From Slavery to BEE

The publication on May 1 of a new non-glossy, non-braai book called Grape – stories of the vineyards in SA by DA member of parliament Wilmot James, Chancellor of Rhodes University Jakes Gerwel and journalist Jeanne Viall will be a welcome addition to the national wine library. Publisher Tafelberg describes it as “provocative and [...] Related posts:
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Selling SA becomes counter-productive

Who says pressure groups don’t work? Wineoption.org, a UK-based consumer group, conducted a survey over Christmas and one of their conclusions was that supermarket wines should be sorted by style, rather than country of origin. As they reported “78% [of respondents] indicated dissatisfaction with the current method of merchandising by country of origin [...] Related posts:
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Enter the EPA, stage left

As SA generic wine marketing rapidly loses credibility and struggles to get a grip, could a rejuvenated Estate Producers Association [EPA] help? This was one of the many insights offered by Jean Engelbrecht in the Sunday Times yesterday. span id=”more-8086″> If dog owners look like their pets, it should come as no surprise to report that [...] Related posts:
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Nobbled by the subs

A terrific story on SA wines by Bill Zacharkiw in the Montreal Gazette yesterday, was spoiled by the mean-spritied headline “The Almost Great-Grapes of South Africa.” Where does the “almost” come from, Bill? span id=”more-8079″> The grapes in question are Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. Of Chenin, Bill says “but as much as the [...] Related posts:
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Monocle Mess Ups

A friend of mine was offered a column on Tyler Brûlé’s organ Monocle but turned it down after hearing the pay. A bad mistake I thought until I browsed the March edition. Colonel Gaddafi is upgraded to General and we’re told that “sales to China of Argentine wines costing more than €160 a [...] Related posts:
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Angela’s List and the faint whiff of hypocrisy

Thanks to Carrie Adams for e-mailing Angela Lloyd’s list of Top SA Wines – alas, I’ve given up reading Gripe, so had missed the original unveiling. Great minds think alike as Carrie had suggested she and I compile such a list for Classic FM with the novel feature that we’d buy the bottles. [...] Related posts:
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Woman Winemaker cancelled or April Fool?

The news that lovely Lorraine Immelman’s woman winemaker of the year competition has been cancelled has knocked the spittoon 1.2mm off its rapidly rotating axis. The reason supplied is that sponsorship from Landbouweekblad magazine “expired at the end of 2010, and [Lorraine] is negotiating with new sponsors when the competition re-launches in 2012.” [...] Related posts:
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Cultural Carpetbagging in St. James

Terrific bit of navel-gazing and lint gathering from Linsday Johns in the Telegraph yesterday on whether Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) was entitled to sing the Blues and even release a CD of moans and groans. As House humorously put it “I was not born in Alabama in the 1890s. I’ve never eaten grits, [...] Related posts:
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Bubbly to bounce out of recession

The news that UK household incomes adjusted for tax and inflation fell by 0.8% last year can’t be good news for SA wine growers as the UK is by far their largest export destination. An increase in VAT this year and an above inflation rise in duty on wine last week will increase the [...] Related posts:
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Next Level Oesfeeste

I’m something of an oesfees original, having thoroughly enjoyed all four opskoppe at Solms Delta in Franschhoek. It’s the kind of jol you have to be there, to “get”, as reading Die Burger’s report yesterday, I realized there must have been two oesfeeste running simultaneously in parallel universes. For Die Burger the line-up [...] Related posts:
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Visual dissonance @ ProWein

A wonderful example of visual cognitive dissonance this morning from an unlikely source: Su Birch, head of WOSA, the exporters’ mouthpiece, at ProWein the major European wine show. Hailing the SA green zone as “a huge success” the visual makes the point well: a deserted set. Which some producers may view as a [...] Related posts:
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The King’s Shampoo

No Oscar for research in The King’s Speech. Poor old wicked Wallis Simpson, when will the Brits ever forgive her? You knew she was a bad ‘un when she sent King Edward VIII down to the cellar to get her a bottle of 1923 vintage bubbly. “Only the best for Wallis.” [...] Related posts:
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Cape Cooperage rolls out the barrel

There are no wine flies on barrel suppliers Cape Cooperage. By donating two French Oak Quintessence barrels to two protégés of the Cape Winemakers Guild, Sacha Claassen and Tamsyn Jeftha, the barrel importers are making the not-too-subtle point that the best wines need wood and that wood should be French. span id=”more-8039″> The barrels will be [...] Related posts:
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Liz and the dompas

The orgy of obituaries following the death of silver screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor last week contained a gem from Truman Capote, revealing the luvvie carried her dompas in true SA style. The new dompas is of course, Dom Pérignon Champagne beloved of black diamonds, and not the hated pass of Apartheid. Visiting the violet-eyed “flick [...] Related posts:
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Fourth Franschhoek Oesfees

This afternoon the Sanhedrin of Afrikanerdom, the ATKV (Afrikaans language and culture association), grasped the revolutionary Franschhoek Oesfees to its ample crimpolene bosom. The 80-year old cultural movement had swooped down on the four year old harvest festival in a bont bussie (multicoloured minibus taxi) and planted some multicoloured flags outside the port-a-loo village. [...] Related posts:
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Oxford, Cambridge and Rustenberg

It was not cheating to take Chris Patten, chancellor of Oxford University, to Rustenberg last month when one of the wines we tasted, the Rousanne 2010, popped up later in the month at the 58th annual Varsity Blind Wine Tasting competition between Oxford and Cambridge Universities held in Pall Mall. Not cheating, as we didn’t [...] Related posts:
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MCC raises a glass to responsible drinking

“You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket” is one reason for entering the controversial Top 100 SA Wines competition, entries for which closed a week ago. It was the argument employed by Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck Wines in Franschhoek this morning. Although the flip side is that the very name [...] Related posts:
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UK budget blow for SA wine

The news that the UK’s baby chancellor George Osborne (he’s 39) is to add an extra 15p in duty – that’s R1.69 down here – to a bottle of wine is especially bad news for bottom feeding SA producers as proportionately, the tax is biased against budget bottles, which is most of the SA offering. The [...] Related posts:
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A Little Light Relief

Memo to Adrian Botha executive director of the industry association for responsible alcohol use I was watching Africa Business Report on the BBC last night. The booze business in Botswana was featured and it was glum faces all round after the government imposed a 30% levy on alcohol, since raised to 40%. The largest beer [...] Related posts:
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Glasses for Sparkling Sauvignon

Yesterday’s post on opportunities for sparkling SA Sauvignon was no doubt picked up by the Riedel glassware empire as a chance for a new glass design, especially when Business Day’s entrepreneurial wine pundit, Michael Fridjhon, is their busy local agent. Just what shape would those glassy gnomes come up with to showcase the terroir [...] Related posts:
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