Through a stroke of luck I was invited to visit Santiago in Chile for four days, and in this time I was able to drink some Chilean wines. I also visited Casablanca, a wine region outside Santiago, with my friends Guy and Pia, who live near Casablanca. Continue reading →
* SAA is pursuing a new procurement policy of aircraft parts, services, and supplies from ‘Black industrialists’. A funding pool is to be established, to help such industrialists to set up their businesses.
* All passengers travelling with children, arriving in or departing from one of our country’s airports, are subject to the new Immigration Regulations from 1 June onwards. This applies to South Africans too, and not just to Continue reading →
Clem Sunter is one of our country’s top and also an international scenario planner, who has consulted for China, the Zanu FP, and Botswana, but never the ANC. Addressing the Thursday Club over lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday, Sunter encouraged the audience to ‘not get too downcast, as we are still in the Premier League‘, he said. Chef Edgar Osojnik prepared a generous 3-course meal, many guests not being able to finish all of it.
Clem Sunter attracted attention in the ‘Eighties with his ‘High Road, Low Road’ scenarios, and has been speaking all over the world, writing books, and hosting strategy workshops with corporates and even governments. He has used the analogy of a fox, being smart in its competitive environment, and the title of the books now refer to Continue reading →
* Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom has acknowledged that visitor numbers from China have dropped dramatically in the second half of last year, by close to 25%, and attributes this to the new Immigration regulations but to Ebola as well.
* Highly acclaimed UK wine journalist Jancis Robinson has expressed her concern about the supply of grapes for the ‘Young Gun‘ winemakers, most not owning their own land. In addition, the suppliers of their grapes Continue reading →
Blaauwklippen launched the tenth Zinfandel-inspired product in its range last week at a lunch held at Blues restaurant in Camps Bay, the new Diva Zinfandel MCC 2013 being the first made with this grape varietal in our country. Only two others are made with Zinfandel, in California, we were told by Rolf Zeitvogel, Cellar Master and MD of Blaauwklippen. The launch of Blaauwklippen Diva MCC 2013 forms part of the wine estate’s celebration of its 333rd anniversary this year.
Blues has operated in Camps Bay for more than 25 years, and was a
clever choice in ‘pairing’ the two ‘blue’ brand names. It was a perfect summer day, and we were welcomed on the terrace with canapés of chicken liver paté, and mushroom with truffle oil bruschetta on the Continue reading →
* An International Institute for Peace through Tourism World Symposium will be held in Johannesburg from 16 – 19 February, in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. The symposium will ‘honour the legacies of the world’s three champions of peace and non-violence‘…’by building bridges of tourism, friendship and peace‘ between Africa, Asia, and North America in the main.
* The launch of FlySafair next week will have a temporary effect of lowering domestic airline prices. The new airline will offer a base price for the seat plus two pieces of hand luggage at 7 kg, extra charges being levied for meals, checked luggage, and pre-booked seats. The airline says that the fares offered are not just opening specials and are sustainable. Skywise and Fly Blue Crane are also waiting to take off, offering flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Mango does not expect a price war to develop after the launch of the new low-cost airlines.
What an amazing experience it was to sit next to Clem Sunter at the 5th anniversary of the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday, the guest of the wine estate’s PR consultant Sandy Bailey. At the lunch Sunter’s new book ‘21st Century Megatrends: perspectives from a Fox‘ was launched. Sunter was the first speaker at the Thursday Club at its launch five years ago.
We were welcomed with a choice of a glass of Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir or Meifort (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon). Sunter was already in the restaurant, and was happy to pose for a photograph, volunteering to move away from the glass door so that the light did not affect the photograph, clearly an old hand at this. We started chatting before the lunch started, and I received a quick overview of his talk, and learnt a lot more about him.
