Highlands Bliss to hit market

Highlands Bliss to hit market

ROMA – THE wine tested at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) dubbed Highlands Bliss is ready to hit the markets.
Developed by Sefatsa Khabo and examined by NUL’s Dr Mosotho George and his assistant, Tšooana Ntlatlapa, this wine will surely leave you in seventh heaven.
When Khabo entered the premises of the NUL, the passion in his heart shone in his eyes.

He had just found a treasure he was willing to pursue to the very end.  And he wanted to find if NUL was willing to assist.
It started in an unlikely location.

One day, whilst driving along some road in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Khabo was persuaded by his friend to go past a winery nearby to enjoy wine tasting.
It was not a bad idea after all.  He had always loved wine.
Needless to say, he agreed. But something was hiding from his view.

He did not know that the moment would be a game-changer, not only in his life.
It would also be a game-changer in the lives of many people in the Mountain Kingdom from those who would produce the wine to those who would enjoy its lasting taste.
“At the winery, my passion was set in permanent motion,” he says.
“My aim quickly changed from tasting the wine to learning how it was made.”
That was a stroke of genius.

At that very moment, this Newtonian observation took over: “If I have seen further than others, it was by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
He was about to learn from the best, the giants.

Goodness! When it comes to how Lesotho can move its economy forward, the path has never been clearer.
Lesotho is already within the belly of Africa’s most industrialised country. All it has to do is to take the “open” secrets in South Africa and implement them.
That is what Khabo did.

“I was shocked to see striking similarities between the process they used for making wine, and the process we use here at home to make our home-brewed beer,” he says.
Many of you will recall Hopose, Sesotho, Thinya-u-fafohe and so on.
“But there were differences,” he says.

And those differences, “made a difference.”  At the winery they were carefully controlling certain parameters, chief of which were temperature and time, the things we normally take for granted in our brewing. He came back home, determined to test the idea.
He experimented with all kinds of fruits to make the wine.

By the way folks, we know the purists among you will argue that wine can only come from grapes.
But we who are not much of purists know that there is such a thing as a fruit wine.
“I experimented with grapes, apples and oranges,” says Khabo. “In the end, I settled for apples. And so my wine is an apple wine.”

Of course the purists are already protesting, “there is no such thing as apple wine, that is called cider!”
You are half right, but cider can also be a ‘wine made from apples’ comrades (that is so, of course, in a layman’s world).
He settled for apples, not grapes because technically, grape wine depends on a number of processing materials which he did not have and which would be expensive to buy.
Again, like Isaac Newton, he had to “stand on the shoulders of giants” to make meaningful progress.
So he approached the NUL.

“I met Dr Mosotho who enlisted a Chemical Technology graduate, Mrs Tšoana Ntlatlapa, to examine the wine.”
“For almost two months, we were holed up in the NUL’s chemistry labs, examining such things as the Wine Acidity, PH, Alcohol and Sugar Content and how these parameters were influenced by processing conditions.”
He said he learned a lot from NUL.

“When I approached the university, I only had a wine-making recipe, nothing else. “But therein I learned the art of pasteurization to terminate fermentation. I learned how to control alcohol content of a final product such that it was always where I wanted it to be using a material balance based model. I even learned to use the right methods to test alcohol content.”
Towards the end of last year, Highlands Bliss was officially launched at his home in Seshota, Leribe.

Khabo, who is supported by his parents’ meager resources, says he was just waiting for a license now.  “That is the only thing I am waiting for and once I get it, my wine will hit Lesotho’s market shelves.”

Own Correspondent

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