Last night I attended the launch of the ‘Platter’s by Diners Club International 2019 South African Wine Guide’ at the Table Bay Hotel. It was an evening of some surprises, and new awards presented! But one thing was consistent – the Mullineux duo of Chris and Andrea lead this country in its consistent wine award performance, winning Winery of the Year for the third time in the 39 year history of the Platter’s Guide. Continue reading →
A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. Continue reading →
A number of records were broken last night when 94 wines and one brandy were awarded 5 star status at the launch of the Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, a new venue, the event having been held at the Mount Nelson for years. The colour of the 2017 Platter’s Guide is Harvest Green. Continue reading →
On Friday evening I had the pleasure of eating my first meal prepared by a Michelin star restaurant chef. Chef Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, with a Michelin star earned every year in the past ten years, prepared a six-course meal at Continue reading →
* Uber and Discovery Health are partnering in a flu vaccination drive on Friday 22 May, between 10h00 and 16h00, a Discovery Health accredited nurse coming to one’s home or work and offering five vaccinations to persons 18+ years for R100. The promotional code is UBERHEALTHSA. The nurse will also bring a flu prevention pack with some surprise items. Discovery Vitality members receive 1000 Vitality points, while DiscoveryCard holders will receive a refund of the R100. (received via media release from Uber).
* KWV has won 35 international awards in three competitions in the past week: At the International Wine Continue reading →
Jamie Goode is a well-known award-winning ‘wine journalist‘ and wine judge from the UK, writing his Wine Anorak blog for the past 14 years. Uncharacteristically he has lashed out at ‘wine writers ripping off wineries’, describing this as a ‘disturbing trend‘!
Goode wrote on his Blog last week: ‘A rant. I don’t rant often, but I’m driven to do it today. As a wine writer, I’m alarmed by the recent trend for other wine writers to behave parasitically by charging wineries to reproduce reviews. I’m Continue reading →
Slowly a number of changes are being introduced to the publishing and marketing of ‘Platter’s South African Wines’ since JP Rossouw took over as Publisher of the wine guide about six months ago. Not all the changes may be to the liking of the wine estates, users, and advertisers of the Guide.
For the first time Platter’s has advertised! Yesterday I saw an advertisement for Platter’s in the Sunday Times Food Weekly supplement, advertising the Guide, with its newish parent Diners Club benefiting from it too. The advertisement bears the headline ‘Platter’s Wine Guide discovers the perfect pairing’, being a self-aggrandizing accolade to the marriage between Platter’s and Diners Club! The copy reads: ‘Platter’s Wine Guide, South Africa’s original and most authoritative guide to who’s who and what’s what in the Winelands, has the perfect partner in Diners Club, the world’s original and most prestigious charge card. Platter’s has always been the go-to-guide to discovering, rating, pairing and sharing South African wines. Now there’s a quick and easy way to also enjoy Platter’s on your mobile device or desktop. Filled with the latest wine news, festival alerts, hot picks and competitions, Platter’s has become an even more valuable guide. Whether you are shopping for wine, wanting to learn more, or need help planning a trip to cellars, Platter’s will enhance your journey. No App required. Simply go to www.wineonaplatter.com to subscribe’. The pay-off line is corny and meaningless: ‘When your thirst for knowledge coincides with the means to enjoy it, you BELONG‘! One would hope that Rossouw was not the copywriter of this nonsensical ad, given his past copywriting career! More likely is that the advertisement comes from the Marketing department of Diners Club, the give-away being that it contains the Facebook page address and Twitter handle of Diners Club, but not of Platter’s, a bizarre omission! Continue reading →
Today ends one of the less nice years, and the number 13 in it should have been a warning of how bad it could become. While it has many negative associations, it also was a year of highlights, from our perspective.
For me personally the year was overshadowed by the passing of my father, and while I was lucky to have him in my life for such a long time, reaching the ripe old age of 97, it still was a shock when he went in April. He brought our family to South Africa, and specifically to the Cape, for which I will be eternally grateful. He helped shape my interest in the business world, and took a keen interest in my Market Research, Public Relations, and hospitality careers. Added to this was the further loss of our beloved Madiba, who passed away on 5 December, a shock when it happened, despite one knowing that it was just a matter of time. It felt like a double whammy loss year. Heaven has gained two truly great gentlemen.
