Archive for December, 2009
In the past few years many new wine brands and wine estates has been established in South Africa. This implies that to get the best out of South African wine and wine tourism a well written and researched guide is essential.
One such a guide is The Essential Guide To South African Wines: Terroir & Travel. This is the second edition of the illustrated guide to South Africa’s premium wines and it retails at about R200.
Caroline Hurry writes that this up-to-date, informative reference work provides vital local knowledge on the practicalities of visiting the winelands.
Published by Cheviot, it presents the wine-producing regions in the simple wine pockets system. Individual pockets highlight a specific terroir unit along with local wine styles, providing insight into the specific qualities of each wine-producing area.
The guide helps you to select a pocket, jump into the car and visit some of the wineries of that area.
Detailed relief maps provide GPS co-ordinates and are backed by downloadable waypoints and routes on the website www.cheviot-publishing.com
Every pocket takes you on a journey, discovering the terroir, viticulture, winemaking techniques and the flagship wines of some of the top producers.
Kumkani Brand News
Cellar door tastings of the multi award winning Kumkani wines can be done at our Welmoed and Helderberg Cellars. For directions please visit our website
Christmas in South Africa is a summer holiday. In December, the southern summer brings glorious days of sunshine that carry an irresistible invitation to the beaches, the rivers, and the shaded mountain slopes. Then the South African holiday season reaches its height. Schools are closed, and camping is the order of the day. In South Africa there is no snow, but it has many flowers, many beautiful varieties of cultivated and wild flowers being in their full pride.
In the cities and towns carolers make their rounds on Christmas Eve. Church services are held on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve celebrations in larger centers include “Carols by Candlelight” and special screen and floor shows.
Homes are decorated with pine branches, and all have the decorated Christmas fir in a corner, with presents for the children around. At bedtime on Christmas Eve, children may also hang up their stockings for presents from Father Christmas.
Many South Africans have a Christmas dinner in the open-air lunch. For many more, it is the traditional dinner of either leg of lamb, roast beef, mince pies, or suckling pig, yellow rice with raisins, vegetables, and plum pudding, crackers, paper hats, and all. In the afternoon, families go out into the country and usually there are games or bathing in the warm sunshine, and then home in the cool of the evening. Boxing Day is also a proclaimed public holiday usually spent in the open air. It falls on December 26 and is a day of real relaxation.
Kumkani Brand News
The Kumkani Merlot Pinotage 2007 will complement the traditional beef or lamb dishes and will complete the uniquely South African Christmas dinner
Drinking and Driving over the Festive Season? Then it’s time to ask Goodfellas to the party.
Cathy Marston writes “Sadly, I realise that this is not the norm here in SA. The drink-driving stats in this country are horrendous with alcohol being blamed for 50% of the 18,000 deaths on our roads every year – yes, that number is correct – 18,000 deaths a year. A massive sea-change is needed in people’s attitudes to drinking and driving, and one company which is providing a real alternative to this is Goodfellas. They offer a membership service which you can call after one too many drinks and they will come to wherever you are and drive you safely home in your own car.”
According to Alison Brussow, marketing manager for Goodfellas, all the drivers have to pass stringent background checks, driving tests on both manual and automatic cars and undergo regular training by the company. Both Morell and Mogamat had branded uniforms and ID cards and we were given their names by the call centre when we rang to book the service so there was no possibility of any mistakes. And we felt completely safe in their hands – much more so than when we pick up a random taxi from the rank, something which is an added boon for women going home on their own as well.
Drinking and driving is a complete social no-no in the UK – if ever I contemplated getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, then the thought of my friends’ total disgust and disapproval is always enough to change my mind. I have heard various excuses over the years such as “Well, we have to drink and drive in SA because we have no public transport!” or “I’m a really good driver so alcohol doesn’t affect me like other people” and really folks, enough is enough. The choices are simple -
- – Drink, but don’t drive
- – Drive, but don’t drink
- – Call Goodfellas or somebody like them.
and with the Festive season in full swing, there are plenty of opportunities to use a service like this and I fully intend to do so. After all, if it’s good enough for the Sharks, for South African Breweries and for Bob Skinstad, then it’s good enough for me too.”
www.gfellas.co.za Tel: 0861 433 552
Kumkani Brand News
Kumkani Wines supports this initiative and urges consumers to make use of this service.
The Wine show ladies chose and rated six of South Africa’s best Methode Cap Classique (MCC) sparkling wines.
Naturally the Kumkani Infiniti was one of the chosen wines and it seems that The Wine Show ladies had a great time testing the wine.
On their site they wrote:
“In Spain they call it Cava, Italians say Asti or Spumante and the Germans go with Sekt. We boertjies have come up with our own term, Methode Cap Classique (MCC). It still sounds French, so I suppose a bit more posh, but in essence it refers to how the actual fizz is made – the traditional way of Champagne, by secondary fermentation in the bottle.
