Cheers to unforgettable wine journey in Weekend Post

A tasting through six decades of Pinotage at Cape Wine 2015
STAND-OUT HIGHLIGHT A tasting through six decades of Pinotage at Cape Wine 2015
Image: supplied

Eastern Cape people love wine, and wine people love the Eastern Cape.

This simple statement is the key “take-out” for me from just over 10 years of having the privilege to write this column for Weekend Post.

That Eastern Cape people love wine is easily seen in the number of long-standing wine clubs, the ever-growing number of wine tasting and food pairing events (hardly a week goes by without something wine-related on the local calendar), also the growing number of local wine bars and specialist wine shops.

The wine producers love us in turn, because we’re not only enthusiastic and appreciative of wine – from value through to premium level – but we enthusiastically buy the stuff too.

Countless wine producers will tell you that after making a trip to the Eastern Cape for the first time to market their wines, they are blown away by our enthusiasm for wine, our knowledge and eagerness to learn more. And they return again and again.

Many will tell of selling out their stock at local wine festivals, wishing they’d packed more into their boot or trailer, and being pleasantly surprised at the volume of orders placed at tastings and dinner events.

Look at Graaff-Reinet’s Stoep Tasting Wine Weekend, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year – sold-out tickets most years and a lengthy waiting list of wine producers eager to join the festivities, so much so that this year it will run over two weekends in May.

Similarly, its younger sibling the Great Kenton Wine Festival has fast become a highlight on the local calendar, with wine producers queuing up for a spot; and the Bay’s own twice-yearly NEW Wine Show has a similar “problem” of trying to keep things intimately uncrowded while accommodating demand from producers wanting a slice of the action.

For this final edition of Weekend Post, the ask to share some highlights of 10 years of A Vine Time proved to be a little challenging. Partly because it’s hard to choose from the many incredible experiences of travel, wine tastings and outstanding food, meeting fascinating people and learning more about wine, but also because it would seem a little bit “braggy” to enumerate the privileges that come about through this sideline job of mine.

However, turning the dilemma on its head, brought the realization that this newspaper is recognised by the wine industry as THE platform on which to talk to the Eastern Cape about wine.

The media releases in my inbox, the wine samples arriving on the proverbial doorstep, the invitations to events and travel opportunities in the Western Cape are testimony to that.

Take Cape Wine for instance – the massive event held every three years in Cape Town by Wines of South Africa to market our industry and its wines to a global audience of commercial buyers, sommeliers, critics and wine journalists.

It was always exclusively for the international market, no local buyers or wine writers invited, but when they opened the doors in 2015 to the local wine media, Weekend Post cracked the nod.

And that brought about one of my absolute highlights that I still treasure and talk about to this day – a tasting through six decades of South African pinotage with top sommelier Higgo Jacobs, proving the ageability and diversity of our wine, from one of the very few remaining  bottles of 1967 Lanzerac through to a 2013 Spioenkop.

That tasting, like the entire experience of this wine column over the past decade, was a fascinating, unforgettable journey.

I am excited to continue the journey in the new Weekender – see you next Friday!



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