Entries tagged with “Worcester”.


We are invited to many events, and initially I thought that driving out to Airport Industria for the media visit to Green Planet Laundry last week was not something I would write about on my Blog. I was so impressed with the brand new water and electricity efficient industrial, commercial, and residential laundry operation that I would like to give it credit.  (more…)

Whilst I spent a week in McGregor earlier this month, I visited Robertson for part of a day, shopping with friends, but also enjoying lunch at the recently opened Four Cousins restaurant owned by Van Loveren, at the entrance to the town on the Worcester side. I was impressed with the quality of the food and vast selection of dishes offered on the menu. (more…)

imageIt is not often that one receives an invitation for an evening media event, and that in Worcester, with the offer of accommodation taken care of, and a shuttle bus transporting one to the function venue. When the invitation arrived from Waterford Communications to attend the Overhex Wines International launch of its intriguingly branded Survivor range outside Worcester, it was accepted immediately. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The EFF is calling for 40 Cape Town suburbs and Western Cape towns to be renamed, to remove references to our ‘colonial‘ past and to go back to the region’s African and Khoi San origins. Camps Bay, Worcester, Hermanus, Plettenberg Bay, Stellenbosch, and George are included on the suggested renaming list.

*   The City of Cape Town has approved the sale of a piece of land called ‘Clifton Precinct‘, currently housing garages used by bungalow owners, a restaurant, and sport grounds, despite resistance from Clifton residents. The City is calling for a bidder to build a parking garage, a retail outlet, and ‘boutique line shops’! Opposition parties in the City Council are also up in arms about the proposed sale.

*   The arrogance of the Department of Home Affairs knows no bounds in terms of its Immigration Regulations, it (more…)

Cape Epic 2015 2South Africa’s most challenging mountain bike race starts rolling today for the 12th time, an eight-day Untamed African Mountain Bike Race challenge for 600 cycle teams covering more than 700 km through Cape Town and Western Cape towns on its route.  Its impact on the local economy of R300 million makes it one of the most significant events for our region.

The local and international media coverage is vast, with 1,1 million YouTube views, and 25000 hours of TV coverage in 175 countries.   The City of Cape Town supports the ABSA Cape Epic to help position our city as the Events Capital of Africa, and to stimulate job (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   ACSA is introducing new hand luggage regulations at its airports from Monday onwards, which are expected to cause check-in delays initially.  If the hand luggage does not conform to regulations, it will have to be checked in.  Each piece of hand luggage will now be weighed, not to exceed 7 kg.  Passengers are allowed a handbag OR a ‘slim-line laptog bag‘.  The carry-on bag dimensions may not exceed 36 cm x 23 cm x 56 cm.

*   The petrol price will decrease by 93 cents a litre from Wednesday, dropping to below R10 a litre at the coast.  The drastic drop is due to the drop in the crude oil price, and a weaker exchange rate.

*   The Competitions Commission has blocked Tsogo Sun’s bid for 40% of GrandWest and Worcester (more…)

Banting Tim Noakes Whale CottageLast week I attended a presentation by Professor Tim Noakes on ‘The Science behind Banting Diets’, which was organised by PR-Net and held on the top floor of the Naspers building.   I went as a sceptic, but it appeared that almost all attendees were already committed Banters.

I have not followed the initial controversy about Professor Tim Noakes, co-founder of the Sport Science Institute, who published ‘The Real Meal Revolution‘ in which he advocates a ‘LCHF‘ (Low ‘Carb‘ High Fat) balanced diet eating focus to help one lose weight.  While ‘LCHF’ was not a very catchy a name for the diet, the ‘Banting‘ word spread like wildfire, being the name of a diet tried with success by William Banting more than 200 years ago. Professor Noakes was not believed initially, given that he had advocated a low fat, high carbohydrate eating plan in the past, and now was turned his thinking around 360°!  The medical fraternity is not sure whether to support his recommendations.