2013 has had some positive aspects: we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our Blog, well established and with more than 30000 unique readers per month. We thank our loyal readers and commenters, as well as the Public Relations companies which feed us with up to date information and invite us to launches, particularly in the wine industry. We particularly commend Waterford Communications for its professionalism in dealing with us as friends as well as writers, never taking any coverage for granted, always being willing to assist with more information, having a knack for choosing excellent weather days for client functions, and saying ‘thank you‘ for coverage received, a rare treat! The PR company leads an industry plagued by poor writers, who bombard one with media releases (often being irrelevant), repeating information already written about, and demanding proof of coverage granted to the client brand! Continue reading →
I heard Richard Kershaw’s name for the first time when he was one of 80 Platter 5 star winners for his inaugural Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2012 earlier this month. Yesterday we attended a tasting of his 2012 Chardonnay and Syrah at Rodwell House in St James, at which Richard unpacked the importance of clones in making his two wines.
Richard is a larger-than-life personality, and wine judge and writer Angela Lloyd complimented him for his wines having personality too. He grew up in Sheffield, and did a cooking course in Slough, at an excellent chef’s school. He moved to winemaking, assisting in an American cellar, where he met a South African, who encouraged him to come to South Africa instead of to Chile and Argentina, where he intended to travel to next. He followed the advice of his friend, and fate determined that he met his now wife Mariette in the guest house in which he was staying in Stellenbosch, having arrived on the night on which Luciano Pavarotti gave his only South African concert, which they could hear from the guest house, he explained. He was shown around different cellars, but was most impressed with Mulderbosch, Laibach, and Vergelegen. He followed his dream to go to Chile to help make wine there, but his heart drew him back to Stellenbosch and to Mariette. He announced himself at Mulderbosch, boldly asking for a job, and his wish was granted. He does not have a formal winemaking qualification, but became a Master of Wine (MW) two years ago, after a six year study period, the first South African winemaker to have Continue reading →
It was a boisterous Diners Club Platter’s South African Wines 2014 ‘prize-giving’ last night, with a record 80 wines receiving the much-desired 5 star accolade, selected blind-tasted from double the number of 5-star finalists. It was an evening that honoured publisher Andrew McDowall, and saw new publisher JP Rossouw in action for the first time.
A number of records were set last night, with the largest number of wines evaluated ever, at 7434, there being 49 new entries, and close to 900 producers of wine in the Guide. After an absence, brandy and sherry-style wines were awarded again.
On arrival, sipping Klein Constantia MCC, a number of well-known winemakers and estate owners were visible, giving one a taste of some of the 5 star winners, including last year’s Winery of the Year winner Gottfried Mocke of Cape Chamonix, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Johann Laubser of Delaire Graff, and Ginny Povall of Botanica. We commented that it was wonderful to see so many women winemakers amongst the top 5 star recipients! Once we were allowed to enter the venue at the Vineyard Hotel, the wines were displayed in groups, for one to taste and to see the 5 star winners by their presence.
David Hughes sang the praises of Andrew, and his direct involvement with 29 of the 34 Platter’s Wine Guides. He described Andrew as a man ‘massive in character’, who has a nickname ‘Grunter‘, who got himself smuggled into a Nederburg Wine Auction via the boot of a car when he did not receive an invitation, who fell onto a cannon at the bottom of the steps of the Mount Nelson when he slid down the bannister at his 40th birthday party, a man one can trust when he gives you his word, ‘and a hell of a good guy‘, warning JP that he has big boots to fill in taking over from Andrew. There was roaring applause for Andrew.
Andrew looked well, and his dry humour was on full form, saying that the romance with Diners Club last year had led to marriage during the year. He was full of praise for his ‘young, strong and virile’ successor JP. He was proud that the edition was printed locally and not in Singapore. He revealed the ‘Walker Bay blue’ cover, saying that they had considered calling it ‘Pendock sea sick’, which brought the house down! He praised editor Philip van Zyl as the ‘most ethical man’, which led to applause from the floor. The 80 5 star winners include 7 brandies, up from 62 last year. I asked Andrew what he would be doing with his time, and he said he wasn’t sure, but getting better at bridge is one of his goals. Continue reading →