A surprise announcement yesterday was that Graham Beck Wines will consolidate all the wine interests in its Graham Beck brand portfolio in its Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) range. The Graham Beck MCC focus will be supported by a ‘substantial financial investment‘, its CEO Chris du Toit has announced. Continue reading →
Yesterday 30 or so writers, mostly from Cape Town, dedicated a full 10 hour day to travel to Graham Beck Wines in Robertson, to celebrate its 25 year Silver Jubilee with a vertical tasting of more than 25 Cap Classiques and base wines which go into the making of the Graham Beck range of MCCs. The event was also a salute to Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, in having worked at Graham Beck for 25 years already.
Always organised, PR consultant Nicolette Waterford had organised a Le Quartier Français snack pack with water and juice for us for the two-hour bus trip. We arrived to a misty day in Robertson, but the day became sunny and warm. We were welcomed by the Graham Beck staff, and by Pieter with his trademark bubbly shirt in particular, and it felt a lot like Pieter’s ‘birthday’ party (he did recently celebrate a special milestone birthday). Continue reading →
* The Bureau of Economic Research Survey for the 4th quarter of this year shows that the expected growth rate in the volume of Accommodation business decreased to 5%, from 9% in the 3rd quarter. On average 11% growth is expected for the first quarter of next year. Disconcerting however is the drop in Business Confidence for the 4th quarter, down from 70 in the 3rd quarter, to 49 for this quarter, in a period which is usually buoyant. Another concern is the first anticipated decline in growth in business in the Western Cape, of -3%, for the first quarter of 2015, the drop from the 3rd quarter growth rate of 20% crashing down to +3% in the 4th quarter! (received from the Bureau of Economic Research)
* Nando’s has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in India, and plans to open 20 company stores in addition to those to be opened by its franchisees. This is the chicken fast-food company’s second stab at the Indian market.
* Chef Massimo Botturo, owner of the 3rd Best Restaurant in the world (Osteria Francescana in Modena), has denied speculations Continue reading →
KWV, Spier, and Nederburg are our country’s top three wine estates based on the number of Double Gold and Gold Awards they received at the 2014 Veritas Awards Gala Dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday evening, making up almost half the 51 Double Gold awards. The Veritas Awards are viewed as the ‘Oscars of the South African wine industry‘, with close to 1800 wines entered, a slight decrease on the number of 2013 entries.
KWV was announced as the Best Wine Producer for the fourth year running, and increased its Double Gold awards from four last year to seven this year. KWV also won 2 Double Golds for its Brandy. Spier has greatly enhanced its Veritas performance, with 7 Double Gold awards, compared to only one last year. Nederburg increased its Double Gold tally from four last year to six. Flagstone won Best Performer in the less than 10 wines entered category, and the KWV won in the 11+ wines entered category.
Four wine industry legends Danie de Wet of De Wetshof, Diaan de Villiers, Professor Diko van Zyl (author of historical works on Continue reading →
* Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde has slammed the national Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba for the Immigration Regulations, at Public Hearings on their impact on the tourism industry held today and which continue tomorrow. The media release from the Minister’s office says that ‘… Home Affairs had stuck the band-aid far from the wound: It became immediately clear to all that tests had not been done into the impact of these rules on law-abiding businesses and private citizens, versus those who do defy the rules. While the former are being pushed away, it appears the latter are unaffected. I have called on the National Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba, to retract his new rules in toto until a full investigation into their impact has been conducted, and until such time as we have the systems in place to back them up. He also needs to find the right mechanisms to address our problems’. The cost to the economy of the Regulations is R10 billion and 21000 jobs, and contradict efforts to grow the tourism industry, he added. The call-centre and film industries are severely effected too. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)
* Four Nobel Laureates have cancelled their trip to Cape Town to attend next month’s World Summit of Nobel Laureates, in reaction to the Department of Home Affairs refusing to provide the Dalai Lama with a visa to attend the Summit. The Continue reading →
* SAA and Boeing are collaborating on a biofuels project, to create a ‘sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain‘, making SAA the first airline in Africa to become environmentally sustainable.
* The new Cape Town cruise liner terminal should be completed in two years, and will be beneficial for tourism.
* Despite the European air controller strike having been called off for yesterday, the French air controllers did commence their strike yesterday, affecting flights to/from France.
* Hotel king Sol Kerzner has announced the development of a Continue reading →
Notorious Neil Pendock is launching his Pendock Wine Gallery at the Taj Cape Town hotel at 18h00, to many a most unusual move, in a minute space which would not allow more than a handful of persons to move inside the gallery at any time. The Gallery concept and its link to the hotel’s Mint Restaurant is as quirky as Pendock is.
The roughly 2 by 4 meter space is half of the Edit[ed] hotel shop, and once inside Pendock’s Wine Gallery one can see inside the shop through a glass door, a design weakness, as it does not match the less-is-more sparse design of the Gallery. Six ornate shelves will hold a bottle of wine each, according to a monthly theme, September being dedicated to Pinotage, but the choice of six is not explained, other than space constraints. However, Pendock does pride himself on his selection, in that the six (Black Elephant Vintners, Diemersdal, Manley Continue reading →
‘Excellence‘ is a word that forms part of the Graham Beck Wines’ pay-off line ‘The Origin of Excellence’ for its Still Wines range, and the company is true to its promise, in that its wine making as well as marketing activities attest to this. While the ultra premium wine range is dedicated to the founder of the company, the late Mr Graham Beck, it also is a tribute to the fine wine making skills of the Still Wine Cellarmaster Erika Obermeyer, and the Marketing team’s excellent quality presentation of its wines, demonstrated in a series of three functions they had organised last week with the most perfect summer weather (in the middle of winter). The tastings were once again held at the Camps Bay Retreat, a magnificent location overlooking the waves crashing at Glen Beach. The company has an incredible knack of choosing excellent weather days for its functions!
Yesterday we visited the Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room, one of two tasting rooms at Anthonij Rupert Wines, which previously belonged to Graham Beck Wines, and was bought by Johan Rupert from L’Ormarins next door, to enhance his access to water. Anthonij Rupert Wines has five wine brands, and 25 sub-brands, the largest range in Franschhoek, to our knowledge. Our invitation via PR consultancy Smart Communications & Events was to see the new tasting room and to try their new High Tea.
It was a grey wintry day, and the lit fire in the lounge was welcome and made the room cosy. Hospitality Manager Gidi Caetano, whom we know from her days as Manager of Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel, and then as GM of the previous French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar, explained the tasting room and company structure to us while we enjoyed the treats from the three tier High Tea stand, which consisted of scones, cream and jam, chocolate cupcakes, and candied orange and gooseberry tarts, prepared by Chef HW Pieterse and his team, beautifully decorated with rose buds, lavender, and pansies. We were served The Wellness Group teas, with its tea leaves in muslin bags. A range of flavours is available. One can book the High Tea with 24 hour notice, and organise a tea party to celebrate a special birthday, anniversary, stork tea, or just a special spoiling. The High Tea will usually include smoked salmon blinis, and cucumber, dill and horseradish sandwiches too. The treats offered change regularly, and could also include orange infused koeksisters, mini chocolate and hazelnut mousse pots, chocolate salami, and red berry tarts. Gidi told us about the herb garden growing alongside the manor house, with 32 medicinal (for educational use) and cooking herbs, the latter used in the food preparation on the estate. It was started from scratch a year ago.
On Tuesday last week a gathering of wine writers was spoilt with an invitation to taste the portfolio of seven Graham Beck Wines MCCs at The Westin Cape Town, followed by a sparkling lunch in the hotel’s Executive Club, pairing the MCCs and delectable dishes prepared by Chef Johann Breedt and his team.
Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira is synonymous with Graham Beck’s MCCs, having started with the company at its inception 24 years ago. He quickly earned the nickname ‘Bubbles‘, given to him by wine writer Melvyn Minnaar, and now wears the ‘branded’ shirt with his name on it! He truly is a bubbly character, and the passion for his seven MCCs comes to the fore when he speaks about them. The pay-off line for the MCC range has been ‘In Pursuit of the Perfect Bubble’, and is printed on the marketing collateral, representing Pieter’s quest to make the ultimate MCC. The brand has received outstanding international publicity as being the preferred sparkling wine of royals (served at the wedding of Swedish Princess Madeleine) and politicians such as the Obamas, who drank it on the eve of the President’s inauguration, and with President Zuma when the Obamas visited Pretoria ten days ago. In June Michelle Obama was spoilt with the bubbly, being on the menu for her lunch with Bono in his home town of Dalkey in Ireland. It was served at the inauguration of former President Nelson Mandela too. Prince Harry toasted his Sentebale Trust with Graham Beck earlier this year. Given the publicity, which was achieved without paying a cent for it, and the brand being the preference of such sterling customers, the pay-off line used now for the MCCs is ‘Graham Beck: The Crown of Celebration’. A crown has been added to the Graham Beck logo for the MCC range, looking as if it has always been there. Continue reading →