Entries tagged with “Johann Laubser”.


Earlier this week my friend Aurélie Jullien and I had lunch at Delaire Graff restaurant, as part of a two-day road trip to show her Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. For me the lunch was the highlight of our trip, not just its excellent food and wines, but also interacting with the estate GM and hearing about their new expansion plans. (more…)

DG Sunrise Whale CottageOn Friday last week we were invited to attend the launch of Delaire Graff’s new Crémant de Loire blend MCC, unique in that it is Chenin Blanc driven, and a unique blend with Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes.  The new MCC is named after the ‘118.08 carat Delaire Sunrise Diamond, the largest square emerald cut  fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world‘, in reflecting the colour of the yellow diamond.

Winemaker Morné Vrey introduced the MCC to us, saying that in the seven years that he has been at Delaire Graff, he knew the day would come that he would be asked to make an MCC.   He wanted to make something different, so traveled to the Loire valley, the making of the MCC being ‘a learning curve for him‘, he said.   Given Delaire Graff’s strong Loire-style wine DG Sunrise Morne Vrey Whale Cottageportfolio, he decided to make the Chenin-dominant (58%) MCC, with 34% Chardonnay and 8% Cabernet Franc.  The Chenin Blanc grapes came from 20 year old Stellenbosch bush vine, while the Chardonnay grapes came from Elgin, and the Cabernet Franc from Stellenbosch. It spent 15 months on the lees. Residual sugar is 5,9 g/liter.

The first Sunrise was bottled last year, but the MCC will be sold NV (Non Vintage).  The MCC will only be sold at Delaire (more…)

Chenin Winter Showcase Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday we attended the Chenin Blanc Winter Showcase, held at Delaire Graff, at which 22 Chenin Blanc wines were presented for tasting.  The feedback was that Chenin Blanc is ‘flying‘, and the recent announcement that Standard Bank is sponsoring the Association has added a lot of confidence for both the producers and even drinkers of Chenin Blanc.  It was commented that the Chenin Blanc Association is the leader relative to other varietal associations in our country. Chenin Blanc is not only the largest wine cultivar in South Africa, but also is the ‘most dynamic wine category’ in South Africa, said Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association.

Standard Bank was visible through its branding on banners, pens, note pads, and tasting note sheets. CEO Ben Kruger, head of Business Banking in the Western Cape Willie du Plessis, and Western Cape marketing executive Ntombi Kulati attended too.  The total value of the sponsorship is R1,2 million over a three year period, starting at R300000 this year, and growing by R100000 each year.  The contract contains an option to renew the sponsorship.  The marketing muscle of the bank was seen as the major benefit for the Association’s winemakers, whose brands are likely to receive far more visibility in future.  The sponsorship also contains prize monies for an annual Chenin Blanc competition, the top ten Chenin Blanc winemakers being rewarded with a R20000 prize each, which is to go to the development of their staff. (more…)

Delaire Graff The Chinese Girl painting Whale Cottage PortfolioOne of the social highlights of this year was the unveiling yesterday of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘The Chinese Girl’, South Africa’s most internationally recognised painting, at its new home at Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, which celebrates its 10th year of being in Mr Graff’s ownership.  The 40th Graff jewellery store was also opened at the wine estate, the first in Africa.

Delaire was bought by Laurence Graff OBE in 2003, and he invested a lot of money in setting up a cellar, a winetasting centre, the main restaurant, and investing in interior design created by the late David Collins from London. The Boutique Hotel followed, which houses Indochine and the Spa, also decorated by Collins.  Commendable has been Mr Graff’s investment in South African art, and his William Kentridge dominates the main restaurant,  while Lionel Smit’s work is striking, a four-piece work as well as a portrait of Mr Graff dominating the reception of the main building. (more…)

Platter's South African Wine Guide 2014 'Aquamarine' EditionIt was a boisterous Diners Club Platter’s South African Wines 2014 ‘prize-giving’ last night, with a record 80 wines receiving the much-desired 5 star accolade, selected blind-tasted from double the number of 5-star finalists.  It was an evening that honoured publisher Andrew McDowall, and saw new publisher JP Rossouw in action for the first time.

