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For a gift with a real feel-good factor for both the giver and the recipient, Long Distance wines are the perfect present. It’s a win-win situation: the lucky recipient has the opportunity to enjoy a unique limited-edition blend of good Riesling, and you’ll be contributing towards a worthy charitable cause as the entire proceeds will be donated to the South African mentally handicapped national soccer team.


Created by winemaker Christoph Hammel, who produced 1 500 litres of Riesling in Germany, and South African winemaker Morné van Rooyen who produced 1 500 litres of Riesling locally, the end result is a quality wine which is as good on the palate as it is on the conscience. The entire winemaking process occurred while the two winemakers were on opposite sides of the world and relied mostly on technology to perfect their blend.   


This pale-straw colour wine with an intense floral nose, bright acidity and a hint of sweetness on the palate is ideal for enjoying chilled during the silly season.


Long Distance is available at Welmoed cellar door at a mere R50 per bottle. Call 021 881 8062 or email info@thecompanyofwinepeople.co.za to order.






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The 2008 Best Value Wine Show which is hosted by Grand West Casino this year, takes place in the Market Hall, Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 2 December form 17h00 -21h00

The show once again offers Capetonians the opportunity to taste and purchase around seventy value-for-money wines from twenty South African wineries under one roof. All wines included in the 2009 Best Value Booklet have been tasted and rated by Wine’s independent panel and costs less than R60 per bottle. Prices start at R18.

 “Many of the wines on offer at the show are available on supermarket shelves, but one rarely has the opportunity to taste them at point of purchase. This show offers the wines for tasting by the winemakers or representatives from the wineries themselves and thanks to Grand West’s efficient staff, the wines can be ordered, paid for at cellar door prices and taken home directly from the show,” says Cobie van Oort, one of the organisors.

An exciting culinary addition to this year’s show is the creation of an informal bistro restaurant inside the venue where visitors can enjoy a light meal at a reasonable price whilst waiting for their order to be made up. Alternatively the upmarket Quarterdeck restaurant in the main casino building, a short walk away offers Best Value Wine Show ticket holders a special on their lavish buffet of only R99 per person, for that night only! (Usual price R130 pp)

The cost per ticket is R60 per person, which includes the entrance fee, a tasting glass, a copy of the Best Value Wine Guide 2009 and an order form with all participating wines and prices.

Tickets are limited and bookings are essential. Contact  Björn van Oort of CVO Marketing at (021) 981-0216 or send an email to bjorn@cvomarketing.co.za to book. Tickets are also for sale at the Quarterdeck Restaurant in the Casino complex

Visitors are welcome to come sample the perennially popular Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2008 with its lovely pineapple and melon flavours. Other brands from the company of wine peopleTM will also be showcased.


Source: wine.co.za


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The great outdoors



Balmy weather calls for alfresco entertaining. Real Simple magazine has offers some useful tips for a flawless outdoor party.

Make a table runner. Leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper works great and costs nothing.

Dress up outdoor chairs. Tie a colorful sash around the back and tuck a sprig of rosemary into the bow.

Do some windproofing. To avoid chasing paper plates and napkins around the yard, weight them down with pretty rocks or shells. Wrap utensils in napkins and tie with paper twine. Keep the tablecloth secure by sandwiching each corner with a pair of mutually attracting magnets.

Make a one-bloom centrepiece. There’s no need for an expensive arrangement. Place a small colored vase with one bloom inside a larger hurricane lamp or clear glass vase.

Use herbs for a centrepiece. “Herbs in small glasses look fantastic,” says event planner Yifat Oren. “You can use clear or coloured glass, everyday or vintage bottles, in the same or different shapes and heights. And you can do just a single herb in a glass — like rosemary, lavender, or thyme — or mix them.”
Use pots of lavender as combination centerpiece, place card, and favour. Onto each pot, tie a tag that has a name card on one side and a recipe using the herb on the other.

Set up a lemonade stand. To give guests something to do the minute they arrive and to help with hydration on hot afternoons. Stock it with glasses, an ice bucket, a vase of mint sprigs in water, and straws.

Freeze mint leaves in ice cubes to add to lemonade or water for a cool, refreshing zing. To make the cubes last longer outside the refrigerator, set a bowl of ice inside a larger bowl filled with half ice and half water.

Make misters. On hot days, fill spray bottles with ice water so guests can mist themselves.

For a Braai

Set up the grill or braai downwind of guests and away from the house and dining area to avoid getting smoked out.

Use a timer and a meat thermometer when grilling. Then, if you’re distracted, you won’t burn the food.

Make the main course grill-it-yourself. Get guests mingling – and lighten your load- by providing the fixings for kebabs or pizzas they can build and grill exactly to their liking.

Grill an easy dessert: Cinnamon-grilled peaches, courtesy of Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue! Bible. Skewer quartered peaches with a cinnamon stick and a mint leaf. Baste with a mix of equal parts butter, brown sugar, and bourbon. Then grill, basting and turning once so the peaches are golden brown on both sides. Serve in martini glasses atop vanilla ice cream drizzled with some of the bourbon sauce. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Source: Real Simple


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The company of wine peopleTM delivered sterling results at the India Wine Challenge: its newly launched Arniston Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008 and Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc 2007 were both awarded silver medals.

The Kumkani Chardonnay Viognier 2007 received a bronze medal while the Arniston Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, Arniston Bay Reserve Shiraz 2007 and Kumkani Shiraz 2005 all got the Seal of Approval.

 The Arniston Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008 also clinched a gold medal at the recent prestigious Veritas Awards – South Africa’s longest running wine competition – and winged it onto the 2009 South African Airways On Board Wine List. Top quality grapes, sourced throughout the Western Cape, were used to create this premium wine. Consumers are subsequently rewarded with cut grass and green pea aromas, typical Sauvignon Blanc character on the palate, crisp acidity and a good finish.

 The Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – which won a silver medal at the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge – has expressive fresh aromas of ripe figs, green peppers and Cape gooseberry. With a rich mid-palate and a long finish, this wine was made to be enjoyed with food.

 Brand and business development manager at the company of wine peopleTM, Mark Lester, said: “It’s always encouraging to see our wines perform so well, especially on the international stage and considering such a respected panel. The endorsement expressed by these distinguished panelists can only motivate the winemaking team, who ultimately should take credit for creating these great wines, to reach new heights. Our superb achievement highlights our depth as a quality South African wine producer, and I’m confident that ultimately our performance will contribute to a greater presence for the category as a whole in the exciting Indian market.”

 More than 500 wines from across the globe were entered into the India Wine Challenge 2008, currently in its second year and the country’s only major independent wine competition. A panel of 14 distinguished judges such as founder of the London International Wine Challenge and IFE Chairman Robert Joseph, president of the Indian Wine Academy Subhash Arora, and sommelier Magandeep Singh were amongst the panelists.


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The recent Platter tasting method debate has resulted in the Platter guide to set up an open discussion forum about their tasting method .

Wine.co.za reports that against a backdrop of increased interest in its method of sighted wine assessments (ie with the label exposed and the name of the producer known), Platter’s Wine Guide invites the book’s readers, wine producers, retailers, media and other interested parties to attend an Open Discussion Forum on blind versus sighted tasting, and the way forward for Platter’s, to be held in early February 2009.

Sighted tasting has been a feature of Platter’s Guide since its inception in 1980, initially because wineries were visited for tasting (and blind assessments obviously were out of the question) but also after visits were replaced in the early 2000s by “off-site” tasting. (For practical reasons, two very large portfolios continue to be reviewed at their producer’s premises.)

The guide’s publisher, Andrew McDowall, says sighted tasting serves two main purposes: firstly, it promotes more informed and nuanced assessments, resulting in (hopefully) a more readable and informative book. Secondly, sighted tasting supports a unique (in South Africa) aspect of the guide, namely the monitoring of the quality and style of a wine over successive vintages, thereby enabling the guide to offer an opinion on not only current performance but also track record and pedigree.

“Sighted tasting is a valid and internationally accepted approach,” McDowall continues. “Many of the world’s leading wine critics use it, either exclusively or on occasion, in the course of their reviews. However, while sighted tasting historically is Platter’s preferred method, it is not a dogma to which we blindly cling. If change is needed, our track record speaks of our willingness to listen to advice and constructive criticism and introduce improvements as needed.”

A complication, though, is that the local wine industry is far from unanimous in its opinion on the way forward for Platter. In conversation and via the media, many different alternative methodologies are mooted, ranging from competition-style blind tastings through to fully sighted assessments in the presence of the winemaker.

“The lack of industry accord on the one hand, and the need to canvass the views of consumers on the other, suggest that an Open Discussion Forum, which will encourage input from all interested parties, is the best first step in mapping out the way forward,” McDowall says. “The objective is for the Platter team to listen and to learn, but equally for those who call for drastic change to carefully consider the ramifications.”

Source: wine.co.za

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The economic crisis has changed the buying habits of American wine consumers. Consumers are looking for value wine and more wine will by purchased in retailing outlets and not restaurants, states Michelle Locke from the Associated Press.

In her article she refers to statements by Wilfred Wong and Prof Robert Smiley about the changing consumer habits.

Wong, cellar master for the Concord-based chain Beverages & more!, usually tastes 8 000 wines a year in search of products. But this year he’s up to 10 000 because of the pressure to find good wines at lower prices.

“The consumer has definitely changed buying habits,” says Wong. “They are buying wines, which is good for us, but they are being more careful. People don’t need another $50 cabernet. What they need is a really good wine at $10.”

So far, the effect of the economy on the wine industry is “a mixed picture right now,” says Robert Smiley, a management professor and director of wine studies at the University of California, Davis.

For instance, recent research by The Nielsen Company indicates that although restaurants and bars see a decline in business during faltering economies, the affect is milder on store sales, although there’s evidence shoppers look for better prices.

So, a winery could lose restaurant business but make that up in retail sales. Meanwhile, a consumer price trade-down could mean trouble for wines over $15 a bottle and a bonus for lower-priced brands.

With the economy swinging wildly from day-to-day, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions. But Nielsen figures from U.S. food, drug, and major market liquor stores as of late last month showed 8.3 million cases of wine (a total of about $591 million) were sold for the four weeks ending Sept. 20, up nearly 3 percent from the same period a year ago.

Source: The Mercury News

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