Tag Archives: Primitiv Vodka

Cape Town Art Fair Sweet and SA Vodka Festival Sour Service Awards!

Cape Town Art Fair Colourful painting 1 Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Cape Town Art Fair and its impressive inaugural mega multi-gallery art exhibition at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront last weekend, with hundreds of artworks, about 40 galleries, and more than a hundred artists’ works on show.  The excellent food by four chefs, offered by Culinary Art by Opulent Living, the Graham Beck MCCs, and excellent organisation impressed.

SA Vodka Festival 1002958_653207881360110_1228639401_nThe Sour Service Award goes to the SA Vodka Festival, an inaugural vodka tasting festival which was organised by Monyetla Communications and Events, based in Johannesburg and ‘…a young vibrant and fast growing 100% black owned event management‘ company, says its Facebook page with 31 likes! The Festival was cancelled at short notice on Continue reading →

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Cape Town bloggers blend spirit, honesty, and passion!

The October Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting, hosted by the Haas Collective in their gallery across the road from Haas Coffee, reflected the passion and spirit of Jorgensen Distillery and Honest Chocolates, both artisanal producers.

Dawn introduced Jorgensen Distillery, and has been a loyal attendee of the Food & Bloggers’ Club meetings.  Last year she and Roger introduced Primitiv Vodka to the Bloggers’ Club.  Dawn told us that from being a winemaker, Roger moved into distilling, being one of three to start distilling spirits locally.  It’s a family business, and the website address www.jd7.co.za, reflects the seven members in the Jorgensen family, all involved in the business.  The family handles all aspects of the business, being absolutely hands-on. Dawn saw the power of Social Media, and took a one-day course. She registered the Twitter address @PrimitivVodka, which she uses for the whole product range, which has grown to eight, and does not think that she should have a separate account for each brand.  She praised Twitter and Blogging, saying that through Social Media they have made friends and built relationships. Roger is the ‘alchemist’, handling the production, and Dawn the Marketing, which she focuses on Social Media, and participation at smaller shows, locally and in Johannesburg. Interested bloggers and journalists have come to see the Jorgensen Distillery in Wellington. Dawn was almost apologetic about her Twitter Follower and Facebook Friends numbers of around 600, but has realised that it is not the number of persons, but the quality of the interaction that is important.  Dawn has found Facebook to be very visual, with Friends posting photographs, whilst Twitter helps to spread the word about one’s brand if the users are happy with it.  Happy customers become Social Media friends, word of mouth being their most important marketing approach. They value the relationships that they develop at each meeting. Dawn says she only Tweets positively.  She likes to promote like-minded people and their brands on Twitter.

Roger has a South African mother and Norwegian father, and grew up in a home in which spirits were drunk regularly and neat, always enjoyed with food. He was one of three producers to help change legislation relating to potstill brandy production, co-founded the Wellington Wine Route, and founded the Brandy Route in Wellington. He said that if one does ‘not make honest, holistically produced material you are just another brand’.  Roger said that spirits are drunk neat in the north, and with mixers in hot climate countries, including South Africa.  He suggested that they be drunk cold and neat, and not with local mixers, which are far too sweet.  We tasted the Primitiv Vodka first, which is made from spelt, the origin of grain, which Roger sources from the Cederberg, being the only region in South Africa where it is grown.  Roger distills the spelt with the husks, its oil giving the vodka its special flavour. He could make it at an alcohol level of 96%, but has chosen to reduce it to 90%, to allow the flavour of the essential oils to come to the fore.  He was critical of other commercially produced vodka, some of it made from grain not fit for human consumption.  Primitiv has a creamy and oily mouth feel, with floral, pepper and aniseed notes. It is well-suited to eat with cheese, and seafood, including oysters.  Premium white spirits are difficult to make, Roger said.  Lemoncello is a drink they learnt to love on a holiday in Tuscany, there being about thirty kinds in Italy. Roger uses organic Cape lemons, having the perfect aroma in the skin.  The top layer of the skin soaks in strong wine spirit for two weeks, and it absorbs the flavour and oils from the lemons. Roger would like to see restaurants serving a complimentary glass of Lemoncello as a thank you to their customers.  Limes from the neighbours are used to make Naked Lime liqueur, and bartered for product. Roger loves experimenting, and has made liqueurs from bay leaves and naartjies. The Jorgensen Distillery products can be delivered by courier when ordered off their website, or from www.ebooze.co.za, or found at Wines at the Mill. A range of miniatures is supplied to guest houses and hotels.  The Absinthe is the product that is most in demand, and their most expensive product.  New products Roger is working on are a South African ‘Tequila’, a local rum, and liqueurs made from indigenous aromatic plants. The Jorgensen’s gin is an African take on this product, Roger said, and again he emphasised that it should be drunk neat. This is the product that is hardest to make, in ensuring consistency, and therefore Roger holds back one third of every batch, to blend with the next batch.  A unique mix of herbs is used by Roger to make his gin, including ‘grains of paradise’, ‘Natal wild ginger spice’, and Ohandua spice from Namibia.  South Africa’s legislation, driven by the South African Liquor Brand Association, on which the major producers sit, demands that spirits have 43% alcohol, whereas the international norm is 40%.  Imported products therefore need to be adapted to increase the alcohol content, and their packaging needs to be amended for imported brands to be sold locally.  The Jorgensen’s Savignac potstill brandy was the highlight of the tasting for me, not being a brandy drinker at all. It is made in the style of French cognac, matured for 14 years in French oak barrels.  No sugar or caramel is added to the brandy, and the Honest Chocolates we tasted with it was an amazing marriage.

Honest Chocolates’ Anthony Gird told us that he ‘stumbled’ into chocolate-making, not having any culinary background. Using raw cocoa powder he had found in health shops, he experimented with it to make chocolates that his friends loved.  Michael de Klerk was living in London at the time, specialising in website design, and he too was experimenting with chocolate-making, having been inspired by a friend in New York to do so.  The team call themselves ‘imperfectionists’, learning as they go along. They have started with making moulded and dipped truffles, and sold their first handcrafted chocolates at the Old Biscuit Mill.  Their chocolates do not contain dairy or emulsifiers, and they only use natural fructose.  The raw organic cocoa beans are sourced from Super Foods, who in turn source them from a co-operative in Ecuador, which is also known to make one of the top chocolates in the world.  Their cocoa beans are not roasted, unlike other cocoa producers. The beans have a great aroma, have anti-ageing properties, and are good for the heart.  They use agave nectar instead of sugar, which is low GI, and is therefore diabetic-friendly.  In addition to truffles, they make small slabs, each new product wrapper designed by a different designer: a rabbit on the 72 % bar, and an illustration of the Kalahari desert on the Salt bar. They also make a chocolate spread.

Honest Chocolate has a website, a Facebook page, and more recently got into Twitter.  They have a blog on their website. Two months ago they opened their first outlet on Wale Street, from which they both make and sell the chocolate.  They say it is hard to make chocolate and Tweet/Blog. Currently they have about 600 Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  Facebook is like an on-line store for Honest Chocolate, with others recommending their products, while Twitter is a tool to network with partners.  They have had write-ups on blogs and in magazines, giving them free coverage, and this helps them to build relationships.  Every time someone Re-Tweets their Tweet, or Tweets about them, they get more followers, they have found.  For them the number of Followers is not as important as the quality of the Tweets and Followers.  They say that the personality reflected in Social Media becomes that of your business.

The Haas Collective consists of the coffee shop and restaurant, the Gallery, a decor and design section, and an advertising agency partnered with Draft FCB. Partnerships form the business model for Haas, and so Strictly Coffee from Robertson is the coffee partner.   The business is evolving, and their first ‘Underground Supper’ will be held in the Gallery on 29 October.

It was an amazing evening, reflecting with honesty the start-up of both Honest Chocolate and Jorgensen’s Distillery.  The passion for their businesses and brands was palpable, inspiring those present to change their spirit and chocolate brands.  Both companies have in common that they have stories behind them, making products that people fall in love with when they meet the people making them, and therefore the price of their artisanal products is less important.  Their products offer value in a recessionary economy, being anti-capitalist, ‘non-tourism bus’ type products, offering value and purity, taking one back to the days of the ‘tuisnywerheid’, it was said. They are products one can trust, as they are not mass-produced.  Both businesses will grow organically, and Social Media plays a role in achieving a slow and steady growth.

Haas Collective:  67 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-4413. www.haascollective.com @HaasCollective  @HaasCoffee

Jorgensen’s Distillery: Versailles, Wellington.  Tel (021)  864-1777.  www.jd7.co.za @PrimitivVodka

Honest Chocolate: 66 Wale Street, Cape Town. Tel 082 829 3877/082 736 3889. www.honestchocolate.co.za @HonestChoc

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club: Tel (021) 433-2100.  whalecot@iafrica.com   Facebook @FoodWineBlogClu

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

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Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club pairs Jorgensen’s potstill brandy, Honest Chocolate, and the Haas Coffee Collective

This month, the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club marries three unique Cape artisanal businesses, and hosts Jorgensen’s Savignac Potstill Brandy and Honest Chocolate, at coffee merchants and art and design specialists Haas Collective.

Jorgensen’s Distillery is in Wellington, and Dawn Jorgensen has been a faithful attendee of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings, having briefly introduced their Primitiv Vodka to members last year. Their portfolio of handcrafted spirits has since grown, to include Jorgensen’s Gin, Field of Dreams Absinthe, Naked Lemon Limoncello, Naked Lime Liqueur, and the Savignac Potsill Brandy. Roger Jorgensen lovingly handcrafts the spirits products with passion, hard work and endeavour. Dawn handles Marketing and Sales, and is an ardent user of Social Media.

Honest Chocolate opened for business earlier this year, handcrafting their organic chocolate. Both owners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk are passionate about chocolate, and evolved from experimenting with raw cocoa powder. Anthony is a self-taught chocolate maker, and was joined by Michael, who had similarly experimented with chocolate making in London. Last month they opened their first shop, on Wale Street, and manufacture and sell from this outlet. They also have a representative in Johannesburg, supplying outlets and they have a stand at the new Neighbourgoods Market there. They Blog and Tweet, in-between their chocolate making.

The Haas Collective is ever-evolving, with its Haas Coffee Collective, Haas Communications Collective, Haas Design Collective, and Haas Gallery Collective, four businesses that have Capetonians raving, the coffee shop having become a firm favorite of many, the only outlet serving Kopi Lawak coffee in South Africa. Coffee is supplied from Strictly Coffee in Robertson.They also serve breakfasts, lunches and cakes, seven days a week. Haas uses Twitter to entice followers into their emporium. Haas is owned by Francois Irvine and Glynn Venter.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Dawn and Roger Jorgensen, as well as Anthony and Michael will each speak for about half an hour about their businesses, and the role that Social Media plays in them, and there will be product tastings too. The meeting will be held in the Haas Gallery. The Club gives fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

*   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 19 October: Haas Collective, 67 Rose Street, corner Church Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com. The cost of attendance is R100.  Twitter: @FoodWineBlogClu  Facebook: click here.

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Bloggers should not blog about themselves, bloggers told!

The fifth Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting was a lively one, held at the Salt Vodka Bar, with a most entertaining Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax blog, and a most informative Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte, writing the Hein on Wine blog, sharing their views on the importance of social media marketing.   In talking about blog content, Hein advised bloggers to not write about themselves, but to focus on their blog topics instead. 

Hein introduced the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz Viognier from the Pierneef Collection, and his role at La Motte over the past eleven years.  In winemaking, he said distribution and the intellectual property of the brand are key.  The goal of La Motte is to focus on making excellent Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz wines, and wants the brand to be one of the Top 10 South African wine brands.   The estate created a vision to meet this goal, called La Motte Redefined, which consisted of a number of elements, all working in unison to create a WOW La Motte experience: a new Tasting Room, which has a combination of wood, brickwork and glass to make it more welcoming and less intimidating; a restaurant striving to be of a top 50 international restaurant standard, focusing on traditional South African food, with a demonstration kitchen and TV cooking; to offer a “plaaswinkel”, which sells items no other farm shop does, including five styles of breads, one of them even including 2 % shiraz;  to establish a gallery to present the collection of 44 Pierneef artworks which they bought from Pierneef’s daughter and brought back to South Africa from the UK; a museum in honour of Dr Anton Rupert; and to honour his wife Hanli’s musical career in a second gallery. 

Hein recognises that social media marketing is the new marketing platform, and he started blogging just over a year ago.  He realised that the world faces information overload, with no one having the time to go beyond the first page of Google when doing a search.  This is why one must use blogs and Twitter to package one’s information in a way that meets the target market’s need.  In the past the wine industry was at the mercy of the evaluation by Parker and Platter – now winemakers can talk to their market, explain the making of the wines and proactively provide information which empowers wine drinkers to drink their wines with greater knowledge about the brand and the particular variety.  Hein says that we are still not using blogging to its fullest extent, and over time many blogs will fall away, and new ones will commence.   He sees the decline of You Tube and videos, due to the time it takes to download them, and the increase in the use of Twitter.  La Motte publishes a new blog post every 2 -3 days, and tweets 2 -3 times per day.  Hein says that if one sets a frequency of communication, one must stick to this, as one’s readers expect it as one does a newspaper, because it becomes a habit for the reader.   This was mentioned by Dax too.   The Cape Winelands Cuisine, which is the focus of Pierneef Ã  La Motte, will be brought into the blog in future.  

Hein follows the late Dr Rupert’s communication mantra: simple, sincere and repetitive.   This applies to social media too.   Hein recognises the power of the Chinese market, and La Motte has made R 8 million in sales in its first year.  Hein is now learning Mandarin, commendable for a very busy wine businessperson.   La Motte wines sold 2800 cases 11 years ago – this has grown to 100 000 cases sold in 40 countries, whilst the economy brand Leopard’s Leap sells 600 000 cases annually.   The distribution company Meridian Wines, founded by Hein too, delivers wines from 28 cellars to restaurants in temperature-controlled vehicles.    The fellow Twitterers smiled in understanding when Hein said that he ends his day and starts the next with his iPhone, to read what has happened in the world.  It is the most time-efficient way for him to stay in touch, he said.

Hein’s talk was followed by a presentation and tasting of the first South African vodka, called Primitiv, made in Wellington by Jorgensen’s Distillery.    It is handcrafted, using artisanal methods, from barley and spelt, giving the vodka its unusual taste of peppery spice, floral and anise touches over a creamy grain base, with a masculine finish.

Dax impressed with his natural talent of speaking about a topic that is clearly close to his heart, and included tap dancing and being really funny, a side to him that he does not often reveal.  Dax said that the frequency of blogging will influence the quality of one’s posts, and therefore the traffic to one’s blog.   He advised that one’s blogging frequency should stay the same, to meet the readers’ need for consistency.   In terms of content, he advised that one pace oneself, and not write all one’s content on one day, to ensure that one’s audience comes back.  Writing comments on other bloggers’ blogs is important, he said, as it shows collegiality, and helps build traffic.  The timing of one’s Tweets is important too, and should be when one’s followers are on Twitter.  Little reading of Tweets is done at night, so tweeting then is wasteful.  Hootsuite, and similar scheduling tools, allows Dax to pre-schedule 4 – 5 Tweets per day, at intervals of one hour.  He advises Tweeting between 9h00 – 15h00.  

Dax writes about food and wine, events in Cape Town, green issues, artisanal beers and the Cape Town lifestyle.  He has been blogging for 7 years already, one of the pioneers.  His blog evolved from a newsletter he created, sharing with others what wonderful things he had discovered in Cape Town, after moving here from PE, via Durban.   Helping provide advice to others about where to celebrate a special event makes Dax feel good, he says.   The 2010 SA Blog Awards, and its poor organisation this year compared to 2009, was discussed.  In the main the comments, also from the bloggers present, were disparaging, and Dax concluded that the SA Blog Awards has devalued blogging due to the controversy associated with it, even though it was meant to achieve the opposite.  

The next meeting of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club is on Wednesday 20 October , from 6 – 8 pm, at the Rainbow Room in Mandela Rhodes Place.  Simon Back from Backsberg will introduce his wines and the use of social media in making his family wine estate one of the most environmentally-friendly in the country, and Tom Robbins from Eat Cape Town will talk about Restaurant Reviewing and Blogger Ethics.  Contact Chris at info@whalecottage.com to book.

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

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