Entries tagged with “Napa Valley”.


Yesterday I had the goosebump experience of being introduced to the new-in-the-making Gåte at Quoin Rock restaurant at the Quoin Rock winery outside Stellenbosch, which is destined to become a superlative Fine Dining dinner experience, probably the best this country has ever seen!  (more…)

imageAt the conclusion of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference held at Spier over the past two days, the seven South African winners of the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism Awards were announced.  (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Responsibility for SAA will be taken over by Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Finance and National Treasury, from Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, once it has been documented as a proclamation in the Government Gazette!

*   British wine writer Tim Atkin writes that our country’s white blends are the best, the release of the Chenin Blanc-dominant Cartology Alheit 2011 being the motivation for his praise, being a new benchmark for South African whites.  Our country has ‘some of the most exciting and best value wines in the New World‘, he wrote.

*    A new free App Sideways (likely to have been named after the famous movie set in Napa Valley) has been launched, designed by iKineo, as a guide to the Winelands. ‘Each wine farm’s profile page in (more…)

Diners Club Young Winemaker of Year picDiners Club announced its three finalists for the 2014 Young Winemaker of the Year today, the 13th year in which the title will be awarded.  The winner will be announced at a Gala Dinner at La Residence on 15 November.

The finalists in the category Red Wines, for winemakers under the age of 30 years, are: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A Red Alert has been issued for Europe air travel, with the imminent eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland, the most serious alert indicating an expected ‘significant emission of ash into the atmosphere’.   Four years ago the Eyjafjallajokul volcano erupted, and caused international travel chaos, with 100000 flights cancelled at that time, threatening the arrival of passengers for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

*  Yesterday’s earthquake measuring 6,2 on the Richter scale has shaken San Francisco and Napa Valley, and is expected to have caused damage to bottles of wine in America’s prime winemaking region.

*   Sadly MasterChef SA Season 1 Top 4 Finalist Sarel Loots, better known by his Twitter handle @SarelvanSabie, passed away from a heart attack today.  In the last episode in which he appeared, he was described by the judges as having ‘a big heart’.

*   The 2014 SA Young Wine Show awards attracted 1972 entries. Trophies were (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Robert Redford has expressed his delight in drinking Chenin Blanc, he shared at a special private lunch hosted in his honour by his friend Analjit Singh in Franschhoek last weekend.  He said about the variety: ‘I’ve experienced white wine in the Napa Valley in California, but never something like this.  Chenin blanc (sic) came into my life via my experience in South Africa. When I came here, I was willing to explore all kinds of new things. When I heard about Chenin blanc (sic) I thought I’d never had that and when I had it, I knew I’d found something fresh and exciting – so much so that I’ve now become a fan of Chenin blanc (sic)‘.  Last year Mr Singh acquired shares in Mullineux Family Wines, one of our country’s top Chenin Blanc producers.

*   The 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Global Finals Bartender of the Year competition, which was held at Gleneagles in Scotland and in London recently,  has been won by Charles Joly from The Aviary in Chicago, in the face of 47 contenders for the title.  South Africa was represented by Jeff Lopes from The Michelangelo Hotel.  Joly’s winning cocktail was called ‘Above the Clouds‘.  He will become a global ambassador for Diageo Reserve World Class.   Cape Town will host the Global Finals next year! (received via media release from Communication Services Africa)

  *   Lanzerac is celebrating Heritage Day with a food feast on 24 September, commencing with a glass of its Alma Mater Rosé.  A (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries have signed an agreement to create a New Development Bank, reports The New Age. The Bank’s first loans will be made in 2016, from its pooled resources of $50 billion.  South Africa is reported to have contributed R 5 billion to the establishment of the Bank.  In addition, a $100 billion ‘contingency reserves pool‘ will be set up, to safeguard any of the five countries from being hit by ‘an exodus of foreign capital‘.   The Bank headquarters will be in Shanghai, reports Mail & Guardian, while Johannesburg will be the regional centre of the Bank for Africa.

*   SAA has been named Best Airline Africa for the 12th year running, and won the Best Airline Staff Service Africa award for the third time, presented at the Skytrax World Airline Awards in London.  The airlines were evaluated on the basis of customer surveys conducted amongst 18 million travelers.   SAA has a 4-star rating from Skytrax, the only airline in Africa to have achieved the service quality rating.

*  SA Tourism is working on improving Indaba, its Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton has said, adding that she is taking (more…)

Andres Kitchen Vixen Screen-shot-2012-09-15-at-3.03.13-PM-300x209Amazing news for the restaurant scene in Cape Town is that Chef Andres Condé , who worked at the former elBulli, the former number one restaurant on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, is moving to Cape Town in June, and joining the Harbour House Group of restaurants belonging to Michael Townsend, as Group Executive Chef.

As his first priority Chef Andres will focus on La Parada, the two tapas restaurants based in Kalk Bay and on Bree Street, and will revamp their menus.  If La Parada weren’t already the most Spanish tapas restaurants in Cape Town, they will now become super-Spanish and genuine tapas restaurants.  He will also work with the Harbour House restaurant teams in Kalk Bay and in the V&A Waterfront.  He will not be involved with the Lucky Fish restaurants in the Harbour House Group.

Chef Andres won an award as best young chef in Navarra, a Spanish wine region.  His prize was an internship at the former elBulli near Roses in Catalonia, a Michelin 3-star restaurant run by Chef Ferran Adrià, who many would say is the world’s most creative chef, being associated with Molecular Gastronomy, and having written cookbooks.   The internship was for two months, but Chef Andres stayed for more than six years!  He worked in (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Forbes has published a wonderful article by Fathom travel website about Cape Town and the Winelands, describing it as a ‘mix of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Napa Valley – with a little Bilbao thrown in.  It recommends Table Mountain, penguins at ‘Boulder Bay’ (sic) ‘Beach‘, ‘design-centric’ shopping at Cape Quarter, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, ‘Victoria and Albert (sic) Waterfront‘, a township tour, Simonstown, Surf Shack in Muizenberg, Delaire Graff Restaurant, and Babylonstoren.  For shopping O.live, Nap, Merchants on Long, Monkey Biz, and African Nova are recommended.  Restaurant recommendations include Harbour House, Live Bait, Grand Café on the Beach, Bungalow, Bistro Sixteen82, The Greenhouse, The Test Kitchen, and The Round House.

*   Henco J (his surname is not revealed) from Pretoria is one of three winners of the Jameson First Shot awards, an annual opportunity to have a short film produced given to a resident of South Africa, Russia, and the USA by Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey.  The three winners will have their film produced in Los Angeles later this year, with actress Uma Thurman in the lead role in each.  Henco’s script is called ‘The Mundane Goddess’, and tells the story of Hera, the queen of Greek gods.

*   Palm Beach Illustrated writes with praise about South African wines, in an article entitled ‘South Africa Rising: Wine and Vineyard Renaissance’, and how these combine old-world tradition with cutting-edge techniques.  The article features (more…)

Vergelegen Camphors interior Whale Cottage PortfolioWhile Vergelegen may have been disappointed in not scoring a 5 star wine at the Platter’s South African Wines 2014 on Friday evening, the wine estate must have been in seventh heaven to have done so well at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards for South Africa, for which the winners were announced on Thursday at a gala dinner in the Napa Valley.  Vergelegen won in the Arts and Culture as well as in the Restaurant categories, and performed well in four further categories.  The award-winning performance makes Vergelegen the South African Best of Wine Tourism winner for the third time, having last won in 2009.

In addition to winning two categories outright, Vergelegen came second in four out of a total of seven categories:  Architecture and Landscapes, Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices, and Wine Tourism Service.  It is Camphors at Vergelegen, one of two restaurants on the wine estate (with Stables at Vergelegen Bistro, a more casual daytime restaurant), that is recognised in the Restaurant award.  The seventh category (Accommodation) was not entered, as this service is not offered.

Vergelegen joins nine other winelands region winners this year:

*   Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco in Rioja, a museum and winery complex, celebrated for its Enoturismo y  Experiencias that offers a wide range of exhibitions, courses and other innovative experiences

*   Château de Rouillac, that dates back to the 19th century when it (more…)