Our South Meets South Wine Dinner on Thursday evening, May 30 is inspired by the rich cultural history of South African flavors found in Southern cuisine. We have found that besides the food, beautiful South African wines complement Southern cuisine.

We are pleased to curate premium South African wines perfectly matched with the culinary genius of Sarah Clark and Jayme Richberg of Bay Gourmet Catering in Mobile. Those in attendance will meet Suzaan Laing, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, and founder of South to South Wine Importers based in New Orleans. 

Suzaan is an attorney specializing in trademark law. She has worked with many companies and businesses domiciled in South Africa including many in the wine industry. Over the years, she became close to the wine producers who primarily exported their wines to the United Kingdom and Europe. 

A while back, Suzaan decided to take a sabbatical from the legal profession and visit America. She immediately fell in love with the South. So much so, that she decided to earn her Masters in Law at Tulane University. Soon, she purchased a home in New Orleans and split her time practicing trademark law in South Africa and the United States. Eventually, she gained dual citizenship. 

Over the years, her legal work within the South African wine industry grew. She hosted a 2-Day seminar for the wine industry. “By this time, I’ve known these people all my life. We discussed the challenges and opportunities at the seminar and I learned there was a growing frustration among the wine producers regarding the promotion and distribution of premium South African wines in the United States.”

In 2020, Suzaan returned to New Orleans to attend Mardi Gras. The pandemic changed her plans. South Africa closed its borders, and she couldn’t return. “The border was closed for over a year. South Africans could hardly leave their homes. People couldn’t buy alcohol and wine couldn’t be exported. My friends in the wine industry were hurting.”

Suzaan tells me during this prolonged period, she decided to begin the process of becoming a wine importer, bringing select, small productions of excellent South African wines to the U.S. 

“There were plenty of challenges along the way, but we persevered. Wine is a highly competitive market, and Americans are privileged consumers. It can be difficult to change their minds about trying new things, especially wine. 

I have known all my life how important relationships are, particularly in the South. The old saying, “It’s not what you know that’s important, it’s who you know,” is certainly true. I’ve enjoyed making new relationships with  distribution partners including Seth and Ree at Absintheminded Enterprises in Alabama.”

Today, South to South Wine Importers sells South African wines to a large part of the Central Gulf Coast including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.  “I’m excited to be able to be part of the South Meets South wine dinner, meet new people, and introduce our selection of South African wines. With the wonderful menu Sarah and Jayme have created, it should be a fun, entertaining night.”

Scenic 98 Coastal is excited to welcome Suzaan to Mobile for its inaugural Sip Into Summer Splash Wine Dinner Series. I look forward to learning more about the wines she has selected for the evening, and the stories behind each one. It’s not too late to join the fun! 

Thanks, Suzaan!

May 29, 2024
Epicurean Delights

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