WSET recently had the privilege of speaking to the Kenyan Wine Tasting team, who made history in October as the first-ever all-female team to compete at the World Blind Wine Tasting Championships.
We caught up with Soraiya Ladak, Melissa Mwende, Beverly Mbaika and Adero J Achola to find out how they got into wine, how they prepared for the competition and the challenges they overcame along the way.
All five of these superstar competitors have taken the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines. Hear how their qualifications helped them in their journey.
What is The World Blind Wine Tasting Championship?
Founded by the wine magazine La Revue de Vin de France in 2013, this championship sees teams from all over the world competing in a blind wine-tasting challenge. 12 wines are tasted, and competitors need to analyse each wine in detail - region, grape, vintage, producer - to earn points. The team with the most points wins!
Soraiya Ladak, Joy Adero Ochola, Beverly Mbaika, Victoria Mulu-Munywoki, and Melissa Mwende at the World Blind Wine Tasting Championship 2022
This year the Championship took place in Ayala House, Champagne and 31 teams from across the world vying for that top spot. Team Kenya took 26th place and made history as the first all-female team to ever compete.
While speaking about the main challenges in her journey, Melissa Mwende commented:
“The biggest challenge so far has been people really undermining my talents and undermining my abilities as a sommelier just because I am young, I am African, and I am not your typical sommelier. That has made it a bit difficult for me to penetrate and open some doors. But having the WSET qualification, plus the pin and the certification, really helps to open these doors.”
WSET was proud to be among the sponsors for team Kenya’s incredible journey this summer and is excited to hear about what comes next for the group.
WSET also attended the London charity premiere of the documentary film: Blind Ambition. It follows the story of four Zimbabwean refugees who become sommeliers and prepare to compete in the World Wine Tasting Championship. Read more here.
- Blind Ambition film: A story of dreams and perseverance
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- On American Sign Language and wine, WSET interviews Peter Cook and Laura Brown Unterstein