One of the shock decisions by the Government during the State of Disaster during the Corona Virus Lockdown has been to make it illegal to export South African wines, and to transport wines from wine estates to the ports, just nine days after exports were allowed, and despite the export of fresh fruit and other agricultural products being allowed. The export wine ban means a loss of R200 million per week to the wine industry, says industry body VinPro. Continue reading →
Despite a hugely challenging year for the wine industry due to the drought, CapeWine 2018 is an impressive showcase of optimism, friendliness, and proudly South Africaness, running at the Cape Town International Convention Centre until tomorrow. I attended yesterday, with my Parisian friend Aurelié Jullien, and we were both impressed with the magnitude and professionalism of the exhibition, held every three years, and attended by the local and international wine trade. Continue reading →
I have made a decision to stop supporting and attending WineMag events after having been called to a meeting with Christian Eedes, editor of WineMag, and his business partner Jax Lahoud. I was badly disrespected by fellow-writer Eedes, and I will not stand for bullying of any kind.Continue reading →
At a meeting with the liquor industry in Malmesbury yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde pleaded for the liquor trade as well as consumers to be responsible in their consumption as well as sales of alcohol.
* Singapore Airlines is offering a one-day $1 Singapore Stopover Holiday package or a one-day Holiday Pass to South African passengers of the airline, traveling to other destinations, to celebrate that country’s 50th anniversary, offered for travel until 15 June. Fares have also been decreased until 30 November, at R8900 for flights to Australia and Asia. (received via media release from Epic Communications)
City Pressreported over the weekend that SAA sommelier and Global Food and Beverage Manager, Bongi Sodladla, was feted with bribes and incentives to offer wine purchase contracts to those wineries which greased her palms. Had Bribery Bongi not been going through a divorce, and had her still-current husband Wonga Sodladla not been so generous with information sent to SAA last month about his wife’s misdemeanours, SAA, the wine industry, and the South African public would never have known what was going on behind the scenes of SAA’s wine buying!
Slowly a number of changes are being introduced to the publishing and marketing of ‘Platter’s South African Wines’ since JP Rossouw took over as Publisher of the wine guide about six months ago. Not all the changes may be to the liking of the wine estates, users, and advertisers of the Guide.
For the first time Platter’s has advertised! Yesterday I saw an advertisement for Platter’s in the Sunday Times Food Weekly supplement, advertising the Guide, with its newish parent Diners Club benefiting from it too. The advertisement bears the headline ‘Platter’s Wine Guide discovers the perfect pairing’, being a self-aggrandizing accolade to the marriage between Platter’s and Diners Club! The copy reads: ‘Platter’s Wine Guide, South Africa’s original and most authoritative guide to who’s who and what’s what in the Winelands, has the perfect partner in Diners Club, the world’s original and most prestigious charge card. Platter’s has always been the go-to-guide to discovering, rating, pairing and sharing South African wines. Now there’s a quick and easy way to also enjoy Platter’s on your mobile device or desktop. Filled with the latest wine news, festival alerts, hot picks and competitions, Platter’s has become an even more valuable guide. Whether you are shopping for wine, wanting to learn more, or need help planning a trip to cellars, Platter’s will enhance your journey. No App required. Simply go to www.wineonaplatter.com to subscribe’. The pay-off line is corny and meaningless: ‘When your thirst for knowledge coincides with the means to enjoy it, you BELONG‘! One would hope that Rossouw was not the copywriter of this nonsensical ad, given his past copywriting career! More likely is that the advertisement comes from the Marketing department of Diners Club, the give-away being that it contains the Facebook page address and Twitter handle of Diners Club, but not of Platter’s, a bizarre omission! Continue reading →
South Africa’s wine industry has a great fan in American wine economist Mike Veseth, who has visited our country twice in the past two years. In his latest article, the third about his trip earlier this year, he praises the wine industry for dealing with the ‘bottlenecks‘ it faces in selling its wines in the USA. According to him, the design of the South African flag can be seen to reflect a bottleneck too!
Veseth visited in 2012, as the guest of Nederburg, addressing the Auction as guest speaker. He observed the wine industry then and compared it with his observations of his visit this year. He writes that it can be easier to make good wines than it is to sell and market them, and this applies to selling in the USA in particular. He noted the increased confidence of our winemakers, and their ‘concrete plans‘ to tackle the marketing challenges, comparing his last two visits. His observations of our wine industry over two visits are as follows:
* Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is celebrating the 2oth anniversary of our country’s democracy by means of a series of videos showcasing how the political transformation has touched people in the wine industry. A new video will be released on the WOSA website weekly, for a six week period. ‘From fifth-generation labourer to co-owner of a major farming venture, from refugee to nurseryman, from scholarship student to renowned winemaker and role model, from drug-addled gangster to farrier, each of the intimate stories in WOSA’s The Democracy Series movingly charts a journey of progress‘, states the media release. Each video ends with a quotation by the late Nelson Mandela. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)
* Bubbly Isabella Niehaus is celebrating the two year anniversary of the Palms Market at the PalmsDecor & Lifestyle Centre with a ‘Spectacular Cook-Out with Spekko Rice‘ on Saturday 15 February. Six top foodies will have their cooking challenge (the dishes have to include Hermanuspietersfontein wine and 1 Continue reading →
* Babylonstoren is expanding its offering of fruit and vegetables, by now growing various varieties of mushrooms in its Mushroom Cellar.
* Eurostar is to introduce a London – Amsterdam route from 2016, a four hour journey.
* Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Hotel, has reached the Finals of the international 2013 Best Young Sommelier, having won the South African title. He is competing against eleven other such country winners in Washington on 18 October. The competition is sponsored by the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, a global gastronomic society.
* An innovative way of attracting business into the city in the evening is First Thursdays, the 20 or so city centre art galleries staying open until 21h00 (some even later) on the first Thursday of each month, Continue reading →