CHALLENGE: Job Jovo, a Sommelier at the President Hotel in Bantry Bay. Pictures: Megan Baadjies
When Zimbabwean-born Job Jovo left his country in search of a job, he never thought he’d make waves in the wine industry.

Over a period of six years the 36-year-old went from working as a waiter in a small town to become the first sommelier at The President Hotel in Bantry Bay.

Job, who has an honours degree in economics, moved to Riebeek Kasteel when he could not find a job in Zimbabwe.

Little did he know that moving to Riebeek Kasteel would send his life in a direction he had never dreamed of.

“After studying economics in Zimbabwe, I never worked in Zim, so I came down to the Cape and found myself in Riebeek Kasteel, where I lived with my cousin. This is where my journey began,” says Job

“Imagine coming from a business background and ending up in a small town surrounded by vineyards and very little of anything else. It was all very weird because there was nothing for me in this little town in terms of my qualification, but destiny will always control the air.

“I never thought I would find myself in the wine industry,” says Job, who started working

as a waiter at radio personality Allan Barnard’s restaurant in Riebeek Kasteel, after which he worked at the Royal Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the country.

It was this move that would change the direction of Job’s life.

“As a waiter I met different people, then I moved to the Royal Hotel, where I was introduced to the world of wine,” he says.

“We were hosting the Olive Festival in and also the Swartland Revolution Wine Festival, being associated with successful winemakers and industry leaders, they all told me I don’t have to work as a waiter forever.

“They said ‘do you know you can actually have a career in food and wine?’ and I didn’t know you can have a career as a sommelier. I worked with the likes of Eben Sadie from Sadie Family Wines and Chris Mullineux from Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, one of the coolest wine makers I ever worked with,” says Job.

In 2013, Job took the first step towards becoming a professional in the wine industry and enrolled at the Cape Wine Academy.

“One I started getting involved on a more professional level, I started appreciating wine and realised there is actually more to wine than I thought and what you see in the bottle,” he says. “Coming from Zim, a beer and spirits country, I was blank and I knew nothing, but being associated with (other) winemakers played a very important role in the turnaround of my way of thinking towards beverages.

“After I took my first steps into studying wine, I started appreciating every style of wine. I became very passionate and very hungry to learn more about wine and enrolled with the Wines & Spirit Education Trust, governed by the International Wines Education Centre based in London and acquired my WEST level 3 in 2015,” says Job.

In 2015, Job became a member of the South African Sommelier Association, where he was trained by experienced sommeliers like Higgo Jacobs and Joakim Hansi Blackadder.

In early 2015, Job left Riebeek Kasteel and joined the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl and last September joined the President Hotel.

“I feel honoured because they never have a sommelier. I have to build a legacy, but that is my hard work (paying off). There is a different clientele and it has a lot of energy, I think it’s one of the busiest places I worked. It’s challenging, but exciting,” he says.

Job jokingly admits he had not heard about the President Hotel until shortly before he started working there.“I love the energy of the hotel and I look forward to contributing to the development of the wine culture, especially with their newly launched wine journey,” he says.

“In the wine industry you need to change your way of thinking. It must be more than just a career, it must be a way of life. You must be passionate about the world of wine and you need to learn something different every day.”

Job’s focus will be on the new wine list, the cocktails and the new artisanal gin collection.

The new wine list includes more than 14 wine farms, including Buitenverwachting, Leopard’s Leap, De Grendel, Rickety Bridge, Blaauwklippen and more.