When Sybil Doms’ aunt sent her six bottles of wine and asked her to suggest a few canapés to pair them with, it set the ball rolling for Come Wine With Us (CWWU), which is fast becoming one of South Africa’s ultimate foodie experiences. After putting together a menu suggestion, Sybil invited a few friends around to sample her pairings, marking the debut CWWU event – albeit an informal one. Turns out the timing was perfect.
Five years ago Sybil gave up her freelance work, but despised the permanent retail position she had taken and was desperate to get back into the food and wine business. With a childhood in the Robertson winelands, her passion for food and wine started early. ‘I have such an emotional connection to food and wine. I grew up with it. Many of my friends are wine farmers and the culture around wine and food has never left me. It was something that was normal for me and since I was very young, I’ve wanted to pass this experience on to others,’ she explains.
More than just a casual wine- and food-loving community, Come Wine With Us brings together the country’s top wine estates, restaurants and patrons. We were lucky enough to attend a recent event at Vista Marina restaurant at the V&A Waterfront, where we enjoyed a magnificent selection of food and wines sponsored by Durbanville Hills Winery. What stood out was the sense of kinship between regular guests and newcomers, largely due to Sybil’s decision to keep the events small in scale.
Durbanville Hills Winery launched their new Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, which was served on arrival, paired with harissa-spiced potato-wrapped prawns and a gooseberry relish. The rest of the menu was just as tantalising. Marinated rump espetada was the main course, preceded by a starter of buffalo mozzarella, confit tomatoes and basil pesto crumble and, as the sweet climax, there was mango and orange panna cotta with coconut tuiles and white-chocolate star anise sauce – all paired to perfection with a range of Durbanville Hills’ finest wines.
Going forward, Sybil’s aim is to make CWWU a ‘proudly South African community’ with real reach. ‘South African wines definitely don’t have enough exposure overseas; our local wines are fighting for shelf space, as Italian, French and Spanish wines dominate the overseas market. I want to create an emotional experience for overseas wine lovers to fall in love with South African wine and ultimately, to explore the South African wine regions and boost local tourism,’ she says. Sybil’s events are fun and unpretentious, and her immense dedication is already taking local wine to the next level. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
Visit comewinewithus.co.za for more information.