Category: What’s New

Swirl, sip and spit for National Sea Rescue

Don’t miss out on one of the most successful and fun wine auctions the Western Cape has to offer. Stock up with your favourite wines at this year’s Rotary Clubs of Newlands and Table Bay’s annual wine auction, which has been confirmed to take place on Thursday, 02 October 2014 at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town from 19:00 – 21:00. All the funds raised from the auction will be donated to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) who will use the funds to complete their Yzerfontein station.

In its 19th year, NSRI in collaboration with the Rotary Clubs of Newlands and Table Bay in Cape Town are looking forward to another successful wine auction, and hope to raise a whopping R 500 000.00!

Richard Burnett, Rotarian and wine merchant, has this to say:

We have wonderful wines such as Kanonkop and Warwick that will be on auction. Last year we had just over 150 vineyards that participated from the Constantia, Wellington, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Swartland and Robertson regions; this year we are hoping to select from at least 200 on our list.


About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.


Tables of eight costs R3 800, which includes a three course gourmet dinner, wines on the table, welcome drinks and two entries into the raffle prize draw, per ticket.

If any vineyards would like to participate, contact:

Jan Kaars-Sijpesteijn on

 Richard Burnett on

For more information about booking a table of eight or confirming your seat at the glamorous function, contact:

Krista at

Coralie at

NSRI at 021 434 4011.

For any media queries, please contact:

Regine le Roux on / 083 302 1528.


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Wine & Poker, not the odd couple it used to be

When columnist, author, and hotshot poker player Victoria Coren Mitchell made headlines this week by becoming the first two-time winner of the European Poker Tour, it wasn’t just because she was a woman. Somewhat of a big deal was made out of the fact that while she was busy racking up her £391,392 cash purse, she also consumed a heavy amount of red wine.


Afterwards, when she was asked about her execution, the outspoken Londoner said, “Well, obviously if I’d expected to answer that question, I’d have drunk less wine today. I barely remember my own name.” To be fair, the tournament was held along the Italian Riviera, which, for those who visit the coastal getaway, is a utopian stretch of oeneology and viticulture. Who could blame Coren Mitchell for drinking as many celebratory glasses of wine as she needs to while she’s making history at the poker tables? What a perfect way to celebrate.

Wine & Poker pair well.

Wine & Poker pair well.


Wine has always had a strange, almost non-existent relationship with the game of poker. In the U.S., a business owner named Geno Foschi tried to sell a portion of his fine wine collection so that he can enter a high-stakes poker tournament. “The wine for sale includes 13 bottles of Château Margaux 1984, five bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild 1984 and six bottles of Château Margaux 1982,” Andy Young wrote. In 2012, a well-known US poker player named Joe Sebok left the gambling world to work at a grape-crushing facility in Santa Rosa, California. “People who love poker really love poker, and people who love wine really love wine,” said Sebok. “There’s something to be said for strong opinions and the passion that drives them.”


Yes, there is something to be said for the wine/poker comparison. Perhaps this is why a French company has created the card game, Wine Poker. This three-to-ten player game requires each player to have one or two bottles of French wine, poker chips, and a sock (or aluminum foil) to hide the wine label. The object of the game is for each player to taste the wine and guess which French region each bottle comes from. If you must play this game, I suggest you bring a couple of bottles of Chateau Les Traverses 2006 from the Medoc, which I also recommended a while back.


In April 2013, the World Poker Tour made its way back to Johannesburg, South Africa for the Emperors Palace Poker Tour. WPT’s blog lists a winery tour as one of the few “excursions” that the hotel/casino has to offer. I wonder which winery these guests will have the opportunities to visit. Will it be one of my favorites, Spice Route? Or will they get the chance to take the whole trip through the Constantia Valley. I would wish them luck in finding the their favorites, but most of them will probably need that luck more for the poker games.

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Grootbos Nature Reserve’s Month Long Valentine Special

I’ve just become aware that this 5 star private nature reserve at the southern tip of Africa exists. And that it is only a two hour drive from Cape Town.

Because Grootbos is offering a fantastically discounted package from 1 February 2013 until 28th February there is no need to celebrate Valentine’s

The bedroom and lounge of the private suite in Forest Lodge, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

The bedroom and lounge of the private suite in Forest Lodge, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Day only, just like everyone else but rather decide when your schedule gives you the most flexibility and relax into a few glorious days amongst the floral and marine diversity that is the Southern Cape.

So what is on offer?

  • Stay in your own free-standing luxury suite which has a romantic canopy bed, spacious en-suite bathroom, separate lounge with fire place and mini bar as well as a wooden deck with fantastic views across mountain and sea.

    Forest Lodge Boma.

    Forest Lodge Boma.

  • All meals are included which are produced using ingredients produced by Grootbos’ own Growing The Future social upliftment program. Award winning wines from local cellars are served with seafood from Walker Bay and any dietary preferences will be taken into consideration.
  • Beach picnics on any of a selection of spectacular beaches and interactive coastal meanders with a guide are on offer.
  • There is horse riding too, led by guides and ranging from a quick outing to an extended trail where the unique flowers and birds of the Southern
    Private deck of a Forest Lodge Suite.

    Private deck of a Forest Lodge Suite.

    Cape Coast can be enjoyed.

  • What about a 4 x 4 flower safari to experience a floral kingdom which boasts more than three times the floral species of the Amazon Jungle?
  • Trail walking is available, either guided or self-guided through ancient Milkwood forests or fynbos clad mountains and these suit every level of fitness and interest.
  • Spa treatments such as reflexology and full body massage are offered at 50% of the usual price and these can be enjoyed in the privacy of your suite or in the forest.

All of this is available at only R2,100 per person sharing for the month of February.

Personally I can’t wait to go there with my significant other and let you know about my experiences!



Directions to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Directions to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.

Contact details: 

Tel:  +27 28 384 8000
Fax: +27 28 384 8042

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The Swartland Royal Hotel Wine & Dine Evening with Boekenhoutskloof

On the 25th May, The Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel is hosting a Gourmet Food and Wine Evening in collaboration with Boekenhoutskloof, proclaimed Winery of the Year 2012 by the Platter’s South African Wine Guide.

The Royal Hotel, Riebeek Kasteel

The Royal Hotel, Riebeek Kasteel

The Royal Hotel has been a landmark in the Riebeek Valley since 1862 and current owners, Robert and Caminda Brendel are proudly celebrating the 150th anniversary of the hotel this year.

The event will consist of canapes, 3 courses and five exquisite wines.

Mini Prawn & Asparagus Springrolls with Soy Dip
Lemon Pickled Cucumber & Pepper Noodles
Pea Soup Cappuccino with Parma Ham
- Wolftrap White


Salmon Three Ways
Salmon Poached in Lemon & Ginger Butter (sous-vide)
Citrus Cured Gravlax with Mango Pesto
Seared Salmon in Sesame Oil with Pear Puree
- Boekenhoutskloof Semillon


Clouds of Wolftrap Red & Rose Sorbet


Pan Fried Beef with Anchovie & Mushroom Ravioli, Peppered Butternut Puree, Port Jus
- Porcupine Ridge Syrah
- Boekenhoutskloof Syrah


Petit Tart of Port Poached Beetroot with Chilli Spiced Berry Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream
- The Chocolate Block
- Boekenhoutskloof Noble Late Harvest

Price: R295.00 per person Gourmet Food & Wine event

R795.00 per person sharing accommodation, breakfast plus Gourmet Food & Wine event.

Book your place at the communal dining table by phoning 022-4481378 or emailing

Full pre-payment required. Accommodation package dependant on availability.

Slow food, wine & design celebrated at quality fair

From 25th – 27th November, South Africa’s finest artisans will showcase their talent for the second year at Hyde Park Corner rooftop, at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park.

Food, Wine & Design Fair, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

Talented local food artisans, winemakers and designers – handpicked to include only the best in South African products – will gather on the roof of the Hyde Park Corner from 25 to 27 November for the second annual FoodWineDesign Fair presented by Sanlam Investment Management (SIM). Guests of the boutique outdoor market will be treated to a feast of quality and originality under the Jozi summer sky.

Ross Douglas, director of Artlogic, says the fair gives a nod to the much loved ‘farmers market’ culture in South Africa.

FoodWineDesign is unique because all participants are hand-picked to take part in the fair to ensure exhibitors of the highest quality are represented over the weekend. This year, there will be more food and wine exhibitors and we encourage visitors to make a day of the fair and sample the offerings available.

Douglas says tent structures, theatre lighting, specially designed and manufactured dining and selling areas and larger than life landscaping will greet visitors.

Food Wine Design Fair

Food Wine Design Fair

Standout exhibitors include wineland favourites, Kleinood wines and olive oil, Rickety Bridge and Vrede en Lust wine estates. We Love Real Beer will offer fine ale for those who prefer a beer, and food lovers should look out for popular Karoo based cooking school, African Relish, as well as Hijke Cheese and Honest Chocolate.

Those visiting the fair with an interest in design will not be disappointed as the lineup includes the likes of Koop Design, Shaw Sisters and Missibaba.

Sponsors SIM were drawn to the fair because it is a true celebration of the pioneering spirit of South Africa’s entrepreneurs.  Candice Paine, Head of Retail at SIM, says

Artlogic’s ability to find unique and exceptional talent, particularly at grass roots level, is a great fit for SIM. Our approach to investing is to identify businesses with masses of potential – be they small or large – and support their growth over the long term. We are truly excited about the prospects within the small business space in our country.

The 5000 square meter roof-surface at Hyde Park will host the country’s top producers and will feature a seated dining area.

Operating Hours:

  • Friday, 25 November:                13h00 – 22h00
  • Saturday, 26 November:            10h00 – 22h00
  • Sunday, 27 November:              10h00 – 17h00


Ticket price: R80.00 per person (children under 12 get in for free), tickets available at the door and at Hyde Park Corner a week prior to the event.