In the last few years as our palates have evolved, the world has gotten smaller and South Africans have caught on to the fact that, even though we can’t call it ‘champagne’ we can afford it, drink it and yes, even make it.”
Scientists are delivering some unexpected cheer this Christmas. They have found that a couple of glasses of champagne a day are good for your heart and blood circulation.
And the benefits are not limited to expensive fizz, they believe. Other sparkling wine alternatives such as cava, prosecco and Méthode Cape Classique (MCC) may offer similar effects.
The research is the handiwork of a team led by Dr Jeremy Spencer of Reading University in Britain, working with scientists in France, and is to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition this week.
“We have found that a couple of glasses a day has a beneficial effect on the walls of blood vessels – which suggests champagne has the potential to reduce strokes and heart disease,” said Dr Spencer. “It is very exciting news.” Two glasses a day of red wine, previous research has found, helps ward off heart and circulation problems.
Most of that effect comes from chemicals called polyphenols, which affect circulation by slowing down the removal of nitric oxide from the blood. In turn, elevated levels of nitric oxide cause blood vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure and reduces risks of heart problems and strokes.
Polyphenols are found in relatively high levels in red but not white wine. However, they are found in champagne, which is made from two varieties of black grape, pinot noir and pinot meunier, and one of white, chardonnay.
“The question was: would champagne have the same impact as red wine or would it have the limited impact of white wine?” said Dr Spencer.
The team found champagne had a far greater impact on nitric oxide levels in the blood than did a polyphenol-free alternative of alcohol and carbonated water. In short, its polyphenols have the ability to improve blood pressure and reduce heart disease risks.
“Our data suggests that a daily moderate consumption of champagne wine may improve vascular performance via the delivery of phenolic constituents,” the researchers say in their paper.
They have yet to test other types of fizz, such as cava and prosecco, but Dr Spencer said there was “no reason” in principle that they should not perform in the same way.
Red wines and champagne are not the only sources of polyphenols available to consumers, the team said. They are also found in high levels in cocoa beans. So you could achieve the same gains without alcohol by with a mug of cocoa at bedtime, Dr Spencer added. “The benefit is certainly the same but it doesn’t seem as much fun somehow.”
Kumkani Brand News
The Kumkani Infinity is a sparkling wine made in the Méthode Cape Classique (MCC) style. This great wine was rated one of the Top 10 MCC sparkling wines by WINE magazine.
In a recent online poll by GoTravel24 the Kruger National Park were voted South Africa’s favourite game reserve.
In this poll, fairly unsurprisingly, the Kruger National Park that pretty much wiped the floor and won with a solid 36% of the vote.
The sheer size of Kruger is extraordinary – it is nearly 19 000 square kilometres – bigger than Gauteng and about the size of Wales – and hosts all the game you could ever wish to see. According to a 2004 count, there are over 1500 lion, nearly 30 000 buffalo, 11 500 elephant – the numbers are staggering. And it’s over 100 years old so they certainly know what they’re doing. The science that goes into accommodating so many animals in such a massive space is incredibly detailed so that we, as good South Africans, can enjoy the beautiful things our land has to offer.
The other reserves on the list were:
Tsitsikamma National Park
Pilanesberg National Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier (originally the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park)
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Kumkani Brand News
South Africa is blessed with amazing game reserves and all of them contribute to the uniquely South African experience and lifestyle. Kumkani supports all uniquely South African tourist attractions.
Apart from the amazing beaches, wild life and natural beauty South Africa also over tourists unique experiences in the form of World Heritage Sites.
South Africa boasts numerous World Heritage Sites, including Robben Island and the Cradle of Humankind.
The lesser-known, yet fascinating Vredefort Dome, situated just 120kms south of Johannesburg, near Parys, was declared a World Heritage Site in 2005. According to the UNESCO website, the Vredefort Dome is the oldest discovered astrobleme (a structure created by large meteorite impact), dating back more than two million years. Spanning 190 kilometres, it’s also the world’s largest impact site.
According to UNESCO, the Vredefort Dome is unique in that “it is the only example to provide a full geological profile of an astrobleme below the crater floor”, which makes it a vital link to understanding the earth’s evolution and geology. Parts of the Dome are open to the public.
Kumkani Brand News
This brand is an uniquely South African wine brand and we celebrate all the things that makes our country unique.
The World Cup will bring an approximate 500 000 foreign tourists to South Africa and millions of people will take note of this amazing country.
Is 2010 really such a big opportunity for SA wine with soccer-mad European consumers?
Dalene Steyn, market manager Europe for Wines of South Africa (Wosa) answered this question as follows:
“In the long term, I believe 2010 will give South Africa the opportunity to showcase our beautiful country, our friendly people, our great tourism destination as well as our fantastic food and wines. So yes, it creates a platform, but it will depend on each and every South African how positive the experience will be. Every visitor that leaves South Africa happy will become an ambassador and be positively inclined to buy South African wine in future.
In the short term, June and July are normally slow months for the South African hospitality industry. The fact that we will have a great number of people descending on SA will keep them busier than usual. We have heard that soccer players are mainly beer drinkers, but among them will be the wine consumers, and I am sure they will be pleasantly surprised when they experience the quality of the South African wines on offer.”
Kumkani Brand News
We are looking forward to hosting the world and to let them experience and taste the amazing wines and winelands of South Africa.
Howard Booysen, the first aspiring winemaker to be selected for the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, has just completed his three-year internship honing his skills and knowledge of the wine industry under the guidance of some of the country’s top winemakers.
“My internship programme has come to a close. It was a lifetime experience which I am very grateful for,” said Howard. Over the past three years, he has worked alongside some of the finest winemakers in SA including Carl Schultz at Hartenberg Estate, Bruce Jack at Flagstone, Pieter Ferreira at Graham Beck Wines and Gary Jordan at Jordan Wine Estate. Howard also travelled to the US during his time with Bruce Jack and worked at Ravenswood Vineyards in Sonoma County.
The mentoring programme is a unique one in the SA wine industry involving as it does the hands-on experience and guidance of winemakers of this calibre. Their vision is to cultivate and nurture winemakers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to become winemakers of excellence. Howard was the first to embark on the programme after completing his final year of study at Elsenburg Agricultural College in 2006 and Praisy Dlamini, the Guild’s first woman protégé, is currently in her second phase of the internship programme as we speak.
In addition to super-honed winemaking skills, Howard himself brings a whole raft of talents to the table. When I first met him last year doing promotions on behalf of Flagstone, he completely charmed everyone in sight – whether it was with his wines, his personality or his lovely dark eyes, I wouldn’t like to say! Currently, Howard is wowing diners at Cape Town’s prestigious Aubergine Restaurant as a sommelier whilst he prepares the maiden release of his own-label wines which will be released next year.
Kumkani Brand News
Kumkani (company of winepeopleTM) is part of the Cape Winemakers Guild and support their protégé programme. We congratulate Howard on his achievements and wish him the best of luck for his future endeavours.
Ethical business practices in the South African wine industry have long been a priority for organizations and these efforts were recently recognized by international awards.
As our South African wine industry continues to grow exports despite the global recession, it is also achieving increasing international recognition for its ethical approach to winemaking, says Wines of South Africa (WOSA) CEO Su Birch.
Within the space of a few weeks the country was acknowledged by influential UK trade publication The Drinks Business, winning its Ethical Award for 2009 while also earning the lion’s share of trophies and prizes in the Fairtrade Wine Committee’s competition for best wines of the year, held in London. Read more
Kumkani Brand News:
We congratulate WOSA for their efforts regarding business ethics as well as their commitment to promoting South African Wines in a sustainable and ethical manner.
The third annual ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique and Champagne Festival will be held In Franschhoek form 4 – 6 December.
This is the largest Champagne festival in South Africa and in his hosted at the Huguenot Monument in the cuisine capital of South Africa, Franschhoek.
Visitors will be able to taste the best of South African Method Cap Classique sparkling wines as well as French champagnes.
Not only will the visitors taste the best of bubbly, but they will also be able to taste delicacies of the Franschhoek restaurants, which include Cafe Allee Bleue, Dieu Donne, Haute Cabriere, La Petite Ferme, Le Franschhoek, L’Ermitage, Mange Toute, Monneaux, Grande Provence, and Salmon Bar.
The impressive Kumkani Infiniti 2004 will be one of the magnificent sparkling wines that visitors will be able to enjoy.
Please come join us for a glass of bubbly at this year festival and enjoy the Magic of Bubbles with us.
Biltong is an uniquely Southern African delicatessen and is adored by many. The history of this snack stretch back hundreds of years and it has become part of the South African culture.
For centuries mankind has endeavoured to preserve meat. Seafarers, centuries ago, pickled meat in large wooden caskets and devoured this during the months they were at sea. No wonder they suffered from scurvy.
African folklore has it that migrating African tribesmen, herding their stock, would place strips of venison under the saddles on their horses as the chaffing would tenderise the meat and the sweat of the animals would spice it! This must be when vegetarians were born.
Biltong as we know this delicacy today, is a rich inheritance from pioneering South African forefathers who sun dried meat during their trek across the African Subcontinent.
The basic spicing is a dramatic blend of vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander and other spices. These were in abundance in the then Cape Colony, as the French Hugenots produced wine and vinegar from their grape crops and the colony was the halfway stop for seafarers plying the spice routes of the East. Various brine recipes and marinades were created and handed down for generations.
Today Biltong and Droewors (dried South African sausage) is a massive industry and the most sought after delicacies in Southern Africa.
Kumkani Brand News
A great uniquely South African wine that will pair well with Biltong is the Kumkani Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. This well balanced medium to full bodied wine has hints of mint on the nose with a complex yet soft in tannin structure.