Tag Archives: DGB

Eat Out Awards 2018: a refreshing change, knocks old-guard chefs off their multi-restaurant perches!

I could not think it possible that the Eat Out Awards 2018 could be so refreshingly different, but it appears that new Head Judge Margot Janse has created a fresh new look at the restaurant judging criteria. Many of our top old-guard chefs took a severe beating at the Awards last night!  Continue reading →

Going Green: two major solar power projects launched in the Western Cape!

VandA SolarIn the past two weeks two major solar power projects have been announced, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and at the DGB factory in Wellington.

The R20 million Waterfront solar project is at an early stage, and reflects the commitment by the country’s most popular tourist Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 7/8 October

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAB Miller is looking to open up the image of beer from just being a sportlovers’ drink to one that is enjoyed by women, and can be served paired with foods.  They are looking to coffee marketing, which has seen a ‘one-dimensional drink‘ transformed into a multi-faceted beverage. The company owns world beer brands such as Peroni, Grolsch, Coors Light, and Miller.

*   Concern is being expressed about the viability of eleven new hotels which are planned to be built in Cape Town in the next four years, adding another 2000 rooms of 3-star quality in the main.  Seven of the hotels are planned to be built within a 10 km radius of the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Cape Town has about 11700 hotel rooms currently.  The new hotel openings could further worsen winter seasonality in the city!

*   Chef Michael Broughton from Terroir on the Kleine Zalze wine estate is celebrating the restaurant’s 10th anniversary with the Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 4 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Our top 10 WhaleTales  blogposts, based on unique readership for October, were the following:

1.   The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Awards shortlist predictions

2.   Pieter versus Pendock: Sour Grapes

3.  Restaurant Review of La Parada Bree Street

4.   Delaire Graff makes history in Eat Out Restaurants Awards

5.   Breaking News: Pendock Proceedings Pending!

6.   WOSA Sommelier World Cup competition

7.   New Restaurant Openings and Closures

8.   ‘Pendock Uncorked’ TIMES Live corked, blanked out!

9.   Charly’s Cake Angels Season 2

10.   Cape Town and Winelands Restaurant Winter Specials

*   There are more than 20000 food blogs, and more blogs are devoted to food than to any other topic!

*   SAA has announced the wines it will be serving on board its flights Continue reading →

Wine Sommelier training becomes Tourism priority!

A new R11 million one-year Sommelier training program has been launched by the Department of Tourism in conjunction with the Cape Wine Academy.  It is apt that the program was launched in Franschhoek, which was described by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk as ‘the best blueprint for wine tourism in SA’.

Launched at La Motte last month, the objective of the training program is to grow the skills of 200 learners in one of the identified ‘niche sectors being of particular importance for SA, wine tourism being one of them’, said Minister van Schalkwyk, reported the Franschhoek Tatler.  He added that there were good job prospects once the trainees have completed their program.  The new sommelier training program follows the Minister’s recent Youth Chef training programme.

Cape Wine Masters Lizette Tolken and Derek Ramsden are some of the lecturers involved in the Sommelier training program, which incorporates four six-week practical work segments in the wine industry. For the first practical, which has been completed, distributors and wholesalers such as Distell, Meridian and DGB, Vinimark, Smollens, Liquidity, Panniers, Wine Logistics, Swirls, NixAn Wines, Nicholson Smith, International Wines, together with Beyerskloof, Delheim, Simonsig, Vergelegen and Spier, all took in learners. The practicals will also include front-of-house training in restaurants, retail outlets and hotels such as Southern Sun, Ultra Liquors, Spar, Shoprite Checkers, The Butcher Shop & Grill, and The Baron Group.

Minister Van Schalkwyk has appealed to the private sector to support and enhance the programmes of his Department, and thanked it for the important role it plays in the development and promotion of tourism. “It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment, as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists. Through its training programmes, government is committed to encouraging the further growth, development and profitability of the tourism private sector by providing already-trained staff, such as these sommeliers, who are immediately able to fulfil a productive role in the hospitality sector,” the Minister concluded.

While the Sommelier training program is commendable, one wonders why the South African Sommelier Association, under the chairmanship of respected Sommelier and Burrata owner Neil Grant, was not involved.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Graham Beck Franschhoek Cellar Door operation to continue until mid-2012, despite Rupert sale

The sale of the Graham Beck Wines Franschhoek farm to Antonij Rupert Wines, the owners of the neighbouring L’Ormarins estate, resulted from a consolidation of the Graham Beck Wines’ assets, and should not create any visible changes at Graham Beck Franschhoek for the next 15 months or so in terms of cellar door tasting and sales.  The Graham Beck brand and its wine range will continue to be marketed as before, says Graham Beck Wines Global Sales and Marketing Manager Etienne Heyns.

It was announced last week that Antonij Rupert Wines had bought the Franschhoek operation of Graham Beck Wines, the culmination of discussions that had taken place over a number of years between Johan Rupert and the late Graham Beck.  With the passing of Mr Beck last year, the sale of the Franschhoek property reached its natural conclusion.  The deal was signed last week, and is subject to certain conditions, as well as regulatory approvals.  The sale includes 452 ha of land, of which only 16 % is planted to vine, a cellar each for red and white wine production, the tasting room and other administrative buildings, and the La Garonne manor house.  The bulk of the Graham Beck wines are produced in Robertson, including their award-winning Cap Classique sparkling wines. 