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La Motte of Franschhoek has been voted the South African winner of the Great Wine Capitals (GWC) Best Of Wine Tourism Awards for 2012. The announcement was made today (October 27) in Mainz, Germany at a gala dinner attended by leading wine tourism practitioners from around the world.

The event was hosted by the GWC, a network of the world’s leading wine-producing countries that shares international best practice in the name of advancing standards in wine tourism across the world.

La Motte, with a history dating back over three centuries, was declared the winner in the Arts and Culture category for its impressive art museum that houses the Rupert family’s extensive collection of artworks by 20th century South African master Pierneef and other artists. However, what clinched the overall win for the winery was its consistently high performance across other categories it had also entered.

La Motte Museum

As the Best of Wine Tourism title holder for 2012, La Motte joins such iconic names in wine, such as Spain’s Bodegas Campo Viejo of Rioja, acclaimed for its wine and architecture; the famous 13th century Château d´Agassac of Bordeaux in France; the 900 year-old Dievole of Florence, Italy; Vinothek Bingen am Rhein in Germany that serves as a special visitor centre at the gateway to the Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Quinta do Portal, representing four estates in the Douro, Portugal; the lofty Bodega Atamisque, 1 300 metres above sea level at the entrance to the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina; luxury resort, Meadowood of California’s Napa Valley, which boasts a three-star Michelin restaurant; and specialty boutique guides, Appellation Central Wine Tours of Christchurch, New Zealand.


GWC’s members, in addition to Cape Town-Cape Winelands, include Mainz-Rheinhessen (Germany), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco-Napa (United States) and New Zealand’s Christchurch.


Coming a very close second in South Africa was Biodiversity & Wine (BWI) champion Waterkloof of Stellenbosch that won in the Architecture and Landscapes category but also scored highly across a number of other categories.


Other regional winners were Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, situated on Helshoogte Pass near Stellenbosch, for offering the best accommodation for the second consecutive year; Waverley Hills, between Tulbagh and Wolseley (Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices, also for the second consecutive year); Tokara of Stellenbosch (Wine Tourism Restaurant) Solms-Delta of Franschhoek (Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences) and Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch (Wine Tourism Services). Waterford is a previous Wine Tourism Services winner.

Last year’s South African winner was Steenberg Vineyards. Steenberg chose former cleaner, Zelda Petrus, who is now responsible for front-of house cellar door sales, to fly to California to learn more about wine sales and marketing in the famous Napa Valley.  She was hosted by Trinchero Family Vineyards and the San Francisco/Napa Valley chapter.


Speaking on behalf of the Cape Town and Cape Winelands chapter of GWC, André Morgenthal, who is also communications manager for Wines of South Africa (WOSA) confirmed that both the number and quality of this year’s entries had been higher than last year’s.  This was despite the protracted downturn, which could have left producers feeling apathetic. “We are heartened by the growing support for the competition and the confidence and optimism this reflects amongst local wineries about what they have to offer visitors and wine lovers.


“There is an increasing recognition that wine tourism is a powerful tool in deepening the relationships established with consumers and not only on a face-to-face basis.  It adds value, greater meaning and continuity to their engagement with wine lovers, particularly via social media channels.


“Wine lovers thirst for information that tells them what makes each winery unique. It helps them plan their visits and share their experiences with others. They want to understand what sets one producer apart from the next, not only in terms of their wines but also the ethos and lifestyle that lies behind each winery.”


Morgenthal said a recent online analysis conducted by Acceleration Media, showed that South Africa enjoyed a positive online reputation among international internet users. Many of the conversations focused on the country as a tourist destination.


This year’s judges included wine tourism specialist Margi Biggs; lifestyle and wine journalist Joanne Gibson; Joan Isham, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) extension officer; Marilyn Martin, former head of the SA National Art Gallery; architect Alex Robertson; food, wine and lifestyle journalist Myrna Robins; JP Rossouw, food critic and author of the annual Rossouw’s Restaurants guide, and landscaper Johan van Papendorp.

Winners and first and second runners-up in each category were:


1          Delaire

2          Grande Provence

3          Steenberg Hotel


1          Waterkloof

2          La Motte

3          Tokara


1          La Motte

2          Delaire

3          Solms Delta


1          Solms Delta

2          Spier

3          La Motte


1          Waverley Hills

2          La Motte

3          Waterkloof


1          Tokara Restaurant

2          Rust en Vrede

3          Waterkloof


1          Waterford

2          Steenberg Vineyards

3          Grande Provence


Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Tour

Huge thanks to Andre Morgenthal of Wines of South Africa, one of the initiators of The Best of Wine Tourism Tours, for the invitation to join tour operators, bloggers and media representatives on one of the tours. Also to Belinda Lamprecht, Cape Town co-ordinator for the Great Wine Capitals in Cape Town who capably pulled everything together.

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is a network of nine major global cities in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres which share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions. One of the cornerstones of the Networks’ mission is the development of wine tourism across the Network. To promote wine tourism and reward excellence the Network established an international tourism awards program in which wineries can be judged in different categories. These are: Accommodation; Wine Tourism Restaurants; Architects and Landscapes; Art and Culture; Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences; Wine Tourism Services and Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices.

