For the past two days I have participated in a Blind Tasting of more than 130 white, Rosé, and red wines at the offices of sponsorship specialists Divine Intervention, to select wines which will be incorporated into the winelists for the four restaurant brands of the new Cowboys & Cooks restaurant group, which has been founded by highly respected restaurateur Michael Townsend and his strong support team. Continue reading →
Earlier this month I was invited to attend the launch of the Healing Hub, a multi-disciplinary holistic home of health, movement, and lifestyle created at Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West. Continue reading →
* South African wines won more than 300 medals at the 2015 International Wine Challenge held in London, which included 28 Gold (double the number compared to last year), 111 Silver, and 175 Bronze medals. The organisers said that South African white wines had ‘an outstanding year‘, while Shiraz was the top SA Red wine performer. Stellenbosch wines won the most SA Gold Awards.
* The 2015 Bollinger Wine Exceptional Service Award is now open for entries, which must be in by 31 May. The first Continue reading →
* German competition authorities have reacted strongly against Booking.com, which prohibits accommodation establishments from offering better rates to clients booking with them directly relative to the rate they charge via Booking.com. Action is also being taken against a similar booking site Expedia.com
* The contribution of Tourism to the economy nationally has remained at 2,9% in both 2012 and 2013, reaching a total of R104 billion. Just more than half of the spend was Continue reading →
* A Global March for Rhinos and Elephants will be held on Saturday 4 October, with South Africa, the USA, Germany, Botswana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Italy, and Mozambique being some of the countries participating. World Travel Market (WTM) Africa staff will also participate in the march in Cape Town, as one of its social responsibility projects. The march calls for a total ban on the trade of ‘wildlife body parts’. WTM Africa runs from 15 – 17 April.
* The Bureau of Economic Research quarterly survey has found a sharp drop in the expectation of business growth for the Accommodation sector in the third quarter (July – September), at 9%, compared to the previous winter period of April – June, which showed a 22% growth expectation. For the last quarter of this year, growth of 16% is expected. All other business sectors surveyed are showing negative growth expectations. The overall Western Cape business growth expectation in the second quarter was 15%, is an estimated 20% for the third quarter, and 31 % for the 4th quarter, whereas all other provinces show negative growth experience and expectations. (received via e-mail from the Bureau of Economic Research)
* Luvey ‘n Rose is offering an interesting Cigar Appreciation Evening on 7 October, with Roque, a professional cigar roller from Continue reading →
The question on the lips of many South African viewers of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ is: why Hayden Quinn? Why choose a MasterChef Australia top 3 finalist (no, not winner) of 2011 (no, not even 2013) to promote the beauty of South Africa and its abundance of sustainable foods amongst South Africans? We did some research, and found that South African viewers are being misled about the TV show host, and that Woolworths appears to have a hidden agenda in pushing its Australian investments!
I started with the Cardova Group, the production company of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘, and of the ‘Expresso Morning Show’ and ‘Top Travel‘ too, all flighted on SABC3. A random e-mail landed in my Inbox from LinkedIn, asking me to congratulate Mark Bland as newly appointed Producer of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, just as the series kicked off and my interest in it was piqued. I got Mark’s cellphone number via LinkedIn, and asked him for more information about the food series. He was extremely hesitant in talking to me, even though we have known each other for a good two to three years. He is a regular reader of my blog, and has commented on it on occasion. I was taken aback about his hesitancy to meet, to talk about the new show, stating that he had just been promoted, and did not want to jeopardise his new appointment in case I wrote something that could land him in trouble. As a regular reader he would have known that I can only write what I have been told. As the producer of the show, one would have thought that he would have wanted information about the series to be shared, or expected that he would have referred me to a PR person within his company, or at Woolworths, SABC3, and/or Nedbank, the major sponsors of the series. The best he could send me was this bland (pardon the pun) media release: Continue reading →
* The Cape Town International Jazz Festival blows its first notes from 17h00 tomorrow, with a free community concert on Greenmarket Square. Shakatak is the biggest name group, while Tasha’s World and Good Hope FM DJ Luwayne Wonder will also be seen on the stage. Burg and Longmarket Streets near Greenmarket Square will be closed all of tomorrow and part of Thursday. (received via media release from espAfrika)
* Durban’s ‘crime and grime’ deters tourism to the city, and could be the reason why the number of tourists to KwaZulu-Natal has declined for three years running, according to the province’s tour operators. The poor economic climate, the crime rate, the lack of unique tourist attractions, and the lack of cleanliness all put tourists off visiting. Durban’s head of tourism, Philip Sithole, disagrees, saying that the city’s tourism numbers are increasing, compared to the provincial decline! Passenger numbers at King Shaka International as well as road traffic arrivals have declined, but the tourist spend has increased. Tourists are said to fear walking on the Durban beachfront at night.
