Entries tagged with “iconic”.


Yesterday I visited the Carrol Boyes head office in Paarden Eiland, and was shown around its extensive and impressive Showroom, and Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery production facility by its CEO Craig Ludwig.  (more…)

If there was one good thing about Vindaba, the wine tourism exhibition which ran alongside CapeWine 2012, it was the discovery of the innovative new KWV Sensorium at its Head Office in Paarl, which pairs highlights of the KWV Art Collection with KWV wines, and which has brought the art collection under one roof for the first time.

The creative idea came from a group think tank, curator Elsa Hoogenhout said, and has given the historic KWV Head Office interior a new and modern feel as one enters the building.  The Sensorium is believed to be the first wine and art pairing in the world.  The creativity is evident before one even enters the Sensorium, with a Reception bench made from wooden staves to which old office furniture has been affixed, being functional seating as well as expressing the differentness of the rejuvenated KWV, one of the leading and oldest (94 years) wine producers of the country, having been one of the top performers, with Nederburg, at the Veritas Awards on Saturday evening.  Using the services of two architecture firms, Albertyn Viljoen from Paarl, and Mashabane Rose from Johannesburg, the rectangular space has a central glass-encased KWV wine display and food preparation centre, with special lamps made from KWV branded crystal decanters.

Each of the 28 featured artworks out of the approximately hundred in the KWV Art Collection, which has been built up over the past sixty years, has been uniquely paired with a KWV wine, based on what the artwork represents or its colouring, a team effort between Elsa and her wine colleagues. At any given time, four of the paired artworks can be experienced by tasting the matching wines, and the four paintings and pairings will be rotated, so that one can study new paintings and taste new KWV wines each time one visits the Sensorium.  I was lucky to have Elsa telling me about each painting, and each is well described where it hangs, with five words that are uniquely descriptive of the artwork as well as of the KWV wine, not using traditional wine-speak.  The catalogue for the exhibition is informative, and contains each artwork, the wine pairing, as well as the QR code so that one can obtain more information about the wine from the KWV Sensorium website.  The paintings are hung in sections in the Sensorium, depending on their wine pairings, being white wines, red wines, and dessert wines.

The first artwork is entitled ‘The Funeral’ (of poet DJ Opperman), and is by Marjorie Wallace, showing his family in one group and his friends in another.  His family did not approve of his friends. Interesting is the seemingly contradictory pairing of the sad theme of the painting with the KWV Cathedral Cellar Cap Classique, and Elsa explained it as representing the rebellious and effervescent character of the poet.  The words associated with the wine and the artwork are: rebellion, reminiscent, icy rain, wet grass, effervescence.

This was followed by ‘Boland Bride‘ by Christo Coetzee, one of his last works, which is paired with the KWV The Mentors Viognier. Viewers of the artwork either love or hate it, Elsa said, and the reaction to Viognier is similar, she said. Yet both the artwork and the wine are complex, being layered. The five descriptive words for the wine and the artwork are: bittersweet, complex, floral, masculine, and Miss Havisham ( a character from Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’).

A work which was commissioned by the KWV is by Piet van Heerden and entitled ‘Boland Valley‘, painted from Paarl Mountain, and is an iconic painting of Paarl, and was therefore paired with the iconic KWV Roodeberg.  The words used to describe the painting and the wine are the following: legendary, rockface, vista, sunset, Kodak moment!

The pièce de résistance is the massive Irma Stern ‘Harvest’ painting, probably the largest surviving Stern artwork in South Africa, which was paired with KWV Red Muscadel, its colour matching the different shades of red and orange fruits in the painting.  The words describing the two masterpieces are the following: joyful, abundant, Garden of Eden, exotic, parable.

Other artists in the KWV Art Collection are JH Pierneef, David Botha, Gregoire Boonzaier, Carl Buchner, Frans Claerhout, Herbert Coetzee, Tinus de Jongh, Llewellyn Davies, Pranas Domsaitis, Elly Holm, Amos Langdown, Francois Krige, Erik Laubscher, Hugo Naudé, Alexander Rose-Innes, Edward Roworth, and Maurice van Essche.

Elsa wants visitors to pop in and enjoy their Nespresso coffee, cake of the day, and charcuterie platters, and taste the KWV wines. She is considering opening for longer one day a week.

At Laborie, a KWV property a little further down, off Main Road, wine is made, with Harvest Restaurant and guest accommodation too, a collection of works by Cecil Skotnes can be viewed.  The KWV commissioned Skotness to produce a number of works, his ‘Epic of Gilgamesh‘ being the best known of these, consisting of 18 hand-carved wood panels in a stinkwood and yellowwood frame, depicting the origin of wine.

The KWV Sensorium is a unique showcase of South African wine history, with old bottles of KWV wines, brandy, and even Eau-de-Cologne it once produced, uniquely paired with works of art by some of South Africa’s finest artists.

KWV Sensorium, 57 Main Street, Paarl.  R40 per person.  Tel (021) 807-3147  www.kwvsensorium.com Twitter: @KWVSensorium  Monday – Friday, 9h00 – 16h30, Saturday 9h00 – 14h00.

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

One of South Africa’s top wine estates, Hamilton Russell Vineyards from the Hemel & Aarde Valley outside Hermanus, is celebrating the 30th vintage of its award-winning and iconic Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, by launching a 5-year Vertical-Vintage pack of its Pinot Noirs from 2005 – 2009.

Pinot Noir is quoted in The Essential Guide to South African Wines as an “exasperating variety for growers,  wine-makers and consumers alike.  It is sometimes said to be feminine, alluring or capricious, but mostly it is the pursuit of richness and elegance which makes it ultimately satisfy the Holy Grail of winemaking”.  Hamilton Russell Vineyards is listed as one of the key South African Pinot Noir producers.  The 2010 Platter’s Guide awarded the 2009 4,5 stars and the 2008 4 stars, referring to it as ‘long a local classic”, and describing it as “black cherry, herbal aromas, hints of mushroom, forest floor, rhubarb”.

What makes the Vertical-Vintage Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir packs unique is that their back-labels have been specially made for the five-vintage pack, using the works of five top South African artists:

*   2005   William Kentridge

*   2006   Gerard Sekoto

*   2007   Gail Catlin

*   2008   JH Pierneef

*   2009   Beezy Bailey

Hamilton Russell Vineyards is selling 2400 Vertical-Vintage Pinot Noir packs for R 2000 each from its estate.   Only one-fifth of the total number of packs will be sold per year, for the next five years, and each year the cost will increase.   Half of the Vertical-Vintage Pinot Noir packs will be sold locally and the balance internationally.  Owner Anthony Hamilton Russell said: “While many enthusiasts have cellared Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir over the years, there are still a lot who only encounter the wine at a youthful stage.  This vertical allows enthusiasts to really get to know our Pinot Noir and its story of place over time and through different life stages”.

The first  Pinot Noir was planted on the estate in 1976, and its first vintage was sold in 1981.   Hamilton Russell describes the ‘almost uniquely classic and “European” style within the New World, with each vintage showcasing it in a subtly different way.  This is something which has excited wine collectors and Pinot Noir enthusiasts – particularly Burgundy enthusiasts – for 30 vintages.’

Using artwork on wine labels has been done by Tokara, used by William Kentridge for the promotion of his production of the opera ‘The Magic Flute’, and more recently by La Motte, in using woodcuts by JH Pierneef on the bottles as back labels for their Pierneef Collection.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus.  Tel (028) 312-3595.

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