The motivation to offer the Best of Wine Tours (or farm trips) to Best of Wine Tourism Awards entrants was twofold: firstly, to reach a different audience as opposed to traditional media in order to create awareness of the Best of Wine Tourism Awards and Great Wine Capitals.

Secondly, to alert wineries to the existence of this initiative, and to the value and promotional opportunities it offers, not only through possibly winning a category, but also the extended exposure via social media. These WOSA tours are unique to South Africa in the Network context and were met with applause by Cape Town’s counterparts at the CWCGN AGM last year.

Lynne and The Green Cab

Lynne and The Green Cab

The Green Cab Company was the tour transporter, an eco-innovation company which provides South Africa’s first cost-effective, aggressively green transport solution. They do this by utilising Liquified Petroleum Gas and BioDiesel.

Waterkloof Restaurant

Waterkloof Restaurant

Our first visit was to Waterkloof Wines, where the restaurant, tasting lounge and cellar are perched dizzily on the slopes of the Schaapenberg overlooking False Bay. The quality of wines here set an impossibly high standard to copy and were loved by each of us in the tour group. This farm has so much going for it not the least the fact that farming operations are bio-dynamic. I can’t wait to return to Waterkloof.

Panoramic views from Waterkloof restaurant

Panoramic views from Waterkloof restaurant

Hard at work - Jan Langenhoven, Di Procter, Kitty Snyman, Glenda van Blerk and Carla van der Merwe

Hard at work - Jan Langenhoven, Di Procter, Kitty Snyman, Glenda van Blerk and Carla van der Merwe

Vergelegen Estate, Somerset West, welcomed us next in the form of wine host, Arnoux who outshone the other wine presenters of the day by far. He was passionate, engaging, knowledgeable and never in a rush to go and pour wine at the next table. Quite the opposite. He remained our host for our whole visit. Vergelegen offers innovative wine experiences and the “Camellia Inspired Tasting” was presented to us where four wines were thoughtfully paired with four Camellia blossoms. Vergelegen Estate has much to offer the visitor apart from award-winning wines. Things like garden tours, restaurants, picnics, barrel tastings, environmental walks and full moon vineyard walks.

Vergelegen Camellia Tasting

Vergelegen Camellia Tasting

National Monument Camphor Trees

National Monument Camphor Trees

Our next wine tasting was at Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch. What stands out about their wines is that they must have huge appeal for the wine collector who is purchasing wines to lay them down as they clearly need much time in the bottle to reach their full potential. Our wine presenter certainly knew her lines but seemed to lack interest and personal charisma.

Rust en Vrede

Rust en Vrede

When I learned that tour lunch stop would be at Spier’s new organic food restaurant Eight, I was curious and excited. Our group was not disappointed – each dish ordered was delicious and of the highest quality plus Spier Private Collection Chenin Blanc was loved by all. Sitting close to the Eerste River in the beautiful Winter sunshine was such a treat. To get a feel for the light, airy feel of the setting, visit Eight’s Facebook page here. Spier offers many different attractions for visitors of all ages and backgrounds and deserves a place in the GWCGN hall of fame.

Eight at Spier

Eight at Spier

The open kitchen at Eight

The open kitchen at Eight

Gershwin serving our table

Gershwin serving our table

The “dessert” stop was at The House of J C Le Roux for a sparkling wine, marshmallow and meringue pairing featuring five sparkling wines. Certainly innovative in their approach, the tasting room setting and products will be popular with trendy, Generation Y wine lovers.

The House of J C Le Roux

The House of J C Le Roux

Sparkling wine, marshmallow and meringue tasting

Sparkling wine, marshmallow and meringue tasting

Finally let me introduce my travel companions:

Kitty Snyman of Rufaro Travel. Twitter @kitty_rufaro

Carla Van Der Merwe of Twitter  @carla_wino

Di Procter, writer of Wineblog-diana. Twitter @DiProc

Jan Langenhoven, writer of Tappets On The Run. Twitter @JanTappets


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Eikendal Vineyards Classique 2005

Premier Helen Zille at the Gugulethu Wine Festival 2011

The Gugulethu Square Mall rooftop was the venue for this uber successful wine fest. This mall is the newest development in the township which is situated 15km outside of Cape Town, Western Cape. Successful local entrepreneur, Mzoli Ngcawuzel was part of the driving force to establish Gugulethu Square Mall as well as being the co-founder, with Lungile Mbalo, of the Tops Gugulethu Wine Festival.

It has been said that if the majority of South Africans took to drinking wine as their preferred drink, there would almost be no need to export our wines. Marilyn Cooper, Managing Director  of the Cape Wine Academy, underscores this:

This is the start of a new dawn for wineries and Cape Town’s new consumers. The 2050 visitors to the festival are our future wine consumers and this event, together with the Soweto Wine Festival, is the Cape Wine Academy’s vision of wine education coming to life. We applaud the wineries that support the debut festival. We look forward to many more wineries attending next year.

Popular Cape Town Premier  Helen Zille opened the event and spent an hour talking and taking questions.

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Rockspider meets the Rooinek

I came across this quirky piece on

Alex Milner and Stefan Gerber, who met while studying wine making in Stellenbosch,  have teamed up to create a series of wines  labelled Boer & Brit which recognise their great-great grandfathers, each of whom fought on opposing sides during the Boer War 1880 – 1902.

Boer and Brit

Stefan is the great-great grandson of Paul Kruger, the Afrikaner leader and then president of the Transvaal.  The bitter war resulted in the British Imperial Army defeating the Boers and gaining control of the gold and diamond fields of South Africa. Leading a cavalry charge to end the siege of Kimberley, was Field Marshall John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, the great-great grandfather of Alex.

The range of wines consists of a Sauvignon Blanc called Gezina after Stefan’s grandmother;  The General which is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot and The Field Marshall, a blend of Shiraz, Mouvedre, Tinta Amarela and Carignan. Ironic back label phrases state: “The war is over – let’s party” and “With the body of a boer and the nose of an Englishman – you can’t go wrong”.

Bob's Your Uncle

Bob's Your Uncle

Another of this funky duo’s irreverant wines is a Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon called Bob’s Your Uncle which is bottled in a brown, beer bottle complete with a crown cork.


For a list of suppliers follow this link

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Two Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines receive the high five from Platter’s Wine Guide

Two rare wines crafted exclusively for the 2010 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction, have been given the “high five” by the 2011 Platter’s South African Wine Guide.

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

Cape Winemakers Guild Auction

This year’s Guild Platter 5-star wines, Le Riche Cabernet Sauvignon Auction Reserve 2007 and the acclaimed white blend, Steenberg Vineyards The Magus 2009, are amongst the 19 Platter 5-star wines crafted by members of the Cape Winemakers Guild listed in the 2011 guide.

Etienne le Riche, legendary Cabernet Sauvignon specialist and founder member of the Cape Winemakers Guild, hand selected the grapes personally from one of his prime vineyard sites for his 5-star wine which spent 24 months in new French Oak barrels. He describes the wine as vibrant with fresh, ripe cherry fruitiness and well integrated classic spiciness. The “classy” palate is full and rich, supported by a firm yet fine tannin structure ending in a long finish. This wine fetched on average R3 500 a case of six at the Guild auction.

John Loubser’s renowned white blend of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon was fermented separately in old French oak barrels to capture maximum fruit whilst lees contact for eight weeks enhanced the mouth-feel. Wild and herbaceous with piercing mineral notes, this wine is a true reflection of cool terroir and will age wonderfully with careful cellaring. Its full, vibrant palate with hints of passion fruit and tangerine is elegantly balanced by subtle smokiness. Steenberg Vineyards The Magus 2009 went under the hammer at an average price of R1 400 a case of six at the Guild Auction.

Herewith the full list of 19 5-star wines made by Guild members featured in the 2011 Platter’s South African Wine Guide:

Etienne Le Riche

Etienne Le Riche

Cabernet Sauvignon
· Boekenhoutskloof 2008 (Winemaker: Marc Kent)
· Kanonkop 2007 (Winemaker: Abrie Beeslaar)
· Le Riche CWG Auction Reserve 2007 (Winemaker: Etienne le Riche)
· Neil Ellis Vineyard Selections 2008 (Winemaker: Neil Ellis)
· Beyerskloof Diesel 2008 (Winemaker: Beyers Truter)
· De Trafford 2008 (Red Wine of the Year) (Winemaker: David Trafford)
· Haskell Pillars 2008 (Winemaker: Rianie Strydom)
· Rijk’s Private Cellar 2005 (Winemaker: Pierre Wahl)
Red Blends
· Ernie Els Signature 2007 (Winemaker: Louis Strydom)
· Graham Beck Ad Honorem 2007 (Winemaker: Pieter Ferreira)
· Hartenberg The Mackenzie 2007 (Winemaker: Carl Schultz)
· Spier Frans K. Smit 2006 (Winemaker: Frans Smit)
Sauvignon Blanc
· Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run 2010 (Winemaker: Pieter Ferreira)
· Groot Constantia Gouverneurs 2009 (Winemaker: Boela Gerber)
White Blends
· Cape Point Isliedh 2009 (Winemaker: Duncan Savage)
· Steenberg Magna Carta 2009 (Winemaker: John Loubser)
· Steenberg CWG Auction Reserve The Magus 2009 (Winemaker: John Loubser)
Méthode Cap Classique
· Villiera Monro Brut 2005 (Winemaker: Jeff Grier)
· Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2008 (Winemaker: Carel Nel)

The Cape Winemakers Guild comprises some of South Africa’s most respected winemakers with the single minded vision to elevate the standing of the South African wine industry amongst the world’s best through their ongoing dedication to the production of world-class, quality wines.

For the comprehensive list of all of the 5 star wines visit

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Could this be the world’s oldest Champagne?

In July 2010, divers salvaged 168 bottles of Champagne from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. Experts believe the wine to date back to the early nineteenth century and to be older than Pernod Ricard 1825 which was believed to be the oldest Champagne in the world. One of the two bottles opened has been identified as a Veuve Clicquot, the Champagne House which was founded in 1722.

The Champagne is thought to have been preserved by the consistent temperature of the water; low light levels and pressure from the gas used in the bottles which prevented sea water from seeping into the bottles. Most of the bottles were recovered intact and are expected to fetch GDP40,000 when they are auctioned.

An archaeologist used white gloves to present the wines to twenty specialist wine critics some of whom have commented on the video here.

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Social Development is a core principle of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust has invested a record amount of over R500 000 this year in social upliftment, scholarship and mentorship programmes for aspiring winemakers. The projects were funded predominantly by the R483 000 raised at various CWG auctions during the year, which included a generous donation of R100 000 from Nedbank.

Tamsyn Jeftha and Sacha Claassen

Tamsyn Jeftha and Sacha Claassen

The primary focus of the Development Trust is the Protégé programme, introduced in 2007 to bring about transformation in the wine industry. This year the programme supported three protégés, namely Praisy Dlamini in her final year of the internship and more recent recruits Sacha Claassen from Oudtshoorn and Tamsyn Jeftha from Strand.

These protégés are nurtured through a three year internship programme after the completion of their winemaking studies at Elsenburg College or Stellenbosch University. This valuable mentorship experience of working alongside some of the country’s finest winemakers at different wineries, is designed ultimately to equip the protégés to become producers of excellent wines themselves.

Howard Booysen, the first protégé to complete the internship programme, helped to raise R36 000 for the Guild’s Development Trust this year by putting up seven cases of the first wine under his own private label, the Howard Booysen 2010 Weisser Riesling, at various Guild charity auctions.

The Nedbank CWG Development Trust is also instrumental in providing finance for infrastructure projects at local schools, school tuition fees and bursaries for potential protégé students. This year five boys at Landbouskool Boland Agricultural College received scholarships covering their full school fees and boarding costs. The Trust also paid the school fees of two girls at Bloemhof in Stellenbosch, one of whom hopes to study winemaking next year.

In addition, two final year viticulture and oenology students at Elsenburg College received financial support through the Protégé Bursary Scheme, which is funded through AGRISeta grants.

Nedbank and the CWG established the Development Trust in September 1999 after recognising the social investment responsibility that the South African corporate sector has with regard to the wider community.

The ongoing support of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust demonstrates Nedbank’s desire to make a meaningful contribution to the communities in which we operate and to bring about meaningful change in the wine industry,

says Mike Brown, Nedbank Group Chief Executive.

The Trust is wholly funded by donations and proceeds raised through silent and charity auctions at various Guild events throughout the year. The Guild’s annual auction, the country’s biggest public wine auction of collector’s wines all crafted exclusively by Guild members, also has a strong charity focus in support of the various Development Trust programmes.

Every year a very special charity item is auctioned off to raise funds for the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust. This year’s annual CWG auction item, a unique 12-litre bottle of wine comprising a blend of top 2007 vintage wines from all 41 members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, fetched R16 000.

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KwaZulu-Natals’ thoroughbred wines

The Stables Wine Estate Airport Cellar is a beautifully presented wine boutique and bar in the new, state of

The Stables Wine Estate Airport Cellar

The Stables Wine Estate Airport Cellar

the art King Shaka International Airport in Durban. This exciting innovation by Tiny and Judy van Niekerk, owners of The Stables Wine Estate, offers travelers to Durban a full bar service from 05h00 until 22h00 each day. About 14 different wines are available by the glass as are beers, spirits, tea, coffee and water. Producers represented range from Solms Delta, Spier, Springfield and Saronsberg to Cederberg, Cabriere and Cape Point Vineyards.

The enthusiastic, helpful and knowledgeable manager of the wine bar is Vuyo Charles. When I asked him how he became a wine aficionado, Vuyo related to his five year stint as bartender in Knysna. He endured the “boring entry level duties” of serving beers. Then, wanting more, he progressed to learning about and serving coffee and cocktails before becoming a wine steward. When The Stables Airport Cellar opened prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Vuyo applied for a position and rapidly was promoted to manager. Vuyo loves the challenge and constantly increases his wine knowledge and tasting experience.  His favourite wine style is rose and he recommends The Stables Zambezi Pink2006. Champagne is a fascination of Vuyo’s and because he has a bit of a sweet tooth prefers a semi-sweet Methode cap classique.

The Van Niekerks established 27 ha of vines in Nottingham Road and in Greyton, KwaZulu-Natal to pioneer grape production in the

Manager, Vuyo Charles and Abigail Radebe

Manager, Vuyo Charles and Abigail Radebe

province. The farm is set on the site of a former thoroughbred stud and boasts views of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Mountains. In 2005 The Wine and Spirit Board of South Africa designated the area as a Wine of Origin Geographical Unit and in 2006 the first certified KwaZulu-Natal wine of origin was released.

The question we must ask though is: The Natalians may beat the Western Province at playing rugby but can they compete at wine-making?

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Fairview La Capra Festival

Fairview’s La Capra Festival is taking place at Fairview on 30 October from 8am to 8pm. It promises to be a day of good food, great wine, friends, family and general fun and frivolity!



The day kicks off with a 10km La Capra Goat Run, which will take runners and walkers on a circular route around the farm and to the top of Paarl mountain. (Pre-entry required).

There will be food stalls with Fairview favourites and deli delights. Get to know our Fairview wines and cheeses along with our tasting room hosts and take advantage of some great wine specials on the day. Grab a bottle of wine and some fabulous fare and find a spot on our lawns to relax and soak up the atmosphere. Or sample delicious meals and a range of wines by the glass at the Goatshed restaurant. The Goatshed will operate on a first come, first served basis for the day (no bookings accepted).

Your kids can meet ours, as we’ll have some of this year’s goat kids around the tower, adding their own special charm to the day. There will also be some fabulous gypsy tunes from our minstrels for the day, Playing with Fire.

So mark the date! Entry is free.

For more information, please contact Fairview on (021) 863 2450.

Visit for the La Capra Goat Run pre-entry form.

Finals loom for the WOSA Sommelier World Cup

Blending in with the excitement and exposure that the 2010 FIFA World Cup brought to South Africa, is an innovation by Wines Of South Africa – The Sommelier World Cup.

The competition has enticed sommeliers in 12 countries to enter by offering the prize of an all expenses paid, luxury holiday visiting the Cape’s premium  wineries and meeting award-winning  winemakers and dining in our world-class restaurants.  A powerful incentive to be the best of a nation.

Featured here are several of the finalists who will be taking part in a theoretical and oral practical exam in Paarl, South Africa. The four winners of this heat will compete at the Grande Roche Hotel in a public final round and it is here that the 2010 Sommelier World Cup holder will be announced.

In the finals are:


Francesca Azzarone, sommelier at Holmenkollem Park Hotel, Oslo.


Christopher Bates.

Wine sommelier in action

Wine sommelier in action


Stefaan Camerlinck.


Marie Dahlgren.


Caroline Gullstrom.


Alan Holmes.


Seung-Hoon lee.


Jurgen Luppes.


Asbjorn May.


Veronique Rivest.


Leonid Sternik


Sebastian Wilkens

We look forward to watching the final heat and seeing these talented sommeliers in action!

Could this winery also fit into my kitchen?

Tucked away in the beautifully restored 18th century town houses of Heritage Square is Signal Hill Winery, bringing South African wine making back into the city of Cape Town where it began so long ago.

Jean Vincent Ridon and Kyle Anthony Zulch

Jean Vincent Ridon and Kyle Anthony Zulch

Jean Vincent Ridon, winemaker of renown and famous for growing vines in Clos Montmartre, the unique Paris vineyard, was inspired to replant vines in the Cape Town city center and so Clos  d’Oranje at the foot of Table Mountain was established with ungrafted Syrah vines. Other tiny suburban vineyards are in Camps Bay and Kalk Bay and the  Mourvedre, Syrah and Cabernet Franc from these vines are crafted into classy wines in Heritage Square.

The oldest producing vine in the Southern Hemisphere is thriving in the Heritage Square courtyard thanks to the loving care of Kyle Zulch, winemaker and co-owner. Almost destroyed by powdery mildew, this beautiful old Crouchen Blanc vine can produce about 20 liters of wine. The 2008 vintage made 4 magnums and twelve 750ml bottles which were auctioned off to raise money for the Zip Zap Circus. Probably planted in 1771, the first landlord of the townhouses wrote in his 1785 journal about, “Drinking wine under the grape tree”.

Also part of the winemaking team since 2001 is Laurence Buthelezi . Originally from Kwazulu Natal, Laurence followed his brother to the Cape Winelands to work with him. Trained in Burgundy, Laurence relates how he first became aware of wine during church communion services and today finds learning exciting.

Laurence Buthelezi in the tiny winery

Laurence Buthelezi in the tiny winery

Signal Hill Winery can well be called Cape Town’s Winery with a niche market and close connection to the consumer. Any kind of wine event can be arranged in partnership with the restaurants of Heritage Square such as Caveau, Africa Café or Simply Asia.

The extensive range of wines are made with a sensitive approach to the environment by using only recycled glass bottles as well as recycled paper labels. This has even resulted in a reduction in the price of wines .

One of my favourites is the Grenache Blanc 2008 , the only in South Africa, made in an elegant old-world style. Sexy Threesome of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot is easy drinking and very French.

Follow Signal Hill Winery on Facebook or book a special tasting on 021-422 5206.

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Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage second release

Platter’s South African Wines 2009 named Kanonkop Estate the Winery of the Year and at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2009 Abrie Beselaar, Kanonkop Estate’s winemaker, was named Winemaker of the Year.



Enviable recognition for Abrie and this historical Stellenbosch estate whose name is synonymous with premium Pinotage wines. It is hardly surprising that first release of the black label Pinotage 2006 sold out in just three hours last year.

This week the second vintage of this R1,000.00 (US$138) was released and will be on sale from 22 September from and

Sure to become a collectors’ item, Abrie describes the 2007 Pinotage as being “lighter, more Pinot Noir in style” than the previous vintage.

