Pendock gets hit for a six by Sunday Express wine guru Jamie Goode in a bad tempered blog posting yesterday. Reacting to my South African perspective on the demise of the Wall Street Journal wine column of Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher last year, he ignores the argument and seeks to defend the indefensible, some bigoted comments he made on Pinotage. Which he then reinforces with yet more uninformed comments: “It’s very difficult to make world class Pinotage” (rubbish, last year’s International Trophy for Top Red Single Varietal over £10 at the Decanter World Wine Awards was trousered by Kaapzicht Steytler Pinotage 2006) and “Pinotage is not the USP [unique selling proposition] he claims it to be” (more rubbish, the operative adjective here is “unique”, of course there are many other strong suits).
The amazing thing about his reaction is that he reacts at all. The story is not about him. It is about two other wine writers who do like Pinotage and by quoting him and an SA winemaker, I was simply setting the scene for Pinotage as a controversial grape. He is obviously very touchy as he posted a comment on my blog shortly after it went up (no doubt thanks to google alert or ego surfing) claiming his comments were made in jest. Although a week later he now blogs his frustrations and throws in a red herring “I don’t see why he has to bring Wines of South Africa (WOSA) into it in the way he does.”
I simply mentioned that WOSA had recently flown him to SA to establish a connection for SA readers although at the time quite a few questions were asked by producers about the timing of his whirlwind visit (premium economy) three weeks after they had flown to London (economy class) to present their wares at the WOSA Mega-Tasting. One cheeky producer enquired why Goode was only good for premium economy while Tim Atkin, another frequent WOSA guest, gets business class. But I saw it rather as a missed opportunity as his trip coincided with the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award lunch in Cape Town – the major SA winemaking competition – which he did not attend.
Jamie’s question am I “suggesting that WOSA should blacklist foreign press who are critical of Pinotage” is another red herring as his comments about Pinotage were made before his trip, as we both know. Whether value for money is achieved by flying sacred cow UK wine hacks to SA I’ll leave to the management of WOSA who presumably have to justify their budgets to producers. But as I write for the readers of the Sunday Times and this blog, I’ll certainly carry on pointing out that many of these self-proclaimed Emperors of Wine (both local and foreign) have no clothes on. Heck, next he’ll claim it’s not racist to refer to SA wines as “saffers” as he does; “saffer” being a derogatory term for white South Africans (mostly expats and people living in the UK) derived from the homophonic “K” word of another group of (mostly extinct) bigots.
Interesting take on the etymology for the word “saffer” (more often rendered as “saffa”).
In the UK it is and always has been a neutral and if anything slightly affectionate slang term for South Africans, much like Ozzie and Kiwi are for Australians and New Zealanders.
Homophony with the “K” word is nothing more than co-incidental and very much in your imagination.
A “Saffer”/ “Saffe”/ “Safa” is a derogatory, mildly racist short term for a South African. Etymology: Stemming from the German, combining the abbreviation for South Africa (or South African) (SA-) with the German word for ape (-Affe).
I lived in the UK for close on 4 years and still live close to half the year in Europe. I have never heard the term Saffa being used in a derogatory way in the least. Let alone as a racist term. South Africans, SAfricans, Saffas?
Also I felt Jamie makes a good point here. He certainly does not have to like Pinotage. I do like the variety, but do not feel this difference in opinions should exclude him from WOSA’s list of journalists to deal with.
Lastly, where in your article do you write that your main concern was the missed regarding the as a missed opportunity the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Award lunch?
Some people do find “saffer” offensive.
I did not mention the Diners Club issue in the WSJ blog posting because this posting is not about Jamie Goode – I simply quote him to show that Pinotage is not universally loved.
I did however make the Diners point in http://blogs.timeslive.co.za/p.....es-a-wosa/ – perhaps I should have been less discrete and named the WOSA journos on the tour.
I agree that disliking Pinotage should not exclude a journo from WOSA’s largesse but having a closed mind is a different matter entirely.
Marc is right on this one. Saffa/Saffer is not used in the UK in a derogatory way. The connection you are trying to make with the K word is nothing more than specious.