Christopher Sunter was born in the UK, the only son of a mother he was very close to, and went to school at Winchester College. At school Sunter played the guitar, and the first song he sang was ‘Oh my Darling Clementine‘, which led to his classmates calling him ‘Clem‘ after the song, and the name stuck. He went to Oxford, and there he started a band with his friend, called the Clem & John Band. His biggest claim to fame is the fact that the band co-headed a concert in Oxford at which the Rolling Stones performed as well, in June 1964, and he ended off his talk with this information. We were lucky to have Clem sing for us at the table, his face lighting up as he did so. He shared that he performed with eleven other CEOs at a concert at The Barnyard in Johannesburg last year, organised by Reg Lascaris, the proceeds going to charity. He sang ‘Peggy Sue‘ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes‘ at the concert, and ‘Peggy Sue‘ for us at the table too. Should his career as a scenario planner ever fail, which is highly unlikely, he can fall back into a career as singer! Sunter also is very funny, saying that every year for three weeks he lived in the home in which his mother lived before she passed away. Every evening they were served a glass of wine, and he told a funny story about the residents of the home which brought the house down as he started his talk. Sunter joined Anglo in London after university, and moved to Anglo Zambia in 1971, and then to Anglo South Africa two years later, serving as a Non-Executive Director of the company now, as well as consulting to corporates around the world as a scenario planner, and writing books. Sunter has owned a holiday house in Simonstown for a number of years already, and he and his wife plan to move to Cape Town next year, a ‘semi-gration trend’, he said. They live in Rosebank in Johannesburg and he said that he loves living in Africa, and feels completely at home in this country. Two of his three children live outside South Africa, one of them in Perth, which caused a laugh as I had asked him whether we need to pack for Perth again, which he now refers to ‘parched Perth’ due to the impact of climate change on Australia. Continue reading →
* The first ever African marketing office of SA Tourism was opened yesterday in Lagos in Nigeria, by our Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Not only will this be good for tourism for our country, but it also aims to create greater awareness and to attract more tourists to Africa globally.
* The Reserve Bank has increased the interest rate by 50 basis points, the first increase in five years, to curb inflation caused by the weak Rand.
* SAA made a loss of R991 million in the 2012/2013 financial year, an improvement on its previous loss of R1,25 billion in the previous financial year. It blames the loss on the ‘weakened rand‘, as 60% of its costs are dollar based. It announced today that had the Rand not weakened, SAA would have made a profit! Cost-cutting efforts have been cutting the Kigali (to Rwanda) and Buenos Aires routes. All long-distance routes are loss-making, admitted CEO Monwabisi Kalawe, but have to be retained for strategic reasons, such as Beijing.
* The USA has close to 8000 wineries, of which just less than half are in California, by far the dominant wine production state. South Africa has about one tenth of this number!
An unique ‘The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa‘ has been published, the first of its kind, providing an overview of olive oil production in our country, and providing details of the top quality olive oil producers.
Olives were first brought to South Africa from California by Piet Cillie in 1893. A mere 14 years later Jan Minnaar from De Hoop farm in Paarl won the prize for the best olive oil produced in the British Empire at the 1907 London Show! Reni Hildenbrand now owns the farm in Wellington on which Piet Cillie farmed, and she has written a book ‘Olives and Olive Oils in South Africa‘. Ferdinando Costa arrived from Genoa in Italy a few years later, and brought in Italian plants, grafting them on the local Olienhout rootstock. He planted large numbers of olive trees in Paarl in 1925, and pressed his first olive oil in 1935. The Costa name is synonymous with olives and olive oil, and his relative Linda runs SA Olive, a quality standards body for the industry. Italian Baron Andreis began planting olive trees in the ‘Fifties, using Carlo Castiglione to make olive oil from 1972, under the Vesuvio brand. Its Extra Virgin Olive Oil won four awards in Italy for the first time, and regularly wins international awards. Italian Guilio Bertrand bought Morgenster next door to Vergelegen just over twenty years ago, and saw the potential to produce quality wines and olive oils. He now runs an olive oil nursery, and won the SA Olive Lifetime Achievement Award last year.
The quality of olive oil quality is influenced by the terroir, cultivar, climate, and the oil maker, similar to wines. The biggest threat to good quality local Extra Virgin Olive Oils is inferior olive oils which are imported, and bought by consumers in the belief that the imported products should be of a better quality. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted from the olives at a temperature below 30° C, Continue reading →
Tables had been set up in the cellar, a cool space on a hot Stellenbosch day, and Gary Jordan took us through the history of Jordan, the wine farm having been in the family’s ownership for 30 years. Gary said that they are a hands-on family, his late mom having helped to pick grapes and driving the truck. Over the 30 year period they rebuilt the worker cottages, planted the vineyards, built their own house, built the cellar, and the restaurant, which opened in 2009 with Chef George Jardine at the helm, the same year in which they opened High Timber in London with Neleen Strauss. Both Gary and his wife Kathy completed a Masters in Winemaking in California. The late Tony Mossop and Allan Mullins were saluted for encouraging the Jordans to do the course and in their winemaking.
Over time they have added four pockets of neighbouring land, now with a total of 165 ha, of which 105ha is planted with vines. The pay-off line at the end of the slide show said: ‘Celebrating 21 years of synergy between soul and soil‘. Continue reading →