* The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries have signed an agreement to create a New Development Bank, reports The New Age. The Bank’s first loans will be made in 2016, from its pooled resources of $50 billion. South Africa is reported to have contributed R 5 billion to the establishment of the Bank. In addition, a $100 billion ‘contingency reserves pool‘ will be set up, to safeguard any of the five countries from being hit by ‘an exodus of foreign capital‘. The Bank headquarters will be in Shanghai, reports Mail & Guardian, while Johannesburg will be the regional centre of the Bank for Africa.
* SAA has been named Best Airline Africa for the 12th year running, and won the Best Airline Staff Service Africa award for the third time, presented at the Skytrax World Airline Awards in London. The airlines were evaluated on the basis of customer surveys conducted amongst 18 million travelers. SAA has a 4-star rating from Skytrax, the only airline in Africa to have achieved the service quality rating.
* SA Tourism is working on improving Indaba, its Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton has said, adding that she is taking industry feedback into consideration in planning the 2015 show. ‘Deal-making‘ is the focus of Indaba, she said, and is creating new relationships and maintaining old ones. She wants to project the uniqueness of Africa in the show, and to encourage matchmaking meetings in addition to stand visits. Its contract with the Durban International Convention Centre expires after the 2015 exhibition, opening new venue opportunities.
* An excellent article ‘The Best Big Wines for Big Game Vacations’ on Yahoo Travel! cleverly looks at pairing the best (full-bodied) red wines with our Safari Big Five, on the advice of Clive Vollenhoven, Sommelier at Madikwe Safari Lodge: Elephants with Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; Buffalo with Muratie Ronnie Melck Shiraz 2011; Lion with Morgenhof Merlot 2010; Leopard with Altydgedacht Pinotage 2011; and Rhino with Knorhoek Cabernet Franc 2012.
* Charles Back of Fairview has been awarded the International Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Wine Challenge! Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from Citrusdal Wine received the IWC Fairtrade Award. (via Twitter)
* Muratie has appointed winemaker Hattingh de Villiers, after the passing of Francois Conradie earlier this year. He has been a winemaker at uniWines Group, Opstal Wine Estate, Morgenhof, and the former Seildelberg, as well as at Chateau Montelea Winery in Napa Valley as well as at Bleasdale Vineyards in Langhorne Creek in Australia. (received via media release from Hazell Public Relations and Wine Consultants)
* Durbanville Hills has launched a Food and Wine pairing menu, which will be amended as the seasons change. Its Chef Louisa Greeff has paired the dishes and wines, offering 5-course lunches from Tuesdays to Sundays, and dinner on Friday evenings. Dishes include salmon ceviche, pork belly, spring rolls, lamb loin, fish, and hand-made ice cream and chocolates sauce. Cost is R325 per person. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: WhaleCottage