The day after the Argus, which should more properly be called the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour (after all the Argus has now become a Food Lover’s Market in central Cape Town, a great improvement on the newspaper) Pick ‘n Pay was back in the news with the launch of the SASSI Seafood Circle at the Harbour House on the Waterfront last night.
French terroiristes are up in arms over an EU proposal to let the term Château apply to wines made from bought in grapes. But what is truly amazing in the Telegraph story is that around 80% of French wine is geographically defined – i.e. wine made from grapes grown on a specific site, so called terroir wine. Truly hard to believe given the large co-ops in the big volume Languedoc and the south of France.
In SA its surely the exact opposite, if not worse, with many of the big name estates making wine from bought in grapes. In addition to big brands like Two Oceans, Tall Horse, Obiqwa and so on, many proud estate labels contain the proviso Wine of Origin, Western Cape. As we found terroir tasting for our upcoming Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013. Many icons were absent from our blind tastings because they were not WO wines, unlike the wonderful Tierhoek Chenin Blanc 2009 below I enjoyed at Scusi in Parkview last Thursday night.
The Distell company secretary had a busy May, selling over R6 million worth of stock. A lead followed by other directors who offloaded large this month. Yet with the recent weakness of the rand, the largest liquor corporate in SA must be coining it. So are the directors selling too soon?
Fascinating story on the R160 billion/year luxury Swiss watch export market by Michael Skapinker in the Financial Times last week. How ironic that the main ingredients of those luxury watches – gold and diamonds – do not naturally occur in Switzerland. Yet most of the profits are made by the gnomes of Geneva and their shareholders, while sick African miners are left to sue for healthcare benefits after generations spent mining those very commodities.
Paul Cluver, CEO of the eponymous wine producer, gave a presentation on Pinot Noir, the heartbreak grape, at Prowein this week. As part of the presentation, he asked three wine writers for their opinion and as is so often the case, the answers reveal as much about the wine writers as they answer the question.
When will we see our first corporate Wine Ambassador, the face of a brand? Meerlust already has proprietor Hannes Myburgh and Rust en Vrede is blessed with Jean Engelbrecht. But what’s missing is the face of Two Oceans (someone with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on their CV) and Obikwa (the late Henry Cele who was such a great Shaka, would have been perfect) while that Farmer Brown chicken fancier would do great as the visage of Roodeberg. After all, ambassadors sell whisky, as the story below, rejected by a glossy lifestyle magazine in November, attempted to say. They’d commissioned a Q&A and wanted the formula neatly reproduced.
The annual Whisky Live Festival has more ambassadors than the United Nations. But then it is the largest whisky festival on the planet. Which may seem incredible, until you are told that South Africa is the 7th largest market for Scotch in the world by value, ahead of Germany and breathing down the neck of South Korea.
With more brands on bottle store facings from Scotland’s 100+ distilleries than member countries of the United Nations, it makes sense for producers to appoint ambassadors to market their product. Ewan Gunn has landed the job of every whisky wonk’s dream: brand ambassador for Diageo, the largest whisky producer of them all and the face of Johnnie Walker, the top-selling brand of blended whiskies.
Mixed signals from Vindaba, the wine tourism conference scheduled to run in parallel with Cape Wine 2012 next September. WOSA media apparatchik André Morgenthal is quoted by the Whale Cottage blog as claiming that Vindaba will be a “stand-alone self-funded event, which will not be funded by WOSA” from their R25 million honey pot. But quite why a producer would pay R20K for a 2x2m stand at Vindaba when they already pay for a stand at Cape Wine 2012 is moot as there will be “free flow access” between the two exhibitions. Certainly a Vindaba presentation doing the rounds paints a different picture of WOSA’s involvement:
Andy Haddon (Andy Hadfield and Harry Haddon) threw the cat among the pigeons earlier this year when they unsheathed realtimewine: twitter reviews of wines by the drinking public in reaction to the twaddle peddled by self-appointed gurus in publications like PSG – not Jannie Mouton’s fantastically successful investment asset, but rather the Platter Sighted Guide. But while tweets are limited to 140 characters, bet you didn’t know that Platter tasting notes have an 80 character upper limit!