News and blogs from Wines of South Africa


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24 blogs found

Looking at the Cape Winelands from above, it’s clear that the stats on Italian varietal plantings are pretty miniscule. Sangiovese comes out tops with 0, 07% of the total vineyard area, while nebbiolo clocks in at a mere 0,02% (vermentino is the latest Italian varietal to take up root in the national vineyard, but more about that later). Zoom in however, and you’ll find that these numbers are as insignificant as their totals. The part Italy plays in the story of South Africa’s winemaking is much more manifold and complex than something we can tot up on our calculators.
Taking a Long View,
June 2017
Nederburg Auction’s first auctioneer, Patrick Grubb MW, set up a Bursary Initiative to help individuals from previously disadvantaged communities working in the wine industry to gain experience in some of the world’s great wine regions.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” – John F Kennedy
While we sang ‘Gaudeamus igitur’ and the graduates wore the traditional cap and gown, that’s where the Oxbridge allusion ended at the annual Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA) in Stellenbosch.
Importers of South African wines can now collaborate in social development projects in the South African wine producing regions, by sponsoring students from their countries to take part in strategic projects. This will enable the collaborators to become involved in re-addressing and correcting historical relationships instigated by earlier European ancestors. This will yield dramatic dividends in the quality of many worker’s lives on wine farms. Visual- and performance-art are international languages which could aid a process of crossing social barriers to develop the formerly unmined socio-cultural assets of the wine regions.
If, like me, you like your wine as dry as your humour the rising popularity of demi-sec sparkling wines can seem a bit puzzling, but there’s no denying the category’s power in the marketplace. Producers have taken notice and are gamely producing these sweet sparklers—and are battling to keep up with demand.
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi. New things are always coming out of Africa, including new styles of wine from South Africa, even when their ‘newness’ is sparked by wines of times past.
In the dark days of apartheid South African wine was an easy target for consumers to show their displeasure for the abhorrent political policy. They (very effectively) withheld their custom and refused on principle to buy South African products.
In the late 70s, mired in political and geographic isolation thanks to the reigning apartheid government, I can remember my Dad venturing out to Stellenbosch on a Saturday morning and stocking up with cases of the likes of Delheim’s Vin Ordinaire. At a restaurant he would order Bellingham Johannisburger with the frozen fried fish on offer, and perhaps a Nederburg red with the ubiquitous steak and chips. Wine farms were few and wine lists were short.
The story of the Black Cellar Club (BLACC) began over a couple of glasses of wine—at least it’s highly probable that it did. BLACC is a communication and networking platform for African sommeliers throughout the African continent, focusing on black empowerment within the wine industry.
It’s 46 years since the late Frans Malan, owner of Simonsig, made the first commercial sparkling wine in the same method as Champagne, calling it Kaapse Vonkel. Nearly 50 years later the style, since 1992 named Méthode Cap Classique, has proliferated.
American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
Vintage experience,
April 2017
The interesting thing about wine is that you only get one chance a year to make it. So for the average winemaker, retiring at a normal age, you might get to make 40 or so vintages in your lifetime, unless of course you switch hemispheres in your winter and go to work somewhere else.
In February this year, Fairview’s Charles Back was awarded the 1659 Wine Industry Medal of Honour. The recipient of this award is selected by a panel of wine industry stalwarts and presented to an individual who has created a legacy and played a profound role in the wine industry.
Harvesting the sun,
March 2017
If 'wine is sunlight, held together by water' then surely we should be harnessing the power of the sun to make it, too? In sunny South Africa it seems quite an obvious solution to help wine farms not only reduce their carbon footprint, but to also create a sustainable energy resource, with the added bonus of not being wholly reliant on the national energy grid.
Pinotage – it’s a word that runs easily off the tongue and, thanks to winemakers’ greater understanding of how to get the best out of it, including planting vines in cooler areas, it’s a wine that today runs more easily down the throat.
Discover Wellington,
March 2017
To the casual visitor, Wellington might seem stuck in a time warp. The main drag still sports tired art deco arcades, men’s outfitters and corner cafes, but look beyond that and you will quickly spot the energy and vitality that makes Wellington a treasure trove for the tourist in search of something extra special.
South Africa’s foremost wine charity auction took place over the weekend of 10 & 11 February 2017. Though this isn’t any ordinary wine auction. All proceeds raised at The Cape Wine Auction (sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth) with no deduction, will be allocated to 22 beneficiaries, which make a profound impact on education and the lives of children in the Cape Winelands. Now in its third year, the Cape Wine Auction broke their own record by raising a staggering R22.3 million.
One of the most popular seminars at Cape Wine 2015 was ‘Listening to the Landscape, the Typicity of our Terroir’, chaired by viticultural consultant, Rosa Kruger.
Chardonnay Masterclass,
February 2017
The world over, Chardonnay is becoming chic again – and South Africa is no exception.
Somewhere between Tulbagh and Ceres lies a wine farm called Waverley Hills. It’s a winery making, well, waves for various reasons, among them for producing award-winning organic wines as well as being leaders in the recycling of winery waste.
If you want to get something done in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus, best to get Creation’s Carolyn Martin in your corner. This dynamo has moved and shaken much in the valley, and it is her we have to thank for meeting the needs of the local farmworkers’ children this year.
Many winemakers are well known through regularly being quoted or written about, not just because they produce good wines. Other winemakers, producing equally good wines, even enjoying an international reputation, are less in the public eye, but are happy to quietly get on with the job at hand. Ntsiki Biyela fits well into that latter category.
Good, Better, Bosman,
January 2017
If you are a wine farmer, the name Bosman Family Vineyards is synonymous with vine cuttings; if you are a wine consumer, Bosman signifies unusual, award-winning wines AND happy workers; if you are a vineyard worker, Bosman Vineyards seems like the dream place to work and live. I got to see why all these interpretations are true, and more.