyards throughout the retreat,” Price said. “I want to educate and showcase the rich cultural tapestry of South African wine. I dive into stories that shape our culture so travelers gain a deeper appreciation for it.”