Business Day today quotes Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies that “the government is making some headway in getting China to open its huge market to South Africa’s value-added goods such as wines and not just to raw materials.” After a DTI exhibition in the Middle Kingdom in 2011 Rob claims “there have been R400m-worth of confirmed orders for value-added products, the biggest being wine.” Meanwhile SAWIS reports exports to China last year were down 7% from 5.5 to 5.1 million litres. So unless the wine component was all Johann Krige’s Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage, R400m looks optimistic. If this is “starting to make headway” then Rob should apply to run WOSA who last year famously claimed exports of bottled wine were on the up when it was the opposite, actually.Read More…
Tomorrow evening sees the emergence of WOW – Wines of Origin Wellington – the birth of a new appellation which will pop up like a dragon from an egg in the Drakenstein Mountains at Kleine Valleij. This is the hottest ticket in the Winelands after which next week’s Cape Wine 2012 jamboree will be nothing more than an anti-climax. It’s not often that a wine appellation gets born as only the most dedicated producers can meet the stringent demands of Dumipie Bayly and his demarcation committee who travel round the Winelands in a combi equipped with a braai, loudly demanding nourishment, like baby dragons in the nest.
Wars are like London buses. Nothing for half an hour and then along come two, at the same time. With Ecuador threatening the mother of all media battles over that famous Ecuadorian Julian Assange, British woes have just redoubled with Decanter magazine “simply the best in the world” speculating on a Whisky/Wine trade war between SA and the UK. Weapons of mass destruction are back in the news with a bang.
The question on everybody’s lips as the lunatics take over the marketing asylum at Penfold’s and offer an ampoule of 2004 Block 42 for £100,000 is whether it’s really an ampoule or should it more properly be called a vial? An ampoule typically contains a single dose of a drug to be injected by hypodermic syringe and the 750ml capacity of the Penfold’s ampoule means we’re talking elephantine patients.
Bottelary Hills winery Stellenrust, the largest Fairtrade producer in SA, has won gold. And we’re not talking the tawdry tat dished out by dodgy wine competitions. But Olympic Gold as their Chenin Blanc 2012 and a 2012 Rose made from Pinotage, Shiraz and Merlot has been selected along with a red blend from Brazil (hosts of the Olympics in 2016) as the bespoke wines for the London Olympic Games. The good news was reported last week by Decanter.
The rough beast of WB Yeats “its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born” in his apocalyptic poem The Second Coming has a name: Concha y Toro. Half shell, half bull, it is now listed in over 200 Pick ‘n Pay supermarkets around the country, including Bethlehem in the Free State. It’s actually the ear of the bull, but shell also Google translates and after tasting their maritime Sauvignons Blanc, perhaps even more appropriate. The star of yesterday’s High Street Shopping Village Winter Wine Festival in Durbanville IMHO was the 2008 Trio blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc plus Shiraz (a style Decanter magazine, the best in the world they claim, calls a Bordeaux Blend), being modeled below by importer Andy Barrett from NixAn Wines in Bedfordview.
Marc Soccio from Rabobank took Distell’s Asian marketing team under “drank smous par excellence” Marius Fouche through their new report on wine in China yesterday at VinExpo. Called “Mind the Gap”, for SA exporters the Gap in question is the disconnect between warehouses and consumer drinks cabinets in China. The distribution pipeline is full of SA wine and Chinese shop shelves groan with 2006 vintage whites. The result of the activities of importers and distributors whose numbers have tripled over five years, according to Marc. A hangover is predicted.
Jorge Monteiro has been head of ViniPortugal for less than a year and in that time has seriously shaken up the marketing of Portuguese wine. Perhaps the most visible change was the scrapping of the protection racket by which three UK supermarket chains were paid to list Portuguese wines. One of them, Majestic, then had the cheek to demand a marketing discount from the producers of the Portuguese brands they stocked. Jorge called their bluff and offered to present in-store tastings and promotions at his expense, but was turned down. Confirming it was all about making easy money rather than marketing a category.
Some PR practitioners are better than others. In addition to her substantial natural assets, Nicolette Waterford has access to helicopters. So when she stopped by at Doolhof to talk wine tourism on International Malbec Day earlier this week, she choppered in like Hilary Clinton. How cool is that!
Browsing the internet this morning, I nearly swallowed my veneers when I saw Platter pundit Angela Lloyd described as “a Cape winemaster” in a depressing story on the dearth of SA icons by Ant Rose in Decanter magazine. Like most serious SA tasters, Angela is a glorious amateur – no MW or CWM “qualifications” I’m afraid, Ant. Where’s the excitement? asked Ant noting that “the Cape is the only New World giant without any icon wines to its name.” Well Ant, if you want excitement, hanging out with Ange and the Platter pips is a sure way to miss the jol. Give me a call next time and I’ll take you to the Alexander Bar.
But how typical of the colonialists at Decanter to commission a soutie to write an in-depth story on SA icon wines. They should call it “terroir by tourist.” The story appeared five years ago this month, so has anything changed. Are there any icons out there?Read More…