Through a stroke of luck I was invited to visit Santiago in Chile for four days, and in this time I was able to drink some Chilean wines. I also visited Casablanca, a wine region outside Santiago, with my friends Guy and Pia, who live near Casablanca. Continue reading →
At 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. Continue reading →
Chef Michael Deg of Delaire Graff Restaurant must be a happy man, with the news that the restaurant has been named the Best Winelands Restaurant in our country, in the 2016 Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards!
The news must be even more joyous for Chef Michael, given that he was excluded from the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Continue reading →
While 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 Continue reading →
Bosman’s at the Grande Roche Hotel and Zachary’s at Pezula Hotel & Spa were the two restaurants whose winelists were chosen as the best in the country in the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards, announced on Monday.
A record number of restaurant winelists was entered for the prestigious Diner’s Club Winelist of the Year 2010, an increase of 10 % on last year, reports Hotel and Restaurant. Under the chairmanship of Dave Hughes, the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards recognises the wine range offered, as well as the matching of a restaurant’s wines to its menu. To be able to enter, the restaurants have to accept Diner’s Club credit cards.
The judges gave each winelist a rating, depicting their winelist performance. The results for the Western Cape follow:
* The top accolade a restaurant winelist can achieve is Diamond, with a score of 91 % or more. The superior winelists are those of the following restaurants: 96 Winery Road, Asara Wine Estate and Hotel, Aubergine, Azure at Twelve Apostles, Balducci’s, Balthazar, Bientang’s Cave, Bistro Allegro, Blowfish, Bosman’s, Bushman’s Kloof, Carne, Catharina’s, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, City Grill, Ellerman House, Flavours, Greek Fisherman, Harbour Rock, Hunter’s Country House, Jardine, Karibu, La Colombe, Le Quartier FranÃ§ais, Marc’s, Meloncino, Nobu, Pembrey’s, Pure, Restaurant at The One&Only, Rioja, Rodwell House, Sand, Signal at Cape Grace, The Atlantic Grill at the Table Bay Hotel, The Square at the Vineyard Hotel, The Wild Fig and Zachary’s.
* Winners in the Platinum category (81 – 90%) were the following: 95 Keerom, Abalone House in Paternoster, Cru Cafe, Den Anker, Durbanville Golf Club, Harveys, Kitima at the Kronendal, Kurland Hotel, Milkwood, Panama Jacks, Pistachio, Salt, Simola Country Club & Spa, Bayside Cafe, The George, The Grill Room, Hussar Grill (all branches), The Marine Hotel, The Raj, The Red Herring, The Roundhouse, The Turbine Hotel & Spa (winner in this category) and Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa.
* Winners in the Gold Category, with a score of 71 – 80 %, are the following restaurants: 3106 Restaurant @ The Cullinan, Blue Water Cafe, B’s steakhouse in Hermanus, Col’Cacchio (Camps Bay, Blouberg, Canal Walk, Cavendish, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Foreshore and Willowbridge branches), De Viswijf, Hermanos, Jenna Viva, Southern Sun, The Garden Lounge, The Quarterdeck and Yizani.
* Silver award recipients, with a score of 61 – 70 %, are Bourbon Street, Harbourview, Jemima’s, and Newlands Cafe.
The scores for the above categories seem very high, given some of the restaurants that have been included in them, and one wonders how a top winelist of ex-maze at the One&Only can compete with that of restaurants such as Bientang’s Cave and Harbour Rock in Hermanus, with scores over 90%.
The judges noted a better presence of more affordable wines on the winelists, reflecting the current economic climate. An increasing number of restaurants offer wine-by-the-glass, the judges noted. The judges also praised the greater synergy between the winelist and the menu: “Now more and more restaurateurs take a lot of care in assembling a range of wines they believe complement their food and then guide the patron by means of the wine list in making an appropriate choice”, said judging Chairman Dave Hughes.
It is interesting to note that many Eat Out Top 10 restaurants are not on the winning winelist list, and include Rust en Vrede, Overture, Bizerca Bistro, Reubens, Grande Provence, Terroir, and the Mount Nelson. Other top restaurants whose names are missing are Myoga, Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel, Restaurant at Majeka House, Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine, Restaurant Christophe, Waterkloof, the Blonde …collection of restaurants (Beluga, Sevruga, Blonde), The Kovensky Quartet (The Kove, Paranga, Zenzero and Pepenero), and Delaire Graff, indicating that they do not accept Diner’s Club credit cards due to the higher commission this company takes on payments relative to Mastercard and VISA, and/or that these restaurants snub the Awards, in not seeing the value of participation.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com