On Friday evening I attended the launch of the 40th edition of the Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide, at the Table Bay Hotel in the Waterfront, an event that is pretty much the same in format every year, yet was different this year, in the interest of making the event shorter.
More than 8000 wines from more than 900 producers were rated for the 2020 Platter’s Wine Guide edition. Of the 125 5-star wines awarded, 26 went to Chenin Blanc brands, 18 to Shiraz/Syrah, and 11 to Chardonnay brands.
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I have spent the last three days in Franschhoek, attending its very successful Literary Festival, for the first time as a book writer myself. I found it insightful, and loved meeting some authors in person, their personalities shaping what they write, and the characters in their books. Continue reading →
The Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape. During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.
A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years! Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday! A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.
Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have enough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue. We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi! There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year. It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to 221 Waterfront restaurant, in the Victoria Wharf in the V&A, and its Public Relations consultant Annette Ashley, for a wonderful dinner of a prawn and avocado handroll, a main course of duck, and a lovely bottle of Hartenberg 2005 Shiraz, with efficient service, and an evening of chatting. Ms Ashley’s hard work has put the restaurant on the map, with an Australian soccer group signing up the restaurant for 3 weeks for its catering and meeting needs during the 2010 World Cup.
The Sour Service Award goes to Cape Town Tourism and MediaNova, the publishing company, which was appointed by Cape Town Tourism to produce its Visitors’ Guide for 2010. Cape Town Tourism regularly changes its Visitors’ Guide publisher, and this means a new learning curve for each publisher, and an irritation for the members of Cape Town Tourism who advertise in the Guide. The current issue’s accommodation ad design is completely ineffectual, in that the tiny type size of the copy in the 1/16th ads is barely legible, especially the name of each establishment. The company also forgot to allow a line for the street address in the contact details! The Guide still has not been published, being more than a month behind schedule. The lack of management by Cape Town Tourism over the production of this Guide is most irresponsible!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.