An ambassador often denotes a representative and Pearl Oliver is just that, becoming a household name in the hospitality and wine industry through her promotion of good wines.
She is currently the head Sommelier at Myoga and in 2009 was awarded Best Wine Steward/Sommelier in the prestigious 2009 Diners Club International Winelist of the Year competition.
Myoga itself is a haven for both food and wine. Its 7 course tasting menu (consisting of a record 40 choices) is paired expertly with wines and Pearl herself is in the important position, and a broad one at that, of assuring that each patron is brought into the world of wine in a unique and personal way.
So who is this envoy of wine? Meet the lady promoting wine in the hospitality industry.
Where did your passion for wine begin?
It all began 11 years ago when I was handed my first glass of wine (Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc on my first dinner shift at Catherina's). This love was nurtured by many incredible people whom I believe were strategically placed alongside me on this path.
Tell us about your role at Myoga
I believe I am in an awesome position, where, firstly, my main objective is to serve and ensure that every guest who walks through those doors is happy and will want to return. With this being said, it is a task which can only be completed with the amazing team that we have, every single person on our service team makes that part of my job so easy. Then there is the control of beverage cost where I have my awesome beverage manager Luke Lambert behind me (keeping my expenses under control, like men do). The finding and buying of wines for our wine list, the wine pairing of our famous 7 course tasting menu and of course staff training.
How would you like to see the SA wine industry progress?
I would really like to see us progress in the development of the export of our wine as I meet many guests from abroad who tell me that they don't get as many great wines available to them. It would be great if we could start pioneering a spirit and ability to change in the industry too.
I'd also like to see us creating an awareness of key positions in the industry to the youth of today so that they can take over when it's time for the previous generation to hand over responsibility - we have to keep things on track.
If you weren’t immersed in wine, what do you think you would be doing?
I might either have been in the medical field helping people or on the stage entertaining. I also feel that the industry chose me as this is not something that I would have chosen on my own.
As a woman in wine, do you think it’s an easy industry to get into/be in?
I think it's possible if you put your mind to it. I won't say it's easy because we all have our own little "issues" we struggle with or face in life.