Big in Japan - a Golden Duo for De Grendel in Sakura Japan Women's Wine Awards

De Grendel Viognier 2019 and Merlot 2017 earned a pair of Gold medals in the 2020 SAKURA Japan Women’s Wine Awards, a unique competition that evaluates wines from around the world from a woman’s perspective.

Now in its 7th edition, the SAKURA awards were judged on blind tasting by 560 Japanese female wine professionals – winemakers, sommeliers, buyers, educators and journalists – evaluating over 4 300 wines from 29 countries. Only about half of the entries earned a Double Gold, Gold or Silver medal.

“Japan is an important, and growing market for us and supports our planned growth in exports. Earning awards like this helps to position our wines in a highly competitive market and puts them directly in front of the Japanese consumer in traditional and online wine supermarkets and specialist wine stores,” De Grendel’s marketing manager, Righard Theron, said.

De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019, so good with Jane-Anne Hobbs’s Chicken with Roasted Onions, Grapes & Verjuice…

De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019

The De Wet family is now into its fourth generation with the two small children of Johann and Gera, approaching school going age. While the De Wets have to be regarded as foremost Chardonnay specialists in the wine lands, they do produce an impressive range of other white varieties and some excellent reds. Last year, Johann de Wet came up to Johannesburg to launch the De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019 at Saint, David Higgs’s go to restaurant in Sandton. Lovely occasion crowned by a sublime wine.

And now some 6 months later, the wine is performing really well.

Dawn harvested Chardonnay

The grapes for the De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2019 are hand harvested, early in the morning to retain as much of the freshness of flavour in the grapes.

Pierre Jourdan Méthode Cap Classique Brut NV, great partner to Christine Capendale’s Apple Tarte Tatin…

Achim von Arnim, founder of The Haute Cabrière Wine Estate once told me that it is a tradition in France that a Champagne House will name its Champagne after the first owner of the land. In the case of the Haute Cabrière Wine Estate in the beautiful Franschhoek Wine Appellation, this person was Pierre Jourdan, a French Huguenot, to whom the land was first granted. The Pierre Jourdan Méthode Cap Classique Brut nv was first produced by Achim in 1986, the first MCC in the Haute Cabrière range of wines. Achim was one of the Cape’s early pioneers of this style of wine. Now under the Cellarmastership of Achim and Hildegard von Arnim’s son, Takuan, the range has further expanded, now to include two demi sec wines which are finding great favour.

The grapes for this wine are Chardonnay 85% and Pinot Noir 15%, the two great grape varieties of both Champagne and Bordeaux.


Whether you’re toasting the sunset or pairing it with fish on the braai, these cool-climate sauvvies will leave you smiling…

Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2018

This is one of just three sauvignon blancs to claim a coveted five-star rating in the 2020 Platter’s Guide. Though Tokara’s cellar, and many of its vineyards, overlooks the Stellenbosch winelands, the grapes for this wine were drawn from its vineyards on Highlands farm in the cooler Elgin valley.

“The Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin is a beacon of all things cool-climate, with fresh aromas of gooseberry, lime peel and blackcurrant leaf,” says winemaker Stuart Botha.

It’s drinking nicely right now, but if you can bear to hold onto a few bottles the zippy acidity ensures it’ll keep improving over the next decade.

15 best South African wines you need to try

15 best South African wines you need to try

From crisp sauvigon blanc to plummy shiraz, tap into the huge variety from the country

The eighth biggest wine producer in the world, South Africa offers perhaps more variety and diversity than any other wine-growing country. All the main wine regions are in the southwestern area of the Cape where conditions are most likely to mirror those of the Mediterranean. Areas such as Paarl, Stellenbosch, Swartland, Walker Bay and Franschhoek have all become synonymous with top quality wines. The most popular red wines are shiraz (syrah), cabernet sauvignon, along with cinsault (or cinsaut), pinot noir and the homegrown Cape favourite, pinotage. Chenin blanc remains the white wine of choice although there are plenty of splendid examples of sauvignon blanc too.

Interview with Morné Vrey - Delaire Graff Estate Winemaker


In the early 1980s John and Erica Platter, creators of the eponymous Wine Guide, bought a farm nestled between majestic mountains and overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch, called Avontuur. It was renamed Delaire, French for ‘from the eyrie’ as it looked down over the most amazing scenery.

Laurence Graff, the founder of Graff Diamonds, visited the Estate for the first time back in 2003 and felt a strong connection in an instant – it was love at first sight. He acquired the Estate in the same year and went about with dedication and purpose to transform it into South Africa’s most desirable art, hospitality and wine destination. An avid collector of modern and contemporary art, a world leader within the diamond industry and an equally devoted philanthropist, Graff opened the doors to Delaire Graff Estate in 2009.

Climate Change Is Rapidly Altering Wine As We Know It

In early November 2019, more than 11,000 international scientists signed an SOS on behalf of our planet. The proclamation, titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency” and published in the academic journal BioScience, made explicit connections between human activity and severe environmental repercussions. It also marked the first time such a vast and diverse pool of scientists rallied in support of as urgent a phrase as “climate emergency.”

Later that month, that publication was bolstered by a report from the World Meteorological Organization that claimed global greenhouse gas concentrations, and, specifically, those generated by human activity, had shattered new records. This is bad news, because those gases don’t just disappear: They stay in our atmosphere, trap extra heat near earth’s surface and cause global temperatures to rise.

De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2019, so good with Jane-Anne Hobbs’s Spaghettini with a Double-Creamy Onion, Lemon & ‘Caviar’ Sauce…

The vintage of 2019 followed the break of the longest drought in living memory. The crop delivered was of fine quality though of medium size. The grapes for the De Grendel Koetshuis Sauvignon Blanc 2019 came from chosen vineyards in weathered shale soils in Lutzville and Darling, while a small dash of Semillon from the De Grendel Vineyards.

Once in the cellar, the hand harvested bunches were destemmed and crushed grapes and then allowed skin contact for 6 hours. The juice was cool settled and taken for inoculation and fermentation in stainless steel tanks. 18% of the juice was fermented in a mix of new and second fill French Oak barrels and was allowed to lie on the fine lees for 100 days. The Semillon, which makes up 9% of the blend was also fermented in oak barrels. Once ready, the wine was blended and prepared for bottling.

11 South African Wine Caves For Subterranean Sipping

For those of you who have not yet had the chance to tour a winery cave, here’s a brief introduction: A wine cave is a subterranean chamber built into a hillside (usually) and is used for storage and aging of wine.

An underground tasting experience is not only the best solution to savour wines at its organoleptic splendour, but it also offers visitors an insight into the estate’s history while getting a taste of their best bottles.

A fair amount of wineries in the Cape winelands have wine grottos that are open to visitors, offering sit-down tastings or guided walks. Some even allow guests to sample wines straight from the barrels, while others zhoosh things up with ambrosial food and wine pairings.

Here are eleven wine caves worth visiting the next time you’re out and about in the South African winelands.