We made the wine because this blend was totally different in style. It doesn’t have the typical aromatics of Pinotage and shows people how different Pinotage can be.


Apologies for the incorrect link to the South African Wine Society. It is now known as the Wade Bales Wine Society and the link given is now correct.

South African wine farms the first in the world to feature on Google Street View

Another benefit of South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup was the launch in June, of Google Street View for Using 360 degree street-level images taken by the Google cars and trikes, Street View allows users to view and navigate through South African streets, gardens and past historic buildings. Says Julie Taylor, Communications Manager for Google South Africa:

Rustenberg Manor House

Rustenberg Manor House

The local launches of Google Maps and Street View reflect Google’s investment in South Africa, as well as our commitment to making the Internet more useful and relevant to South Africans.  Street View also shows South Africa’s heritage to the world, ranging from the iconic winelands to the Kruger National Park.

A world first is that Cape winelands images are featured on Street View. Right now it is possible to visit via Street View:  Bouchard Finlayson,  De Rust Estate, De Wetshof, Fairview,  Jordan Wines, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Morgenster,  Rustenberg,  Vilafonte Vineyards and Warwick Wine Estate.

South African wine connoisseur, Juliet Cullinan, commenting on Street View and the growing importance of digital technology within South Africa’s wine industry, says:

Wine-lovers all over the world can now visit the estates of some of our leading wine domains using Street View, plan their own wine routes and buy online.  As the world’s first vineyards to be placed on Street View, South African wineries will receive great exposure and can take advantage of this new technology in innovative ways, whilst expanding tourism and their global and local customer base.

The scope for improving the online presence of wineries is huge as Richard Cheary of Afrozaar explained:

There are so many ways wine farms can utilise geo products, including the creation of virtual wine route tours, incorporating video and interviews; mobile applications, comprising travel directions and preloaded tourist information; and online bookings with specific requests.

Soon to be added to Street View are  Ataraxia Wines,  Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Constantia Glen, Glen Carlou, Groote Post, Hamilton Russell, Iona Wines, Journey’s End, Kaapzicht, Le Riche, Mont Du Toit, Mooiplaas,  Ormonde Vineyard, Raka, Rickety Bridge, Robertson Winery, Saronsberg,  Strandveld, Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Vergelegen, Villiera and Weltevrede.

Using Google Street View
In areas where Street View is available, you can see the images on Google Maps (on a PC or Internet-enabled mobile) by zooming into the lowest level, or by dragging the orange “Pegman” icon on the left-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street.

Google has gone to lengths to safeguard privacy while allowing all South African users to benefit from this feature. Street View only contains imagery that is already visible from public roads and features technology that blurs both faces and licence plates.  In addition, any user can easily flag images for removal that he or she considers inappropriate by clicking on “Report a problem”.  South Africa is the first country in Africa to get Street View imagery in Maps.  Street View first launched in 2007 and is currently available in 23 countries and 100 metropolitan areas worldwide, including large areas of the US, Australia, Japan, France, Italy and Spain.

To learn more about Street View, visit

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Minkelo Mangciphu and Wine in Soweto

Trendy Soweto is where the shift in social drinking habits for 80% of South Africans is being born.

Enjoying the Soweto Wine Festival

Enjoying the Soweto Wine Festival

Stimulated by enjoying South African wine out of Soweto Beer Festival glasses at a braai/barbecue, the Soweto Wine Festival was inspired by Lynne Woodward and Minkelo Mangciphu. Five years later, the festival has grown from showcasing wines from 82 wineries which were enjoyed by 1,500 guests to 103 wineries and over 5,000 people.

Quick to spot the emerging trend of moving from a beer drinking society to the sophistication of wine,  Minkelo Mangciphu launched the first wine boutique in Soweto, the Morara Wine Emporium.

Listen to his views on this video.

Happening today and ending on Saturday 4th September the details are below:

Venue | University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus
The Arena, Main Hall, University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus situated on Chris Hani Road (Old Potch Road), which is one the main entrances into Soweto and is just further down the road past Baragwanath Chris Hani Hospital. (See directions below) 

Dates & Times | 2-4 Sept 2010
• 6 pm – 10 pm: Thursday, 2nd September 2010
• 6 pm – 10 pm: Friday, 3rd September 2010
• 5 pm – 10 pm: Saturday, 4th September 2010

Price | R60 per person per night or R150 for a three-night pass
Includes a branded SWF wine glass, festival buyer’s guide and over 800 wines to taste
Free Food and Wine Pairing Classes in the Pick n Pay Taste Theatre

Ticket Outlets: (tickets limited to 2,500 people per night)

Buy your tickets online now! (Avoid the queue)
Pick n Pay | Maponya Mall
Soweto Wine Festival entrance
Cape Wine Academy | 076 136 2694 (Kelvin, Sandton)
Morara Wine Emporium in Soweto | 011 982 2290

• VISITORS | Visitor parking is opposite the UJ main entrance
• VIP/Exhibitor parking is at the UJ main entrance.

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