On Tuesday I attended the first tasting of wines introduced by a winemaker and paired with a meal, at OpenWine, the tasting room representing a number of our country’s top wine brands in its Wale Street venue, at the invitation of co-owner Marta Gobbo. It is the first time that I have experienced their new format of wine tasting and food pairing. Continue reading →
*. Durban has been given the go-ahead to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a potential boost of R11 billion and employment for 11500 forecast. The cost to host the event is estimated at R 6,4 billion. The announcement of the winning bid will be made on Wednesday, and is likely to be awarded to Durban, as the former competitor city Edmonton withdrew earlier this year.
* 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 →
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 crayfish season closed at the end of the Easter weekend, kicking off an educational campaign by the City of Cape Town’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit to promote compliance with the Marine Living Resources Act. The seaworthiness of boats and certification of skippers was also checked, as was the minimum size and quantity of rock lobster caught.
* The first ever export of Pinotage grapes from our country to the USA has arrived, sold into the market by suppliers Gino Pinto Inc. The grape shipment has sold out.
* SA Tourism and National Geographic Channel have teamed up to create a Continue reading →
We recently wrote about Maison Estate, and the visit in winter by its Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg to Portugal, Spain, and Australia, from which he has brought back new menu ideas. These ideas have been incorporated into their menu, and a clever way of attracting attention to them is to incorporate them into a Tapas menu which greets one when one arrives in the Tasting Room. The quality of the Tapas is the best I have experienced to date, and is excellent value for money.
As one enters the Tasting Room and The Kitchen building at Maison, a lounge area to the immediate right has been transformed into the Deli, with a High Table at which one can sit with bar stools, and ‘decorated’ with scientific looking equipment and preserves made by Chef Arno and his team. A large shelving unit ‘divides’ the Deli section from the remaining (now much smaller) lounge, the shelves being filled by the hard work of Chef Arno, including green tomato atchar, pickled broad beans, marmalade, aubergine and courgette chutney, green figs, vinegar, chili relish, pickled Jerusalem artichokes, onion relish, spiced tomato ketchup, plum chutney, olive oil, courgette relish, yellow tomato atchar, olives, lemon cordial, and fresh ciabatta. The items on the shelves are interspersed with home decor items from Weylandts stores, owned by Maison owner Chis Weylandt, including tea sets, glass jugs, wooden boards, cutlery sets, placemats, bowls, plates, and more. A refrigerated display unit contains jars of duck rillettes, pork rillettes, pork terrine, pancettas, saucisson, salamies, smoked yellowtail, fresh farm eggs, lemons, massive 5-year old Angus six week dry-aged thick 500 gram slices of T-bone (R300), and guineafowl pistachio parfait. Almost all the produce used for the items sold in the Deli was harvested from the farm. The styling of the Deli section was done by Marc-Anthony Hewson-de Swardt, Group Visual Merchandiser of Weylandts. Continue reading →
* A travel study conducted on behalf of Google in the USA has found that mobile Apps are less likely to be used to plan and book a trip, multiple devices now being used to book trips. The ‘Traveler’s Road to Decision‘ is yet to be published, but report highlights have been released. Search engines are increasingly consulted first in planning a trip, and in searching for car rental, cruises, and accommodation, at the expense of Apps, for leisure travelers, while business travelers mostly use mobile Apps to make travel bookings.
* Telegraph Travel recommends how to spend 36 hours in Franschhoek, including staying at La Residence, eating at Pierneef à La Motte, The Kitchen at Maison,Grande Provence, and La Residence; tasting wine at Boekenhoutskloof (sneaking in Waterford in Stellenbosch); and visiting the Huguenot Monument, Babylonstoren, the Franschhoek Motor Museum, and the Holden Manz Gallery.
* The Pinot Noir producers in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley are hosting their second Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration at Bona Dea Estate on 30 and 31 January, with only 150 tickets available for the event. The key-note dinner speaker will be Norman Hardie, regarded as Canada’s best Pinot Noir producer. (received via e-mail from Hamilton Russell Vineyards)
* South Africa has the lowest transport costs compared to 50 other countries, according to GoEuro’s Transportation Price Index. For air travel our country ranked third cheapest, while our costs of train travel ranked cheapest of all countries.
‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on the Overberg last night, visiting Hermanus and Stanford, as well as Elgin, but this was not mentioned, being described as being just outside Hermanus! It was a whale of an episode highlighting the Southern Right whale visitors, the sustainable apple and pear farming in Elgin, and Marianna’s sustainable restaurant in Stanford. No mention was made however of Hermanus’ produce nor its world-renowned wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley!
Hayden raved about the Southern Right whales, which visit Hermanus’ Walker Bay from July, he said incorrectly (they arrive from the Antarctic from May onwards) until early December. On the Facebook page of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ it is incorrectly claimed that Hermanus is the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the World‘, copywriting nonsense. Hermanus is however known as the offering the best land-based whale watching in the world, which is something different, and Hayden did say words to this effect in the episode!
To add some real adventure to his visit to Hermanus, Forest Adventures’ Clinton Lerm (infamous for wanting to change the name of the village to ‘Lermanus‘ when his family tried to take over the tourism management of the town, to their own Continue reading →
* The 2014 season will be remembered by local winemakers as one of the most challenging. For Sumaridge Wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley it was the smallest harvest in ten years, and the most stressful for winemaker Gavin Patterson. For Kleine Zalze winemaker Johan Joubert it was the most challenging too, brought about by unseasonal rain in October, November, and January, which affected the Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc bushvine in particular, the bunches doubling in volume. Spraying regimes were affected too. For Sumaridge’s investors it was a ‘year of sacrifice’. For Kleine Zalze the harvest was delayed, and more tartaric acid was added. Chardonnay, Pinotage, and Merlot benefited from the weather conditions, while Sauvignon Blanc was negatively affected, with disease and ripeness. The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus was more strongly influenced by the weather than was the Swartland. Patterson said about the 2014 vintage: ‘It’s really going to sort the sheep from the goats. Very sadly many winemakers are driven by accountants at the head of their companies and that will have an effect on how 2014 is judged’.
* Next year sees two major motor shows in Johannesburg: AutoMechanika will take place from 6 – 9 May, while The Johannesburg International Motor Show will be held from 14 – 25 October.
* Alan Winde, the Western Cape Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, and Agriculture, is at the Regional Leaders Summit in Atlanta in Georgia, to sign a ‘strategic agreement’ between the province/state. Continue reading →