Comments on Jamie’s post? There’s only one that I can see and it’s not even clear what the motivation for it is – it could just as well be an objection to his style.
WikiAnswers is hardly authoritative.
Neil, I don’t know why you have me in your sights like this. But your post here comes across as malevolent. You are clearly trying to stir up as much trouble as possible.
Saffer, whatever its etymology, is not at all racist here in London, where we have lots of South African expats – we use it just as we would kiwi or ozzie, or as the ozzies would refer to us as poms.
As for the premium economy/business class jibe, I fly whatever class I’m booked into. This time it was premium economy. Should WOSA pay for business class for another journalist, that’s entirely up to them. Tim is more senior than me, so I’d perfectly understand if he got better treatment. But I suspect it’s merely an issue of the trip being booked at short notice and the cost of flights being more (it’s a popular time of year to travel). I was also sharing this trip with two other journalists.
And you say I’m closed-minded. How come? I think I’m actually pretty open-minded. Is it just because my conclusions don’t match yours?
This isn’t really a discussion about Pinotage any more. It’s you on some crusade to bash (1) me; (2) UK writers and (3) WOSA. You’ve left the path of reasoned debate.
I didn’t think your initial “Pinotage loses two friends” was too harsh on Jamie, but likewise his 1st comment on your piece could (should) have been read at face value as well.
Jamie’s blog post is possible over-reacting as well, although I agree with him that mentioning WOSA as you did implied something illicit. It did leave the way open for you to reply but this piece escalates the whole thing beyond a joke and shame on both of you for letting the situation escalate this far.
Regardless your parting shot about saffer being linked to the dreaded K word is obscene. Saffer, while not a term I’ve used myself, is definately NOT regarded in the UK as anything other than referring to a South African (SAf – er), to imply otherwise has crossed the line.
Handbags at dawn Neil, and it only the 5th of January! You are fast becoming the Julius Malema of wine: conspiracy theories, I drove around in a Honda you a helicopter, I paid all my own expenses but you got a free trip, the word sighted guide at every opportunity, personal attacks on the Grape Gang and anyone associated with Platter, Tim Atkin, Jamie Goode the list grows.
Cant you for once do what you do so well: talk about the beautiful game: WINE. Sometimes a bit of diplomacy goes a long way, is it so difficult to pick up the phone, or to email and ask JG personally what he meant by his saffer remark. Perhaps you would have got a straight answer…BUT maybe straight honest answers are not what you looking for and controversy, personal attacks and mud slinging are.
Happy New Year Neil
The French say ‘Sudaf’ for we peeps hanging on the bottom of the continent. The people in the UK may think a Saffer is just a stylish way of naming Sudafs, but it is a K-word sound-alike. It reminds me of a professor in the US who used the word niggardly in front of his students, after which he lost his position. Some words should just go out of fashion.
‘Discrete’ should be spelled ‘discreet’. Cheers.
Lots of comments – none about our USP! One comment in the Goode (not a reference to bad Neil) blog with which I disagree is that most of the world-class SA producers avoid Pinotage – I thought that Kanonkop and Steytler were CONCENTRATING on it!
Well said, Guy!
Where is the support for Niel from Pinotage producers? They can’t all still be at Stilbaai or perhaps they’re scared of Jamie trashing them on his blog!
this discussion isn’t about Pinotage. It’s about Neil being unreasonable, confrontational and rude.
Jamie, “unreasonable, confrontational and rude” sums up your original comments on Pinotage. Looks like you can dish it out, but you can’t take it!
I think the Pinotage producers are used to bad publicity and have learned from long experience to pick their fights and choose forums where they can actually change points-of-view.
I think a spat like this one is a good place to stay clear, from their perspective.
I’m sorry that I came to know Mr. Pendock’s writtings through such a bad, sad debate – or worse: badly, sadly conducted, since the essence of it might be of interest to many people….
This year we are excited to witness a growth in the number of organizations and websites dedicated to celebrating and promoting this day.