Today history will be made in the South African wine industry, with a first wine named after a wine route. Hermanus Wine Route R320 red blend will be launched to more than fifty media and wine industry representatives at Creation this afternoon, a blend of wines from 12 wine estates on the R320, which is the Hermanus Wine Route.
Conceived as a charity project which is expected to raise about R250000 in the next three months, the Hermanus Wine Route R320 is a blend of 73% Syrah, 9% Pinotage, 9% Merlot, and 9% Malbec. Southern Right Vineyards, Bouchard Finlayson, La Vierge, Newton Johnson, Sumaridge, Spookfontein, Ataraxia, Creation, Mount Babylon, Domaine des Dieux, Whalehaven, and Hermanuspietersfontein are the blend of producers that have each supplied a barrel of wine for the new blend. It is described as having an elegant nose, with spicy white pepper, ripe plum, crushed berries, and added rosemary and biltong. The pay-off line is “Welcome to heaven. On Earth”.
The proceeds of a charity auction for a case of the Hermanus Wine Route R320 charity wine, that takes place via Twitter and Facebook today, will go to social upliftment, the development of a farm school, creation of a tourism scholarship, and funding of courses at Elsenburg. To participate in the auction, one must pre-register at firstname.lastname@example.org, and then bid with an allocated hashtag between 12h30 – 19h30 today. The highest bid with the correct hashtag receives the case of wine. The wine will be sold at R100 per bottle, and will be available on the Hermanus Wine Route, Wine Village, Hermanus Liquors, Wine & Co, as well as at Hermanus restaurants such as Season, Burgundy, Fabio’s, Harbour Rock, and Bientang’s Cave.
Creation is the wine estate at the furthest end of the Hermanus Wine Route of 15 wine estates, and has grown in stature and visibility, despite being off a gravel road section of the R320. It has a beautiful location overlooking the Babylonstoren mountain, and has attracted 17000 visitors to its tasting centre in the past year, more than double from the year before and making up 20 % of its sales, Carolyn Martin, Creation owner with husband JC, told me proudly when I visited yesterday. The tarring of the far-end of the R320 is expected to start in February, and is excellent news for all wine estates on the Hermanus Wine Route, in making it far more attractive to wine lovers.
POSTSCRIPT 1/12: In her speech at the launch of the Hermanus Wine Route R320 charity wine today, Creation’s Carolyn Martin praised the Hermanus Wine Route, and its unique wine estates. “Our scenic route unites the passion and reputation of fifteen wineries, each growing small volumes of premium quality wine in carefully and sustainably managed vineyards. WOSA’S slogan, “Variety is in our Nature”, is a sentiment clearly echoed along the Hermanus Wine Route. Each cellar on the route offers a unique experience and I’d like to give you just a tiny little thumbnail sketch of each: Hermanuspietersfontein is renowned for their biodiversity efforts and also enjoys great popularity for their buzzing Saturday markets. Whalehaven is the smallest cellar with the largest range of wines. At the trendsetting Southern Right, experiments for the ageing of wine under the sea are underway… Ashbourne is becoming known for it blends, and Hamilton Russell is the estate that first put Hermanus on the world wine map. Now on to Bouchard Finlayson with its distinctive cellar and pioneering winemaker, Peter Finlayson. (Peter, by the way, is famous for describing Pinot as “velvet sliding down your throat”!). La Vierge is renowned for its boules, its Champagne Verandah and its quirky labels. One of Sumaridge’s many attractions is the fabulous guest house with its marvellous views where some of you will be staying over tonight. When I think of Newton Johnson I think of great Pinot, and yes this cellar has scored 5 stars in John Platter’s Wine Guide for their Pinot Noir over the past three years. Spookfontein with its own resident ghost can especially be commended for its commitment to organic farming … among Ataraxia’s many claims to fame is their art in the chapel and the “ringing of the church bell” … while both Domaine des Dieux and Mount Babylon excel in the creation of outstanding Methode Cap Classique wine. At Jakob’s Vineyard you simply have to taste their highly rated Bordeaux blend …and here at Creation I believe one of our greatest attractions is the wine and food pairing experience”.
Hermanus Wine Route, R320, Hermanus. www.hermanuswineroute.com Twitter: @HermanusWine
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage