A week ago I was invited by Silvermist Tasting Room assistant Declan to visit the wine estate next door to La Parada Constantia Nek, being in Constantia every Sunday when I dance to DJ René’s music. On Sunday I took up the invitation, and was lucky to find both winemaker Greg Louw and Declan on the estate, to do the tasting before closing time. Continue reading →
Wine distributor Vinimark has just launched a new addition to the lifestyle and home design brand Carrol Boyes Collection, its Gold Label Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) 2012, described as a ‘union of art and wine making‘. Continue reading →
*. South African exports into Africa are growing, says Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Africa head Matome Mbatha. Angola is taking 6 million liters of wine, of which more than 80% is sparkling wines, and predominantly JC le Roux, a brand they are ‘crazy about‘, Mbatha says. The 4,5 million liters of Nigeria’s imports from our country are mainly Pinotage and Merlot.
* Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is to open a pop-up The Test Kitchen restaurant at Continue reading →
Last year New Media Publishing changed its annual Eat Out magazine, having featured 1100 restaurants in earlier years. Last year the Eat Out Top 500 restaurant guide was based on applications sent by restaurants themselves, and the top 500 selected by 50 food and restaurant writers and lovers. This year the Eat Out 500 top restaurants could be nominated by anyone, mainly the public, and chosen and reviewed by a panel of 30, mainly food writers.
Earlier this week Eat Out announced the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist, which will guarantee those restaurants a space in the 2015 Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant Guide.
The selection and evaluation of the Eat Out Top 500 is sketchy: ‘...a list of candidates was selected (how, on which criteria?), rated (on which scale, on which criteria?), and reviewed by the panel‘ (the criteria for reviewing are mentioned as food – defined as menu composition, seasonality, and presentation – and ambiance, service, and wine/beverage selection). Surely they mean that a particular member of the panel reviewed a particular restaurant? The end result is described by Eat Out (twice in its media release) as a ‘power list of great restaurants‘! Someone alerted me to the hard sell to new restaurants by Eat Out to be listed on Continue reading →
* L’Huguenot, a joint venture between Leopard’s Leap and Yangzhou Perfect, sold 1,5 million bottles of wine in China last year. A cheaper varietal is planned for 2015, which could double the sales of the brand, according to Leopard’s Leap MD Hein Koegelenberg.
* Brands Krone Borealis and Krone Rosé, and brand owner Vinimark, have been left red-faced after Die Burger disclosed that its 2010 MCCs in fact were not Cap Classiques, and have been removed from retail shelves due to the two brands misleading consumers. Winemaker Rudiger Gretschel explained that the 2010 vintage bottles started exploding during fermentation. With the help of Robertson Winery, the content of the remaining bottles was decanted and re-bottled into stronger bottles. The 2010 vintage is now being sold with the Twee Jonge Gesellen label, at almost half the original price. The Méthode Cap Classique Association of South Africa is reported to be outraged by the incident.
* Bouchard Finlayson is sponsoring the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award 2014 Tondo Competition for the Hermanus FynArts Festival, taking place from 6 – 16 June. Each of the 40 art Continue reading →
* M-Net’s channel location will change on 5 August, as Cape TV will be broadcasting from it. Multichoice is paying for installers to visit each affected Cape Town subscriber for the decoder to be adjusted, at its expense.
* If membership of FEDHASA Cape is an indicator, then the hospitality business is going through tough times, their membership numbers declining due to businesses closing down or changing ownership, reports Travel News Weekly?
* South Africa loves its Scotch, having imported R1,7 billion of whisky, reports the Financial Mail.
* Are Celebrity wines worth their endorsement? James Molesworth rates the wines of Ernie Els, Brangelina, Sting, and other celebs on THV. Continue reading →
A new R11 million one-year Sommelier training program has been launched by the Department of Tourism in conjunction with the Cape Wine Academy. It is apt that the program was launched in Franschhoek, which was described by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk as ‘the best blueprint for wine tourism in SA’.
Launched at La Motte last month, the objective of the training program is to grow the skills of 200 learners in one of the identified ‘niche sectors being of particular importance for SA, wine tourism being one of them’, said Minister van Schalkwyk, reported the Franschhoek Tatler. He added that there were good job prospects once the trainees have completed their program. The new sommelier training program follows the Minister’s recent Youth Chef training programme.
Cape Wine Masters Lizette Tolken and Derek Ramsden are some of the lecturers involved in the Sommelier training program, which incorporates four six-week practical work segments in the wine industry. For the first practical, which has been completed, distributors and wholesalers such as Distell, Meridian and DGB, Vinimark, Smollens, Liquidity, Panniers, Wine Logistics, Swirls, NixAn Wines, Nicholson Smith, International Wines, together with Beyerskloof, Delheim, Simonsig, Vergelegen and Spier, all took in learners. The practicals will also include front-of-house training in restaurants, retail outlets and hotels such as Southern Sun, Ultra Liquors, Spar, Shoprite Checkers, The Butcher Shop & Grill, and The Baron Group.
Minister Van Schalkwyk has appealed to the private sector to support and enhance the programmes of his Department, and thanked it for the important role it plays in the development and promotion of tourism. “It is well known that the private sector bears the major risks of tourism investment, as well as a large part of the responsibility to satisfy tourists. Through its training programmes, government is committed to encouraging the further growth, development and profitability of the tourism private sector by providing already-trained staff, such as these sommeliers, who are immediately able to fulfil a productive role in the hospitality sector,” the Minister concluded.
While the Sommelier training program is commendable, one wonders why the South African Sommelier Association, under the chairmanship of respected Sommelier and Burrata owner Neil Grant, was not involved.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage