Pressing questions (press shown below) are being raised as to how the Swartland came to dominate yesterday’s UCT Top 20 SA wineries poll. First placed Boekenhoutskloof mackintosh-hillhouse-chair Marc Kent, second placed baby Jesus of SA wine Eben Sadie and charming Chris and beautiful Andrea Mullineux in tenth position are all leading lights in the annual Swartland Revolution. An event that poll organizer Tim James is involved with.
Not that any impropriety is implied. After all, that Marc was first past the post is to be expected, as Boekenhoutskloof is Winery of the Year in the 2012 Platter sighted wine guide. But even with ten 2011 Platter pundits voting plus editor Phil, the 2011 Platter Winery of the Year, Nederburg, could not make the Top 20. A fantastic result and quite frankly, unbelievable as Nederburg had three five star stunners in 2012 and a record breaking five in 2011. Nederburg cellarmaster and TV star Razvan Macici must be wondering what you have to do to get into the Top 20! Surely the last shred of credibility at Platter has been lost by this result. Or is the poll perhaps a fix?
The only black in the 29-strong electorate seems to have been the gorgeous Swedish Scot “Hansi Blackadder” who is presumably Joakim Hansi Blackadder, the only judge without a first name, who was last year proclaimed sommelier of the year at – you guessed it – the Swartland Revolution! Cape Town dominates domiciliums while soutpiele outnumber rockspiders by better than ten to one. Funny that, as in the industry, its the other way round. Writers who actually know something about wine, like Ntsiki Biyela, Dave Hughes, Winnie Bowman, Marilyn Cooper, Emile Joubert, Bruce Jack, Harry Haddon, Dave Swingler, Dave Biggs, Miguel Chan, Jörg Pfützner, David Cope and Erica Platter – to choose a Baker’s dozen at random – are conspicuous by their absence.
Is the Mail & Guardian aware of the problems with a poll that appeared in their organ? Editor Nic Dawes caused a minor stir with his opinions about dining out in Johannesburg last year. What does he think about how wine is run down in Cape Town?
A lighter note has been injected into proceedings by a passing pedant from Portugal who pointed out that the totally excellent website of Boekenhoutskloof (so good, it could have been designed by Fanakalo) talks of a “vaslin Burcher” press in the winery. Surely ’Vaslin Bucher’ as my interlocutor continued, the mistake is “small but important methinks… especially as they are Number 1… the press is very famous… and it is made to sound like a risqué punishment device in an English boy’s public school.”
I personally thought media savvy Marc was making a play for those hairy sandals who eat Bircher Müsli. If Boekenhoutskloof made rum, then Winston Churchill’s summation of the Royal Navy as “sodomy, rum and the lash” would apply – vaseline and birching being two other variants of pressing.
David Bowie San say: Putting out the fire….with Vaseline.
Ha ha ha. Neil you’re funny. Marilyn Cooper, David Cope and Harry Haddon know something about wine??? HA HA HA!!!
Come on Andre
Marilyn is principal of the Cape Wine Academy where Tim James got his CWM; Wanted magazine sent David to Spain last month to write about food and wine while Harry has more experience in matters bibulous that most – heck, he used to work for Backsberg!
Counted quickly but I believe there were 8 Stellenbosch wineries in the “Top 20″ yet this is a Swartland coup? And although Boekenhoutskloof may source some grapes from the Swartland they cannot remotely be referred to as a Swartland winery!
Carla, Tim James himself calls Porseleinberg (in the Swartland) “the little organic empire that Callie Louw is ruling on behalf of Boekenhoutskloof” and the CWG lists the Porseleinberg as the source of grapes for the Boekenhoutskloof Syrah Auction Reserve 2009. So 30% of the Top 10 is not bad for the Swartland!
A new ministerial report has indicated the Swartland as a wine region with gross violations of farm-worker rights. So much so that a delegation from local government and NGOs will be inspecting the region later this month. Your panel thus shows an elitist slant in not taking basic human rights into account in your choices. Also, the whole panel is lily white. Shame on you. Shame on wine. Shame for hope.
@ “Women on Farms” – I’m all for stomping out farm worker rights violations, but can you please explain how the colour of one’s skin (either white, black, brown, yellow, red, green or any other colour) plays a role in making a person better qualified to draw up a plausible list of the top 20 wineries (quality of the wine being the driving factor) in our country?
Kwispedoor, I have sat in on lengthy meetings – where some of these very same judges have been present – where a need has been expressed to halt the depiction of the SA industry’s image as one of white and privileged. By incorporating a few black opinion formers, this panel would have only manifested its credibility. This panel says: only whites are qualified to express an opinion on our wineries as blacks have not been accepted into the inner sanctum of wine opinion-forming. Which world are you living in, Kwispedoor? Its lack of transformation is keeping the industry from realizing its true potential. If you are not aware of this, you really cannot be seen to hold the interests of SA wine to your heart.
Neil, you are being ludicrous. It’s an excellent list. Drawn up by a knowledgeable panel. You are letting your personal issues get in the way of objectivity.
Jamie, you would say that – you were a voter, a recipient of Swartland Revolution largesse last year and one of the highly paid foreign “judges” at the recent Top 100 SA Wines fiasco which is even more exploitative. You have zero credibility in this matter. Stick to surfing rather than messenger shooting.
Goode Lord – where did he come from?
@ Women on Farms – allow me to disagree in a civilized manner. IMHO transformation does not happen by putting the cart in front of the horse. For instance, giving a person a job he doesn’t qualify for, is not transformation. Providing that person with the proper training and education to successfully fill said job – that’s transformation. I get into Tembisa on a regular basis for charity work and I’m appalled at the sad divide between the poor masses and the rich benefactors of this country’s cart-before-the-horse “transformation”. That’s the world I’m living in. I hate politics and love wine, so you can understand why I don’t like the direction this is going – it’s a wine blog, after all.
Having said all that, perhaps Howard Booysen and Miguel Chan would have been good choices as participants in this poll. Not because of the colour of their skin (which is not black, incidentally), but because of their knowledge.
mmm… “that the totally excellent website of Boekenhoutskloof (so good, it could have been designed by Fanakalo)” was actually designed by MILK (www.milkisgood.co.za) but any reference to Fanakalo is a praise, so we will take it