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WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Sales of alcoholic beverages in the UK have decreased by 6% in the last week of the five-week World Cup period compared to the same period a year ago, as interest in the soccer event has decreased in the last week of the tournament, despite reaching close to £ 1 billion in sales.  Sales in the first three weeks of the tournament showed an increase, however.  Champagne and sparkling wine showed the strongest growth in the past month.  Cider sales decreased by 11% compared to a year ago. England’s early World Cup exit and better weather in July 2013 have been the cause of the beverage sales decrease.

*   A Wine Intelligence study finds that UK wine drinkers almost equally accept cork and screw cap closures, at 40% each;  Australians prefer screw cap wines (55%) to cork (38%); and in the USA cork is strongly preferred (64%) compared to screw caps (21%).  The choice of closure is dictated by image and practicality, more than ‘scientific’ reasons of helping the wine to breathe, stifling ageing, or preventing spoilage.

*   A new MasterCard Multi-currency Cash Passport has been launched, and is available at ABSA and American Express (more…)

Wine Tourism South Africa HandbookMonika Elias of World Focus Media has done a great job over the past ten years in documenting the contribution of the wine routes, and the wine estates on them, to Wine Tourism South Africa, in helping to inform and educate locals as well as tourists about wine in general, and to boost wine sales.  Her 2014 edition of ‘Wine Tourism South Africa’ handbook has just been published , bearing the slogan of ‘sip, stay and play‘!

In her ‘Publisher’s Letter‘, Monika defines Wine Tourism as ‘…in the glass, on the plate, in the bed, around the vines, and for the planet’.  She writes about ‘winery atmospherics’, such as architecture, lighting, sound, temperature, and kinetics, playing an important role in creating a point of difference for wine estates in an increasingly competitive world.  Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Tourism experience, and most visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape will be very likely to visit a wine farm to taste their wines, to eat at a Winelands restaurant, or visit an event linked to wines.

The Handbook evaluates top restaurants on wine estates, using chefs hats (three maximum) to denote how good or not they are;  and evaluates the winelists of the restaurants on the wine estates, by means of wine glasses (three maximum).  A price range indication is also provided for the Winelands restaurants.  The Handbook starts with tourist information and advice about car rental, taxis, trains, parking attendants, banking hours, VAT, the weather, tipping, and more.  It lists the winners of the fifteen categories in the 2013 KLINK Wine Tourism Awards, which received votes from 15000 consumers last year. (more…)

On Friday I was fortunate to experience a tasting of some of the wines in the Overhex Wines International range, and specifically their new additions to the two year old Balance range, which was held at one of the most popular restaurants in Cape Town, namely Luke Dale-Roberts’  The Test Kitchen.

The Test Kitchen in the Old Biscuit Mill premises in Woodstock is a small space, and we must have been about thirty journalists and bloggers who were lucky enough to be invited by charming PR consultant Nicolette Waterford.  The stature of the event was reflected by the attendance of Sunday Times wine writer Neil Pendock, Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman, Cape Times wine writer Cathy Marston, Christian Eedes, Wade Bales, Spit or Swallow’s Anel Grobler, Joanne Gibson, Greg Landman, and more, and the restaurant venue must have been an important attendance drawcard.   Spread over the two tables were staff of Overhex, including the co-owner Gerhard van der Wath, who manages the company, in close co-operation with JC (for Jean Claude) Martin, who is the Production Director, and is responsible for the wine styles and blends, assisted by Jandre Human, the cellar master.  Being private-owned means that Gerhard and JC can make quick decisions.   They are not restricted to only the grapes of their region, but can buy in the best grapes to suit their requirements, including from the Swartland, West Coast, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch, allowing them to make wines at different price points.  The Overhex farm in the Breede River Valley outside Worcester produces about 10 000 tons of grapes, and about 5 million litres are bought in, JC told us.

JC (on the right, chatting to Greg Landman) has a Swiss German lilt when he speaks, and arrived in South Africa six years ago, having met his wife Carolyn (daughter of Walter Finlayson) on the wine estate in Switzerland on which he worked at the time, where she came to present label designs on behalf of the London design agency she worked for.  His association with Overhex started in 2005.  Alongside the Overhex wine involvement, JC makes his own Creation wines in the Hemel en Aarde valley outside Hermanus.   While this was not a Creation function at all, we did discuss the wines and the marketing of them, which JC does on the side when he represents Overhex wines overseas.  His wife does the marketing of Creation wines locally, and they had an average of 300 visitors per day in their tasting room over the festive season, he said.  They are very excited about the fact that the Western Cape province has placed the Caledon – Hermanus gravel road going through their valley as number one priority on the list of roads to be tarred in the province, and they see this as being of huge future benefit to themselves and their colleagues on the recently created Hemel en Aarde Valley wine route.   I sat opposite JC, and asked him questions abouit Creation – he did not talk about Creation when he addressed the guests.  JC told me he studied winemaking in the French part of Switzerland. Switzerland is not generally known as a wine producer, but JC told me that the Swiss drink all the wine produced in the total area of 25000 ha, and therefore it is not exported.  Whalepod is a new Creation brand, and we have started stocking it in our Whale Cottages.  JC told me that they are launching a new Syrah/Malbec Whalepod blend. Tasting rooms on wine farms are unique to South Africa, in that one can visit most wine farms without making an appointment, making this wine tourism valuable to wine farms selling their wines from the cellar door – for Creation it represents 30 % of their sales. 

In 2003 Overhex was started as a co-operative, and was bought by Gerhard and a partner in 2005.  Initially their focus was on the international market, and they now export to 25 countries.  JC told us that they export to supermarket and liquor groups such as Marks & Spencer, CO-OP UK, and Fosters, making own label wines for them.   Most of the wine is made to the specific requirements of each of these chains, and exported in bulk, and bottled in the UK and in Germany.     Ten Overhex brands are exported, being 3,5 million bottles in total. 

The reason for the launch function was to introduce the new additions to the Balance range, being the Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz 2010 and Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010.  They complement the existing Balance range of Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (won a gold medal at Michelangelo 2010),  Shiraz Merlot 2010, Pinotage Shiraz 2009, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010, Chenin Blanc Colombar, Reserve Unwooded Chardonnay, Sparkling Vin Sec, Sparkling Vin Doux, Shiraz Rosé and a sweet Rosé, aiming them at the domestic market for the first time.  Balance has been shaped for local wine drinkers, and the range is designed to be easy drinking wines with a shorter life span.   We were asked to evaluate the wines relative to their price point, the Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc costing R40 and the Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz costing R45, representing incredible value, as none of the white and red Balance wines are more expensive than these two prices.  JC said that the Balance wines should not be judged on price alone, in that a cheaper wine does not mean that it is a bad wine.   Overhex operates ethically and cares about its supplier farmers, in that they offer them a price for their grapes that allows the farmers to survive.  The Balance wines are available at ULTRA intitally, and they are working on expanding the distribution at local outlets.   I asked about the elephant on the label, and the designer was at the function, but she could not explain it, other than that it was on the first Balance labels.  The Balance pay-off line is “for life’s lighter moments”.  The Overhex cellar now has a tasting room and Bistro, and locals are invited to visit the wine estate.  “Our goal with Balance is to get the wine lover to celebrate everyday wine culture, making it easy to enjoy delicious wines from a varied range at an affordable price point”, said Gerhard.

The Test Kitchen food was outstanding, and deep fried sushi was served before we started.  I chose a Trout tartar starter, which was light and perfect for the hot summer’s day.  As I had the kingklip when I had dinner at the restaurant in December, I ordered the beef fillet, and it is the softest I remember ever having, simply presented with green beans.   For dessert the choice was a cheese platter and lemon tart. 

The launch and tasting of the Overhex Wines International Balance range of wines, ‘paired’ with the wonderful food by Chef Luke-Dale Roberts of The Test Kitchen, and the gift pack of Balance wines, was the start to an exceptional day, which ended with the attendance at the U2 360° concert at the Cape Town Stadium for many attending the function.

Overhex Wines International, 71 Stockenström Street, Worcester. Tel (023) 347-6838.  www.overhex.com  Tuesday – Thursday 10h00 – 17h00, Friday and Saturday 10h00 – 16h00.

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