* The House of JC le Roux is pairing its three MCCs with home-made chocolate Easter eggs from 14 April onwards. Their Pinot Noir Rosé 2009 will be paired with a milk chocolate egg with a rose infused truffle filling; the La Vallée NV is paired with Belgian Continue reading →
Today the 11th ABSA Cape Epic gets off the ground, the world’s ‘premier mountain biking challenge’, according to the Weekend Argus. A total of 1200 riders will participate in the tough 718 km race, described on its Twitter Bio as ‘The Untamed African Mountain Bike Race’, covering a unique route each year. It receives extensive local and international media coverage, attracting attention to the rugged beauty of the Winelands.
Cape Epic organiser Kevin Vermaak had the vision to create a cycle challenge from Knysna to Cape Town over eight days, beginning with 200 riders in 2004. Today the race starts at Meerendal wine estate in Durbanville, and the journey takes the riders through Arabella Wines in Robertson, The Oaks in Greyton, Oak Valley wine estate in Elgin, and finishes off on 30 March at Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West. A tent village is set up for the riders at the end of each day.
The race has a total prize value of R1,7 million, and the prize for the fastest woman rider has been increased to R690000. Famous participants today are Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost; former Springbok rugby captain John Smit and former Springboks Continue reading →
* Catharina’s at Steenberg: Seafood Menu platter R1750 per couple; 5 course Valentine’s Set Menu R750 per person; and Vegetarian Valentine’s Menu R750 per person. All three options include a glass of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Rosé 2011. Tel (021) 713-2222
* The Restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards, Noordhoek: 4 course dinner R495, or R650 with wine pairings. Nadine performing. Tel 083 444 7088.
* Frères Bistro: 3 course dinner with complimentary glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne R 395 per person. Tel (021) 418-1609
* Diemersdal Farm Eatery, Durbanville: Tapas platters and desserts as well as complimentary glass of MCC R 550 per couple. Tel (021) 976-1810
* Azure at the Twelve Apostles: Welcome drink, rose, and 4 course candlelight dinner R 795 per person, includes chance of winning half carat diamond from Uwe Koetter valued at R15000. Tel (021) 437-900
* The Kraal at the Twelve Apostles: Kir Royal welcome drink, picnic basket includes a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer, R1500 per couple. Tel (021) 437-9000
* Mondiall, V&A Waterfront: Oysters and glass of bubbly, 3 course dinner R350 per person. Tel (021) 418-3003. Continue reading →
* The Garden Route has been named as the best golf destination in Africa and the Middle East.
* Solms-Delta is one of only 15 recipients (one of three from South Africa – Bushman’s Kloof Wildlife Reserve and Camp Jabulani) of the Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards 2013, ‘all of which ‘embody the extraordinary ways that travellers can give back to the places we visit’. Solms-Delta empowers its workers through profit-sharing, equity, land-ownership, educational scholarships, music-based heritage projects, and other socially and culturally uplifting programmes. (received via media release from Paula Wilson Media Consulting)
* Tim James of Grape blog has won the inaugural Du Toitskloof Wines Wine Writer of the Year competition, of which the theme was Climate Change and its effect on the South African wine industry. The prize value is R30000. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)