A number of records were set last night, with the largest number of wines evaluated ever, at 7434, there being 49 new entries, and close to 900 producers of wine in the Guide.  After an absence, brandy and sherry-style wines were awarded again.

On arrival, sipping Klein Constantia MCC, a number of well-known winemakers and estate owners were visible, giving one a taste of some of the 5 star winners, including last year’s Winery of the Year winner Gottfried Mocke of Cape Chamonix, Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Anthony Hamilton Russell, Johann Laubser of Delaire Graff, and Ginny Povall of Botanica.    We commented that it was wonderful to see so many women winemakers amongst the top 5 star recipients!  Once we were allowed to enter the venue at the Vineyard Hotel, the wines were displayed in groups, for one to taste and to see the 5 star winners by their presence.

David Hughes sang the praises of Andrew, and his direct involvement with 29 of the 34 Platter’s Wine Guides.  He described Andrew as a man ‘massive in character’, who has a nickname ‘Grunter‘, who got himself smuggled into a Nederburg Wine Auction via the boot of a car when he did not receive an invitation, who fell onto a cannon at the bottom of the steps of the Mount Nelson when he slid down the bannister at his 40th birthday party, a man one can trust when he gives you his word, ‘and a hell of a good guy‘, warning JP that he has big boots to fill in taking over from Andrew.  There was roaring applause for Andrew.

Andrew looked well, and his dry humour was on full form, saying thatPlatter's Andrew McDowall Whale Cottage Portfolio the romance with Diners Club last year had led to marriage during the year.  He was full of praise for his ‘young, strong and virile’ successor JP.  He was proud that the edition was printed locally and not in Singapore.  He revealed the ‘Walker Bay blue’ cover, saying that they had considered calling it ‘Pendock sea sick’, which brought the house down!  He praised editor Philip van Zyl as the ‘most ethical man’, which led to applause from the floor. The 80 5 star winners include 7 brandies, up from 62 last year.  I asked Andrew what he would be doing with his time, and he said he wasn’t sure, but getting better at bridge is one of his goals. (more…)

On Tuesday I attended the Chenin Blanc Association Winter Showcase at Delaire Graff Estate, and was reminded by the association chairman Ken Forrester, a passionate champion for the varietal, that Chenin Blanc’s unique attributes are that it comes in a diversity of styles, and that it is the wine that can be paired with the largest range of foods.

Six months ago I had attended a first such Chenin Blanc Summer Showcase at the One&Only Cape Town, which focused on the full spectrum of Chenin Blanc styles, both light and fruity, and rich and fuller.  The association has classified chenin blanc styles on the basis of residual sugar:

*   fresh and fruity (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – unwooded (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – wooded (less than 9g/litre)

*   rich and ripe – slightly sweet (9 – 30g/litre)

*   sweet (30+g/litre)

*   sparkling (tank fermented or Cap Classique)

Interesting consumer research was presented at the previous Showcase, highlighting that our country’s largest grape variety is not well known at all by local wine drinkers.  The Chenin Blanc Association is focusing on changing the low level of awareness about the varietal, in hosting bi-annual showcases of Chenin Blancs which are more suitable to drink in summer (light, fresh and fruity), and those that are better suited to winter (rich and fuller).  Another goal the association has is to see more restaurant wine lists feature a Chenin Blanc category with a number of different options, instead of this varietal being lumped into an ‘Other/Blend’ category.  The association is ably managed by Ina Smith.

Ken explained the procedure for selecting the vast total of 26 Chenin Blancs we tasted, from the hundreds that are made in our country.  The 96 association members were invited to submit their wines, meeting the criteria of them being made from 30 year old bush vines or older, and having an alcohol content of 13,5 – 14,5%, which led to 30 entries being received.  Jeff Grier from Villiera and Association Vice-Chairman, and Carel van der Merwe from De Morgenzon whittled the Chenin Blanc portfolio for the Winter Showcase down to 26 wines. Grier led the tasting, which was held in the Delaire Graff restaurant, and he shared short notes about each of the wines, which were tasted in flights, it not being clear exactly what each of the seven flights had in common. I shared a tasting table with Delaire Graff GM Johann Laubser, Ken, and Orielle Berry from Bolander.

Our table particularly liked the De Morgenzon Reserve 2011, Tierhoek 2011 (grapes come from the Piekenierskloof area, also the area from which the Botanica chenin grapes are sourced), and Mullineux White Blend 2012 (with Viognier). Other Chenin Blancs we tasted included AA Badenhorst Secateurs 2012, Simonsig ‘Sur Lie’ 2012, Doran Vineyards Barrel Fermented 2012, Nederburg The Anchorman 2012, Spioenkop ‘1900’ 2011, Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2012, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2011, Sijjn 2011 (made by David Trafford), Joostenberg Fairhead 2010, Oldenburg 2012, Jordan 2012, Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Barrel Fermented 2012, Delaire Graff 2012, Diemersfontein Carpe Diem 2011, Bellingham The Bernhard Series Old Vine 2011, Spier 21 Gables 2011, Stellenrust ’46’ Barrel Fermented 2010, Cederberg Five Generations 2010, The FMC 2010, Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest 2010, and Villiera Inspiration Noble Late Harvest 2010.  What was impressive is that so many of the top winemakers attended the tasting too, including Andrea Mullineux, Razvan Macici of Nederburg, Erika Obermeyer from Graham Beck Wines, David Trafford, Bruwer Raats, and Kathy Jordan.

De Morgenzon uses cement eggs for its Chenin Blanc production, these fermentation and maturation vessels having been developed in France twelve years ago.  Eben Sadie was the first South African wine maker to introduce cement eggs locally, and now they are also used by Boekenhoutskloof and Hamilton Russell.  Ken explained that winemakers follow trends too, and cement eggs are one of them.  Ken spoke about winemaking, and shared that one must make wine that the customer enjoys, even though it is not always the winemaker’s taste.

To get to Indochine, the Asian fusion restaurant at Delaire Graff, we took a short cut through winemaker Morné Vrey’s cellar, and passed Chef Christiaan Campbell’s vegetable garden.  Indochine is in the Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa building, set back from the main restaurant.  The entrance is ‘guarded’ by two Dylan Lewis cheetahs, and there are more on the lawn outside the restaurant.  The Lodge interior is dominated by art of the same contemporary artists whose work is in the main restaurant building, including Lionel Smit, Anton Smit, and Deborah Bell.  The restaurant seats about 40 patrons, and it has a view over Stellenbosch on a clear day.  It has the most impressive work of art by Lionel Smit and Andre Stead on the ceiling, called ‘Flight of the Swallows’.  The colour scheme is blue, reflected in the leather seating and the very classy looking menu and winelist folder.  The chef is Virgil Kahn.

The very efficient waiters brought fritters made from cabbage, fennel and spinach as well as bread crisps  to the table, with a black bean and sweet soy sauce, spicy tomato relish, and cucumber and mint sauce.  Johann Laubser and Delaire Graff winemaker Morné Vrey were also at the table, and I asked Morne how the Showcase would influence his Chenin Blanc wine making.  He said that he had learnt a few things he may try for the next vintage, and it had set a benchmark, but it had also helped him to define what he would not do in his Chenin Blanc making.  Johann shared that Africa’s first Graff diamond store will open in the main Delaire Graff restaurant building in September, and it is being designed by the international interior designer of all Graff stores.

The amuse bouche was an unusually presented kingklip su mai (dim sum) with a gengati gel, and a citrus and fennel emulsion, a simple fresh start to the meal.  The wine stewards and waiters offered the guests a continuous choice of the Chenin Blanc wines we had tasted.  The Thai Duck starter, with pickled radish, bamboo, the most delicious cashew nut brittle, and orange, was the favourite course of many guests.  The main course is one of the signature dishes of the restaurant, being the 7 Thai spice pork belly served with edamame beans, pickled garlic, and red pepper.  An interesting looking and very tasty black rice was served with the pork.  The dessert was a colourful mango parfait served with passion fruit, rose water ginger crumble, and raspberry.

Most of the wine writers and wine makers had not been to Indochine before, and expressed how impressed they were with the restaurant and its good service.  Both the Chenin Blanc Association and Delaire Graff were gracious and generous hosts, and Ken thanked all involved for a fabulous event.

Disclosure:  We received a bottle of Tierhoek Chenin Blanc 2011 with our media pack.  My son is the Manager of Indochine.

Chenin Blanc Association www.chenin.co.za Twitter:  @CheninBlancAsso

Indochine, Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa, Tel (021) 885-8160.  www.delaire.co.za Twitter: @DelaireGraff

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

On Thursday wine and food writers were spoilt with a tasting of Delaire Graff wines followed by an excellent lunch, to celebrate the launch of its outstanding new Laurence Graff Reserve 2009, which was revealed at CapeWine 2012 for the first time, and which achieved a 5-star rating from Platter 2013, the only Cabernet Sauvignon to receive this top rating this year, judged by esteemed Michael Fridjhon.

Delaire Graff Estate CEO Johann Laubser spoke about the great vision which owner Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds International, had in developing the estate into what it has become now, having opened four years ago, immediately visible to visitors through the beautiful plants along the drive to the restaurant, the gardens having been developed by renowned landscaper Keith Kirsten.  Laurence Graff has a fine eye for detail, and invests in the finer things in life, which is evident through the outstanding artwork by South Africa’s leading artists throughout the building, including the painting of Mr Graff by Lionel Smit in the entrance hall.  He shared that Mr Graff had left school at 14, had become an apprentice jeweller, and owned his first jewellery store at the age of 23.  He is now listed on the Fortune 500 list, having grown his wealth on his own, without any family money.  He likened Mr Graff’s marketing insight to that of Dr Anton Rupert.  A number of interior decorators were invited to pitch for the contract, but Mr Graff wanted the best, choosing David Collins from London. Mr Graff is passionate about his property, we were told.

The Laurence Graff Reserve 2009 came about, with winemaker Morné Vrey bringing Mr Laubser a sample of wine from remarkable barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes coming from a 12 year old vineyard on the estate, which were hand picked and sorted, with whole berry fermentation, and basket pressing to create a gentle extraction of the fruit. The wine was matured for 15 months in new French oak barrels, and then the best five barrels out of 60 were selected, matured for another five months, and then blended with 8% of Bordeaux varietals. They felt it was good enough to become their flagship brand, and wanted to name it after the owner.  Only 1370 bottles have been produced, and the wine will only be produced in exceptional years. The new wine is being sold at $200 per bottle, one of the most expensive bottles of wine in South Africa, and the first to be marketed locally in a dollar price.  Platter gave it the 5-star crown immediately. The wine was described as being complex, multi-layered, having structure and balance, being immediately drinkable yet would age if put down, or even once the bottle is opened. Delaire Graff only has 20 ha to plant its vines, and uses its own land to grow Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.  Grapes are bought in for the white wines.

Chef Christiaan Campbell, who has been at Delaire Graff since it opened, is excited about the Eat Out 2012 Top 10 Restaurant Awards, his restaurant being on the Top 19 shortlist.  He shared that he has never won an award, and has never been on the Eat Out shortlist before.  We were extremely spoilt, the restaurant having been closed for our function, with a large complement of waitrons looking after our every need.  On a perfect wind-free day we sat outside on the terrace, with the magnificent view onto the Simonsberg.  I was lucky to share the table with Marketing & PR Manager Tanja Mackay-Davidson, gregarious Greg Landman who had us giggling throughout the lunch, award-winning wine writer Joanne Gibson, winemaker and writer Jonathan Snashall, Batonage Blog writers Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee, and Delaire Graff winemaker Morné Vrey’s assistant Jacqueline van Wyk.

Chef Christiaan is dedicated to the ethics of food sourcing in his restaurant, and obtains his meat and eggs from Farmer Angus McKintosh at Spier, and vegetables from his own garden at Delaire Graff as well as from Daniel Kruger’s vegetable and herb garden at La Motte. The bread basket offered four different bread varieties, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The starter reflected his dedication to freshness, being spring vegetables, lemon confit, set goat’s milk, goat’s cheese ice, and almond cream, which was paired with Delaire Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (grapes come from Olifantsrivier, Walker Bay and Durbanville, costing R70 at the cellar door) and Delaire Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (grapes coming from Stellenbosch, Darling, and Durbanville,  with some Franschhoek Sémillon added, costing R90 at the cellar door).

The Intermediate dish was a lovely medley of octopus, lobster, pickled radish, broad beans, crackers, drizzled with a lobster vinaigrette, paired with the Delaire Graff Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2010, the Sémillon coming from Franschhoek, and the Sauvignon Blanc from Olifantsrivier, Durbanville, and a 45 year old Franschhoek vineyard,  and costing R180 at the cellar door.

Our main course was served on beautiful black plates imported from France, Tanja shared, and was a slow-cooked lamb shoulder, served with potato pavé, broad beans, and velouté, paired with the new Laurence Graff Reserve 2009.  Tanja had a special Vegetarian dish prepared, and it looked so delicious that she ordered another plateful of it, and shared it at our table.

The dessert was a delicious study in chocolate, consisting of a chocolate tart, banana crumble, peanut  butter ice cream, and a most delicious home-made ‘Del-air’ chocolate that looked brittle, but was as soft as Aero, which was paired with Delaire Graff Cape Vintage 2010, a port-style wine, and coffee and tea.

Disclosure: We received a special gift pack of the precious Laurence Graff Reserve 2009 with our media pack.

Delaire Graff Estate, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 885-8160. www.delaire.co.za Twitter: @DelaireGraff    Wine Lounge Monday – Sunday 10h00 – 17h00. Lunch Monday – Sunday, Dinner Monday – Saturday.

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

The world’s leading winelovers, wine experts, wine traders, sommeliers, and wine journalists have started arriving in Cape Town for the three day Cape Wine 2012, being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from tomorrow until Thursday, and Vindaba running alongside it.

More than 5000 wines from 300 wine estates are on show at CapeWine 2012, and more than 30 international wine journalists are expected to attend, having a tourism benefit for Cape Town and the Western Cape.  Delegates are attending from Europe, the UK, the USA, other African countries, South America, China, and Japan.  For the first time SA Tourism, in conjunction with WOSA (Wines of South Africa), have organised Vindaba, an exhibition of wine tourism products in the Western Cape.

CapeWine 2012 is held every two years, but was not held in 2010 due to the soccer World Cup, and is one of the largest marketing events organised by WOSA.  For the first time WOSA has gone green to reflect ‘the South African wine industry’s environmental consciousness’.  This includes booking guests into hotels within walking distance of the convention centre; only recycled paper will be used for printing, if printing is required at all; the stands are made from recycled boards; most stands will not use electricity, but rather LED lighting; all bottles, corks, and screw caps will be recycled; no bottled water will be available;  cork supplier Amorim will create a lounge made from recycled cork; media information will be made available in bamboo memory sticks; VIP bags have been made from recycled advertising banners; lanyards have been made from ‘sunbaked paper’; all fish served at the Green Tie event will be SASSI certified, and all eats will be made from local produce; the ‘green ties’ which allow entry to the event have been made from discarded plastic; solar lighting will be used for the Green Tie event; furniture for the Green Tie party has been made from recycled wooden pallets, and will be donated to a crèche afterwards; the plates at the Green Tie party are those from CapeWine 2008, and the cutlery is made from bamboo.

CapeWine 2012 will reflect the development of our local wine industry in wine growing, wine making, and wine marketing since South African wines were opened to international trade almost 20 years ago.  Tastings, seminars, workshops, and a Producer’s Soapbox will focus on changes in wine styles, reaction to climate change, the management of scarce natural resources, and the protection of old vines.

Su Birch, CEO of WOSA, said that interest in CapeWine 2012 was growing, as ‘South Africa has distinguished itself both in terms of quality and pioneering programmes to promote eco-sustainability. This has earned global recognition for the country on both fronts, from the market and environmentalists, particularly in recent years’. Mrs Birch added that CapeWIne has a solid reputation as a trade exhibition.

The organisation of the first ever Vindaba has been driven by SA Tourism, having sponsored the exhibition, and is project managed by Susannah Holz.  SA Tourism has identified that wine tourism is ‘one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors of the global tourism market‘, says Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism.  Wine tourism can make an important contribution to the country’s economy, the Minister said.  International as well as local media focusing on wine, travel and lifestyle are expected to attend.  The objective is to increase the income of wine tourism, only $41 per capita in our Winelands, compared to $188 in Napa Valley in the USA.  Seminars at Vindaba will focus on gastro-tourism, and tailor-made wine tours to the 17 wine routes in the Western Cape will expose the international visitors to the diversity and quality of their offerings.  The eco-friendly green focus of the Vindaba exhibition reflects that of CapeWine 2012.  The Vindaba exhibition organisation has not been without controversy, SA Tourism having been blamed for not being proactive enough in spreading international media across the different wine routes, having instead allowed them to choose where they want to visit, meaning that the majority have opted for Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.  Lesser-known wine routes, such as those in Paarl and Wellington,  will therefore remain exactly that!

Tonight WOSA is hosting a ‘Green Tie Event‘ for the opening of CapeWine 2012, and even this function is going green, in that invitees have been asked to park at the Cullinan Hotel, and will be bused in collectively or will be guided by a ‘Green Guide’ in walking to the function venue in the V&A Waterfront.  The evening promises a ‘sampling of our finest wines, paired with the freshest and most delicious local cuisine, and accompanied by a showcase of local music, song and dance‘.  The wine week will be concluded with the prestigious Nederburg Auction, which takes place on the Paarl wine estate on Saturday.

CapeWine 2012: 25 – 27 September, 10h00 – 17h00, Cape Town International Convention Centre. www.capewine2012.co.za

Vindaba: 24 – 27 September, 10h00 – 17h00, Cape Town International Convention Centre. www.vindaba.com

POSTSCRIPT 24/9: This evening about 720 guests, of which about 50% were international wine writers, sommeliers, wine buyers, and wine trade, attended the ‘Green Tie Event’ for the opening of CapeWine 2012. Initially one heard more ‘American’ than local English spoken!   The Who’s Who of the wine industry attended. Met German wine writers Mario Scheuermann (a Facebook friend) and Eckhard Supp, and Mike Veseth, the guest speaker at the Nederburg Auction on Saturday.  Neil Pendock, who received a late invitation from WOSA to attend the event, was the most spruced up we have seen in years, having had a hair cut today in honour of the event, it would seem!  The green theme of CapeWine 2012 was carried through in the event, with lighting made from recycled milk cartons. Excellent wines were served.   Even the food was ‘green’ and locally sourced.  The salmon cream on cucumber canapes were excellent.  The calibre and quantity of international wine visitors in Cape Town and the Winelands is an exceptional wine tourism marketing opportunity for our country.

POSTSCRIPT 26/9:  Yesterday I visited CapeWine 2012, and was impressed with the best looking exhibition in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. More than 300 wine estates have pulled out all the stops to package and present their wines to the top level local and international attendees.  The highlight was tasting a preview of the new Delaire Graff Laurence Graff Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, not yet labelled, an icon wine made in honour of the owner of the wine estate, its GM Johann Laubser said.  It will be the first South African wine to sell at $200 a bottle.

The Botanica Wines’ label design, reflecting the brand name, impressed once again, and the Chenin Blanc is likely to do well at Platter this year, its owner-winemaker Ginny Povall hinted.  The label designs come from botanical drawings by Mary Delany, seen by Ginny at the Yale Centre for British Art.  One of the largest stands was that for Fairview, which focused attention on its Fairview, La Capra, Goats do Roam, and Spice Route labels, as well as on its Fairtrade connection.

POSTSCRIPT 26/9: Vindaba, the first wine tourism showcase, is very disappointing, not having any of the design quality or professional look of CapeWine 2012, with few visitors.  Its location in an open space at which the banqueting is normally done is not ideal.  The Wine Routes are not collectively branded, and it is not clear as to where they start and end.  Some of the Wine Routes had individual products alongside them too. All are manned by very friendly staff, and include Wellington Tourism, the KWV Sensorium (a first in pairing art works with wines), Franschhoek Tourism, Spier, Elegantly Elgin, Mellesat (in Paarl, now famous due to the write up by Neil Pendock in the Sunday Times on Sunday), Neil Grant representing the South African Sommeliers Association and manning a stand of white blends, the Cape Whale Coast sharing with Hermanus Wines, Grande Roche, Durbanville Wine Valley, Cape Town Tourism, Solms-Delta, Laborie, and more. Creation was running the Cape Whale Coast/Hermanus Wines stand, but this is rotated over the three day exhibition.  By yesterday afternoon the Cape Town Tourism brochure bags had already run out, and no attempt had been made to supplement them.

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