News

WWF Honours De Wetshof Wine Estate with first Conservation Pioneer Award

De Wetshof Estate in Robertson is the first recipient of the WWF Conservation Pioneer Award, one of the accolades under the prestigious Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism and Wine Tourism Ambassador Awards. These awards, for 2022, were announced this week at Creation Winery in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Sponsored by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), the Conservation Pioneer Award intends to emphasise the critical role of eco- and social sustainability in the development and execution of a new generation of relevant and appealing competitive travel offerings.

De Wetshof Estate, situated in the Robertson Wine Valley some 160km east of Cape Town, is not only a world-famous wine farm, but has over three generations of ownership under the De Wet family been a leader of conservation and sustainability in the South African wine industry. The estate is now one of the 50 Cape wineries who are members of the WWF Conservation Champions initiative overseen by the WWF to recognise wine farms implementing exemplary programmes committed to conserving the flora and fauna on and surrounding their wine farms, as well as for their active involvement in producing wines to credentials underscoring sustainability in general.


Diemersdal Makes it Five in a Row at Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 Awards

No fancy stuff this time. After winning four Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards in a row with its revolutionary Winter Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, Diemersdal Estate in Durbanville this year nabbed its fifth consecutive Top 10 Award with the Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2021.

From 2017 to 2020, Diemersdal’s Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 awards went to the Winter Ferment, a unique wine made from Sauvignon Blanc juice frozen at harvest and fermented six months later, a process leading to a distinctive tropical fruit profile. At this year’s Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 competition, it was the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2021 that took the laurels, a wine made to minimum intervention principles with the sole aim of expressing the terroir of Diemersdal’s Durbanville location.


Archaeologists uncover 1,500 year old wine factory in Israel

A wine factory, comprising 1,500-year-old wine presses, has been uncovered by archaeologists in the city of Yavne, south of Tel Aviv.

The factory, that would have been be capable of producing two million litres of wine a year, includes five wine presses, ageing and bottling warehouses as well as kilns for firing amphorae in which the wine was stored, has been uncovered by archaeologists according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The site, according to the IAA, dates back to the Byzantine era around the 4th-5th century CE, making the winery the largest known to exist from the period.

The directors of the excavation Dr. Elie Haddad, Liat Nadav-Ziv and Dr. Jon Seligman said in a joint statement: “We were surprised to discover a sophisticated factory here, which was used to produce wine in commercial quantities. Furthermore, decorative niches in the shape of a conch, which adorned the winepresses, indicate the great wealth of the factory owners.”


The History of Pinotage in South Africa

The History of Pinotage in South Africa

There is so much to talk about when the topic of Pinotage, a uniquely South African grape, comes up. From historic tales of creation – merging Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut) grapes by Prof Perold – to today’s legends crafting the latest Pinotage or Pinotage blends. The Pinotage tale is one worth well telling and should always end where it is enjoyed with friends, food or maybe even somewhere alone with a bottle of Pinotage as your company.

Meet the father of Pinotage

The story of Pinotage starts with its creator, Prof. Abraham Izak Perold (20.10.1880 – 11.12.1941). Perold’s academic achievements paved the way for the creation of Pinotage and included a B.A. degree in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, Ph.D in Chemistry (Germany) and a temporary professorship in Chemistry at the University of Cape Town. This background equipped him with a unique skill set and after his professorial stint in 1906 the Cape government, wanting to extend the range of grapes planted in the region, sent Perold on a grape varietal scouting mission.


Introducing: La Motte's French-inspired Vin de Joie Rosé

La Motte is introducing a new addition to its well-known portfolio of wines – a French-style rosé called Vin de Joie. The 2021 La Motte Vin de Joie Rosé is an elegant choice that promises to bring joy: whether it is a social joy - having a glass of wine with friends as part of a lazy lunch - or a simple joy - a quiet hour of reading or watching the sun sets…

“We have been thinking about adding a rosé to the La Motte Collection for a while now”, explains La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg. “I was impressed by the elegance of a Provençal rosé when I browsed the French wine hall at the 2019 Prowein Wine Trade Show in Germany. Tasting the wine and talking to the winemaker at the brand’s booth, I also found out that the wine was made just outside La Motte d'Aigues – the town after which we believed La Motte was named!”

Serendipity rather than coincidence one would think and enough reason for Hein to bring a bottle of the rosé back to Franschhoek as inspiration for the La Motte team.


Tokara goes the whole nine yards in Tim Atkin’s SA 2021 Report

The Tokara winemaking team is on top of the world with three Wines of the Year and nine wines, starring Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon in the leading role, scoring 91 points or more in Tim Atkin’s much anticipated South Africa 2021 Special Report.

Top achiever this year is the TELOS 2016 on 96/100. His second highest score of 95 points goes to the Director’s Reserve Red 2018, with the Reserve Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 and the Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 scoring 94 and 91 respectively.

The highest scoring Tokara white wine is the signature Director’s Reserve White 2018 on 95 points. The other stand-out whites are the Reserve Collection Chardonnay 2019 and the Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2020 both on 93 points.

Also standing tall on 93 points is the ultra-elegant Tokara Cap Classique 2013, while the Reserve Collection Syrah 2017 fetched 92 points.


Haute Grandeur Global Awards

Delaire Graff Estate achieves excellence in the 2021 Haute Grandeur Global Awards.

We are honoured to announce that Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa has received a number of accolades in the recently announced 2021 Haute Grandeur Global Excellence Awards. The Awards recognise remarkable achievements in delivering consistent, exceptional experiences in the global luxury hospitality industry.

Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa has been named as the best in class on the global stage in the Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards in both the Culinary Experience and Lodge categories. The lodge also achieved the designation Best Destination Hotel in Africa and the Delaire Graff Owner’s Villa was announced as the Best Boutique Villa in Africa.

Delaire Graff Spa received four titles in the Haute Grandeur Global Spa Awards acknowledging the impeccable standards upheld by Spa Director, Hildegard Carstens, named Best Spa Manager. Further awards included Best Luxury Spa and Best Hideaway Spa in Africa, as well as Best Hotel Spa in South Africa.


Spectacular South African Shiraz Day

Long before the Shiraz wave hit South Africa in the 1990s, the Durbanville Wine Valley was pioneering this loved Rhône variety. The cool maritime climate and soils of decomposed granite and clay have always provided an ideal terroir for Shiraz in a classic, restrained style compared to the more opulent offerings of warmer regions.

This special offer of Diemersdal Shiraz consists of one bottle of each of the following vintages: 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, with two bottles of the very fine 2020 making up the balance. And these wines come with a pedigree of accolades: 2016 won a Gold Veritas medal, 2018 took Gold at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, as did the 2019 at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards. And with the awards season coming up, we are predicting great things from the 2020 as well.

The variety has been a stalwart at Diemersdal for decades, the vineyard loving the area’s cold winters and mild summers, and wine-lovers really enjoying the feature of Shiraz made in this part of the Cape winelands. Juandré Bruwer, one of Diemersdal’s winemakers and a passionate Shiraz acolyte, says that cool-climate Shiraz is his favourite style of this wine.

“When the grapes ripen in a cool climate, such as Diemersdal, the wine is bright, fresh with gorgeous red-fruit,” he says.


The Master of Cape Syrah

Cape winemakers can hardly afford to be one-trick ponies. Unlike their Old World brethren who spend most of their lives committed to working a handful of grape varieties into two to three wine-styles, South African vignerons must tap into the national vinous psyche. Which in most instances demands an almost promiscuous approach in handling a vastly diverse array of grape varieties and wine-styles under one umbrella brand.

Here in the New South, it is not uncommon to find one winery happily producing Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Merlot – with a Cap Classique bubbly or two thrown in for good measure. Port and Noble Late Harvest, optional. It is wild and varied, and we like it.

Specialisation is a rare luxury afforded only a few winemakers. Although, there are a handful of Cape winemakers whose skill with a certain variety has risen to the surface; the yin meeting yang, the experience, craftmanship and commitment offering the consumer a guarantee of something exceptional. Danie de Wet and Chardonnay springs to mind. Beyers Truter and Pinotage. Jan Boland Coetzee with Pinot Noir, while Sauvignon Blanc happens rather well when handled by Thys Louw.