The sale to Mr Rupert’s company is considered to be of benefit to both parties.  Antonij Rupert Wines’ intention with the property after the sale is unclear, and could be to expand the thoroughbred stud they already have on L’Omarins, and/or continue the winemaking under the L’Omarins and Rupert & Rothschild wine brands.  For Graham Beck Wines the sale to Antonij Rupert Wines is one of comfort, in that the farm, which Mr Beck loved, will go to someone they know and trust, that Mrs Becks’ beloved gardens will be well looked after, that the good name and reputation of the Becks will be upheld on this property, and that the estate will continue to be operated with care and consideration for the beautiful buildings and cellars on the estate. 

For Graham Beck Wines ultimately it may mean finding a new cellar door for the Graham Beck wines, in addition to their Robertson tasting room.    They have a number of options, including using Steenberg Vineyards in Constantia (a sister Graham Beck property) as the tasting room and sales point,  or even being as bold as DGB’s Brampton, and setting up shop in a town such as Franschhoek or Stellenbosch, to continue connecting with their winelovers close to Cape Town.

 While Heyns would not commit himself to a figure of the percentage of sales that go through the Franschhoek cellar door specifically, it appears to be below 10 %, by far the larger percentage of Graham Beck wines being exported.  Only a small percentage of the wines is produced in Franschhoek, and this means that the sale of the property will lead to increased production in Robertson, or perhaps even at Steenberg Vineyards. The Graham Beck vineyards in Firgrove are not part of the sale.

Gary Baumgarten, CEO of Graham Beck Wines, said in the media release that “None of the other Beck family wine interests form part of this transaction, there will be no change in the ownership of the Graham Beck Wines group, and the management of the operations of the Graham Beck Wines group remains unchanged”.   Johan Rupert, owner of Antonij Rupert Wines, said:  “The late Graham Beck was a friend of over thirty years.  We have been neighbours for decades and he offered us the opportunity to acquire the land adjacent to L’Omarins some time ago.  As a farmer, it is generally accepted that if, during your lifetime, the neighbouring farm becomes available, you are very fortunate”.  

It will be a pity to see the closure of the Graham Beck Franschhoek cellar door next year, given that it is one of the most modern and professional tasting rooms in the Franschhoek valley, and that its sparkling wines in particular are so highly regarded.   I have no doubt that Graham Beck Wines will find a creative solution to creating a new cellar door, which will allow them to continue connecting with their winelovers.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Brampton Wine Studio brings its wines to its market

I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the new Brampton Wine Studio in the heart of Stellenbosch, a small space with the most attractive interior design, which had been done by Nica Design Studio, and which opened two months ago.

Brampton is a Rustenburg brand which was recently taken over by DGB Wines.  Its marketing strategy is to bring its wine range to the market, and to not expect its market to find its wines on a farm.  The bottom end of Church Street has become trendy, with a Vida e Caffè, the Dylan Lewis gallery, the Dorp Street gallery, a pearl shop with the most unusual decor, and the very good De Oude Bank Bakkerij, and Brampton’s Wine Studio adds a touch of class to this collection.   The Brampton capsules and the wine labels were redesigned when the brand went to DGB, I was told by charming and informative Manager Harry Joubert. 


A blackboard covers one wall, and in a funky handwriting details the cost of the tasting (R25 for 5 wines), that delivery of the wines to anywhere in the Western Cape is free of charge, and that food is served, being different dishes every day.    Dishes available on the day that I visited were a salami, guacamole, peppadew, and feta wrap, and a mushroom potato bake, both served with a salad and costing a most affordable R35.  A platter of five cheeses with biltong, grapes and figs costs R57.    The blackboard section about the food is not very visible, so it was a surprise to hear that food is served, and is worth asking for.      The mushroom and potato bake was served with a material serviette and stylish cutlery, and one sits at wooden tables with trendy black plastic chairs with a ‘woven’ look. Origin coffee is used to make coffees, the cappuccino machine still being awaited.

Harry told me that the Brampton wines are made from grapes which come from Elgin, Paarl and Stellenbosch, and that each variety of Brampton is made by a different DGB winemaker.  All the Brampton winemakers get together, however, to ensure consistency in brand character.   The company is very focused on reducing its carbon footprint, and that is why there is little paper in the Tasting Studio, all information being on the blackboard, and what is printed is done so on recycled paper.   Local suppliers are used as far as possible.   The Brampton wines are very affordable, the 2010 Rosé costing R39,95; the Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Chardonnay 2010 and Viognier 2008 costing R49,95; and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, both 2008 vintages, costing R54,95.   I had a small glassful of Sauvignon Blanc, and loved its fruity and refreshing taste on a hot Stellenbosch day.

I love what DGB has done with Brampton in Stellenbosch from a marketing perspective, and also its modern classy design.  It will be interesting to see if the wine consumer will buy wines from a ‘tasting shop’, rather than from a wine estate.   Hats off to DGB for doing something new and different in wine marketing! 

Brampton Wine Studio, 11 Church Street, Stellenbosch. The Order Form does not list their street address in Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 883-9097.   www.brampton.co.za (The website has no reference to the new Brampton Wine Studio, and does not seem to have been updated since the take-over by DGB).  Monday – Friday 10h00 – 19h00, Saturday 10h00 – 14h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage