Yesterday I attended a Tutored Tasting of some of our country’s exceptional wines, which had in common that they were made from vines many decades old. The Tasting was led by South Africa’s leading expert on Old Vines, Rosa Kruger being a passionate pioneer for the preservation of our country’s vintage vines. Continue reading →
The year is coming to a close, and has seen a major change, in that we sold all our guest houses, to create a new beginning Continue reading →
From tomorrow water restrictions will apply in Cape Town and Somerset West, to address the lower dam levels due to reduced winter rainfall in the Cape. This reflects climate change as well as the el Nino effect, which is particularly making itself felt currently in affecting the world’s weather.
The water restrictions have two major aspects: Continue reading →
* The Washington Post has visited, and was so impressed with the Van Ryn’s Distillery outside Stellenbosch, and the taste of brandy, that the writer recommends that tourists should go for our brandy instead of our wines! The writer visited Jorgensen’s Distillery Upland Organic Estate, both in Wellington, as well as Tokara.
* The 2014 BestCities Client Workshop will be held in Cape Town from 8 – 10 December, hosted by the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau. Delegates representing 22 international associations across a diversity of disciplines such as pharmaceutical, medical, science, academia, and technology will meet. Cape Town and its conference facilities will also be showcased to the delegates.
* The City of Cape Town is awaiting input from the public to its draft Coastal Management Programme, with a deadline Continue reading →
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 →
* From 1 February wine estates in the Cape Town municipal area, which applies to Somerset West too despite the wine estates there belonging to the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, may no longer sell ‘bottled wines’ on Sundays. Wine farms may apply to sell bottled wines from 11h00 – 18h00 on Sundays.
* Former American Vice-President and climate activist Al Gore is to visit South Africa in March, to spread the word for the Climate Reality Project about climate change and to train volunteer ‘climate leaders‘ to spread the word locally, reports The New Age.
* The IMF has forecast global economic growth at 3,7%, upping the rate from its October 2013 forecast. South Africa’s growth rate is forecast to be 2,8% this year. Weaknesses in our economy are highlighted as labour issues, the disparity between employed and unemployed, and increasing government debt.
* While two-thirds of large corporates are involved in Social Media in the USA, only 10% report benefiting from it, using it mainly as a means of marketing their brands to their consumers.
The first international Arctic Circle conference will be held in Reykjavik from Saturday until Monday to discuss climate change, shipping lanes, and economic development.
* The Association for Airline Passenger Rights is hosting its first conference on Air Travel Accessibility later this year, to focus on ways in which the travel by aeroplane by special needs passengers, including ‘Wounded Warriors, passengers with disabilities, passengers of size and senior citizens needing assistance‘ can be improved.
* Travel service suppliers such as airlines are under fire in the UK for charging excessive fees for paying with their credit cards, 2% extra being the maximum charge but in reality far more than this is charged.
* Southern African Tourism Update has announced that BA is introducing two A380 aircraft on its London – Johannesburg route from February (three times a week), and six times a week from March, with discounts of about 40%.
* Golf tourism will be an important part of the sports tourism strategy that is currently in development by the Department of Tourism, said its Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa a recent seminar exploring the potential of the South African golf tourism market. South Africa has a great golf product offering, but lack of awareness and access are the major obstacles to growing the market. Interesting golf tourism statistics were shared at the seminar:
• ‘There are 54 million golfers worldwide
• 25% of these say they will go on a golf holiday in the next 12 months
• Golfers on average spend 120% more per day than the general average
• Golf tourism bounces back from economic shocks quicker than any other tourism market’ Continue reading →
Climate change could reduce the land available for vine growing and wine production in South Africa by up to 55% by 2050, according to a study conducted by the British Conservation International, reports The Times.
The Conservation International study focused on the effect of climate change on the world’s wine-producing areas, and estimated that all wine-producing land internationally will reduce by 25% by 2050, the reduction in our country’s Cape Floral region expected to be double that of the global average.
Climate change may also influence the vine varieties that are grown, due to an increasing shortage of water, as is expected for the Western Cape. More vines may need to be irrigated too in the future. New wine producing areas will also develop, as a result of climate change, it potentially including KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Cape, and the southern parts of the Free State in our country.
Climate change may enhance the quality of our wines, the ‘warmer temperatures hastening ripening, producing grapes with bolder flavours and more sugar, and wine with more alcohol‘, the article concludes.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @Whale Cottage
Lindt Master Chocolatiers is hopping to the rescue of the endangered Riverine Rabbit, by donating a percentage of its sales of its Gold Easter Bunnies to the Endangered Wildlife Trust Riverine Rabbit Programme. Lindt has been making its Easter Chocolate Bunny for the past 60 years.
The Riverine Rabbit’s long term survival can only be secured by protecting its natural habitat, and the Endangered Wildlife Trust is restoring riverine veld near Loxton in the Karoo. This species of rabbit is one of the world’s rarest mammals. The Riverine Rabbit project is part of a larger programme of the sustainable management of the ecosystems in the Karoo, in order to build resilience to climate change.
Last year Lindt donated R250000 to the conservation project, and adopted a rabbit. The publicity created by Lindt for its donation led to additional donations from the public, according to Christy Bragg, the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Manager of the Riverine Rabbit Programme. A similar amount is expected to be raised for the conservation project this Easter. The V&A Waterfront has created a massive display for Lindt in its shopping mall.
Disclosure: The writing of this blogpost was ‘fueled’ by a Lindt Gold Easter Bunny, which was delivered by the Lindt Easter Bunny with the media release.
We wish all our readers a Happy Easter, Geseende Paasfees, Frohe Ostern!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage