Posts Tagged ‘African’

 

South African wine exports to reach now high in 2013.

South African wine exports to reach now high in 2013.

 

South African wine exports are poised to beat their 2012 record this year following high yields and on demand for premium vintages from North America and Asia, industry executives and growers said.

Wine exports rose to 469 million liters (124 million U.S. gallons) in the year ending April 30, up 25 percent from the previous 12 months and more than triple the total shipped in 2000, data from the Wines of South Africa trade body, or WOSA, show. Bulk shipments rose 53 percent while those of bottled and packaged wines fell 5 percent, as large producers bottled more in export markets.

Although wine has been grown in South Africa since Dutch settlers arrived in the 17th century, the country was cut off from trade during the apartheid era of racial discrimination, which ended in 1994 with the first all-race elections. Two decades on, exporters are seeking to consolidate in established markets such as the U.K. and Germany while boosting sales in Asia and Africa.

“If you think about South Africa’s history, we’ve been making wine for 350 years but it’s only really since 1994 that we’ve actively pursued the export market, that we’ve been welcome and accepted,” Johan Erasmus, general manager of the Glen Carlou winery in the Paarl Valley north east of Cape Town, said at a London tasting in March. “We are much more in touch with consumers worldwide.”

A wet winter meant plenty of underground water, helping to boost yields in 2013, according to Su Birch, Chief Executive Officer at WOSA. Yields at the 2012 harvest rose to 14.13 metric tons per hectare (2.471 acres), the highest for at least six years, and probably climbed to about 14.90 tons this year, according to estimates based on preliminary data from WOSA.

 

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Distell is to preview its wines for the Nederburg Auction at the London International Wine Fair.

 

The 39th Nederburg Auction, which centres around rare South African wines, is to feature 133 wines from 80 wineries – 24 fewer wines than in 2012 in a bid to “let the best wines stand out”.

 

Sarah Gandy, Distell international marketing manager for wine in the UK and Europe, said: “London International Wine Fair is a great platform to showcase a range of the wines which have been entered to the Nederburg Auction while all of the key industry players are under one roof.

 

“The event gives potential buyers a chance to taste the Nederburg wines and facilitates pre-auction bids. We will also have the Nederburg white winemaker, Wim Truter with us throughout the event to help raise the profile of Nederburg wines and the auction.”

 

Commenting on the Nederburg wines chosen by the selection panel, cellar master Razvan Macici said: “This is a healthy development in the evolution of the auction.  With the wider availability of exceptional quality wines globally through a variety of channels, it becomes essential to present auction bidders with options deemed truly original or unique and we are proud to be among those having such limited-edition wines to offer.

 

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Women in the Cape winelands are standing up to be counted, and are now producing their own wine, bottled under the label Women in Wine.

A group of 20 women, all with backgrounds in the wine industry, formed the company seven years ago, with “the dream of giving women, especially farm workers and their families, a share in the industry”.

With varied skills in marketing, wine analysis, finance, development and training, and social responsibility, the one thing the partners all had in common was that they all “enjoy a glass of quality wine”.

Women in Wine is the first South African wine-producing company that is owned, controlled and managed entirely by women.

“To date, women have made a significant contribution to the Cape’s wine industry without receiving recognition or benefiting from the industry’s business opportunities,” says Beverly Farmer, a founder member and the chief executive.

 

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Durbanville Hills cellar 01

 

 

From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,” says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

 

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(image courtesy of Aletta Gardner/EWN)

(image courtesy of Aletta Gardner/EWN)

 

As the smoke clears after the unrest in various fruit-growing areas of the Western Cape, and with the next round of protests demanding higher wages for farm labourers and seasonal pickers on its way, the South African wine industry is weighing up the implications to its business model and to the way of life for many among the vineyards.

 

To date, the strike for an increase in the minimum wage from R69 to R150 a day – which has involved the intimidation of farmers and their full-time employees, looting, the destruction of property and the loss of life – has largely been confined to fruit farms that do not produce grapes for making wine.

But with cellars gearing up for the 2013 harvest and the pay dispute apparently no closer to resolution than it was when violence broke out in De Doorns, Wolseley, Grabouw and elsewhere last year, it seems inevitable that more wine farms – especially those using part-time workers – will soon become the focus of attention for the strike leaders as well as the political and criminal factions seeking to gain from the protests.

Should the wine grape harvest this year be seriously disrupted, it is a very real possibility that some farmers could go out of business.

Many will be among those whose only source of income comes from the grapes they sell to wine producers and whose business model revolves around low prices and large tonnage. Others up against the wall will be those making or selling wine whose success hinges more on offering the best prices than it does on the best quality, and who operate in sectors of the market where branding is not a factor.

On the other hand, the South African wine industry also comprises large corporations as well as a number of private wine farm owners with the means to weather the storm.

Many of these stakeholders are already paying way better than the minimum wage while providing their staff with decent accommodation and more, such as crèche and church facilities.

But of as much concern to these stakeholders as the cost implications of having to pay more to their workers or hiring fewer people and opting for increased mechanisation is the straining of the relationships they have with the farm hands and how to embrace a business model revolving more around quality and branding rather than tending to play the price card.

 

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Vin de Constance.

Vin de Constance.

 

A mention of Klein Constantia’s Vin de Constance in E L James’ novel 50 Shades Darker has sparked unprecedented interest in the South African sweet wine.

The 2004 vintage makes an appearance in the second book of the 50 Shades erotictrilogy at a masked ball attended by the novel’s protagonists, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

Vin de Constance 2004 is enjoyed with the third course at the charity event, paired with sugared-crusted walnut chiffon candied figs, sabayon sauce and maple ice cream.
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Record exports for SA Wine in 2012!

Record exports for SA Wine in 2012!

 

South Africa smashed its previous record to export the largest amount of wine to date in 2012.

 

The 417 million litres exported last year is a 17% increase on 2011 and 10 million more than the previous record set in 2008.

 The record export year is the result of favourable currency rates, as well as a significant drop in the harvests of competitor regions including Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Bulk exports made up 59% of volumes as local producers strived to compete globally and meet market demands.
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Taking a bath in Pinotage at Delluva Vinotherapy Day Spa.

It is even good for your skin. Taking a bath in Pinotage at Delluva Vinotherapy Day Spa.

THERE ARE VERY FEW wines I truly don’t like, and only one that I’ve ever declared I despise. Except that wine writers are not supposed to “despise” wines. While we can be disappointed, or crestfallen, or even seriously dismayed by certain bottlings, to “despise” a wine is unprofessional—or so I was told by a reader who wrote recently to upbraid me after reading of my professed enmity toward Pinotage.

The Pinotage grape in question.

The Pinotage grape in question.

Never mind that this particular reader also happened to be a Pinotage grower—I decided that he might have a point. Were my feelings about Pinotage really fair—or, for that matter, accurate? After all, it had been quite a few years since I tasted much Pinotage; perhaps there had been some changes in winemaking or viticulture. Perhaps there were even some overlooked gems?

Pinotage, for the uninitiated, is a grape created in South Africa in 1925 but currently grown—in a fairly limited fashion—in many other parts of the world. It was created in Stellenbosch by Abraham Izak Perold, a professor of viticulture at Stellenbosch University. A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, the workhorse red grape of the Rhône (then also known in South Africa as Hermitage), Pinotage was also called Perold’s Hermitage x Pinot, but Prof. Perold preferred the Pinotage name. (The other instance in which “Hermitage” was appropriated in another country was Penfold’s Grange, of Australia—once known as Grange Hermitage until it was shortened to simply Grange at the behest of the European Union.)

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Now also read the truth about this South African Grape Varietal:

Pinotage Wine Guide

Sue Birch.

Sue Birch.

 

Record export figures in 2012 have prompted optimistic reports from South Africa after years of concern over the country’s rising balance of bulk wine shipments.

As Wines of South Africa confirmed exports of 417 million litres in 2012, beating the previous record of 407m litres in 2008 and representing a 17% increase on 2011, the organisation’s CEO Su Birch outlined the reasons for this strong performance.

“The record levels are the result of a more favourable currency, as well as the global shortage of wines, stemming from a significant drop in the recent harvests of competitor wine-producing nations in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand,” she explained.

As South Africa’s producers prepare for the 2013 harvest, Birch suggested a cautiously positive outlook, noting: “At this stage, all indications are that this year’s local crop could be the third biggest in recorded history.
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De+Doorns+Jan+10+2013

Protest action on farms during the heart of the picking season will severely hurt the sustainability of farms and could result in job losses, the farmers’ union federation Asuf said on Friday.


The Agri-sector Unity Forum said that ongoing labour unrest in the Western Cape’s fruit producing regions will impact negatively on production, the ability to serve local and international markets and the viability of farms.

“The knock-on effects of higher food prices and retrenchment of workers will follow as enterprises are forced to either or close down,” said Asuf in a statement.

The umbrella body, who represents all major agricultural unions, said the mechanisation or venture into less labour intensive industries would inevitably lead to greater unemployment.

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