* Professor Russel Botman, Rector of the University of Stellenbosch and Chairman of the Board of Cape Town Design NPC, the company which is administering Cape Town’s hosting of World Design Capital, has passed away.
* ‘Enter the Ninja‘ by Die Antwoord, one of South Africa’s most successful groups, stars in the TV commercial for Dior Addict. Lien Botha has written an interesting evaluation of the use of Die Antwoord’s music in the commercial, based on a collage of different views.
* MyCiTi Bus fares increase today, the minimum cost being R 4,80 and the maximum peak fare being R8,90, both for a 5 km distance on a Mover package, now seemingly charged on a distance basis. The MyConnect card cost increases from R25 to R35, a 40% increase! The City of Cape Town media release states that every effort has been made to contain the rate increase, but that fuel price increases have impacted on costs. The increases are said to be in line with other public transport cost increases. Six months ago the minimum cost of a one-way trip between Camps Bay and the V&A Waterfront Silo stop was R4,40 – now the equivalent fare would be R5,40 on a 5 – 10km distance cost, a 23% increase! The fare increases are far above the inflation rate!
* Winemakers have been warned by American Viticultural Research Climatologist Professor Gregory Jones that the world’s climate is changing and become more extreme. Last year was the fourth hottest since 1880. The last thirteen years are among the warmest experienced, and the last five years have seen the most records in climate extremes in the USA. The impact on vines is that they cannot resist temperatures below freezing. Vines become more vulnerable to pests, soils become drier and more saline, and soils can be eroded in heavy rains. Professor Jones called for more research on the impact of weather extremes on viticulture, to reduce the vulnerability of vines.
* New Zealand is considering making tourists renting cars when on holiday in that country take a driver’s test, given the large number of accidents involving tourists, many of them fatal. Many Capetonians would wish for a similar requirement locally!
* UK wine writer Jamie Goode suggests 35 red wines in different price categories, including only one South African wine in his list of ‘the very best of reds‘. Mullineux Syrah 2012 is included in the £10 and over list, and is described by him as ‘…a new star on the South African wine scene…‘.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage