Archive for December, 2011
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.
The Kumkani Merlot Pinotage will complement the traditional beef or lamb dishes and will complete the uniquely South African Christmas dinner
December is commonly associated with summer, holidays and an abundance of festivities all leading to an increase in opportunities to socialise. It’s also often the time that people tend to throw caution to the wind and indulge themselves.
From cocktails overlooking the beach to a couple of beers at the braai, alcohol consumption during the December season generally increases. While everyone deserves the opportunity to occasionally let their hair down, that doesn’t mean having to endure the often negative consequences.of overindulging.
So when partaking in the celebrations take note of the following useful tips from the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA).
Tips when drinking with friends and family:
• Pace your drinking consumption, it’s not a competition
• Avoid drinking with partners who are prone to aggressive behavior
• Always eat before drinking alcohol and try to eat while drinking – choose foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, i.e. burger and chips
• Don’t swim when you’ve had alcohol
• Drinking on the beach is against the law and can be very dangerous, as can drinking
at the river or the dam for those who live inland
Take note of the following tips when drinking in a bar or restaurant:
• Avoid lifts from strangers, especially when intoxicated
• Make sure you know who pours your drink
• Don’t accept drinks from strangers
• Club together with your friends to hire a car or mini-bus with a driver – rather than pay
bail money for a night of fun
• Always keep the number of a taxi company on your cellphone and ensure that you
have enough money set aside in your wallet for this, should you know you are not in
a position to drive home.
• Make sure that someone always knows where you are
Kumkani Wines support all the efforts and campaigns from ARA (Association for Responsible Alcohol Use). Ensure this December is filled with only wonderful memories and no regrets.
South African wine website, wine.co.za has launched a great initiative. The campaign is calling on every South African living abroad to share a drop of sunshine with a local on 16 December.
We would love every South African out there to open up a bottle of South African wine,
and show your mates just how good our wine is – taste some sunshine, sunshine!
We have chosen the 16th December as it is a very special day for us South Africans, and it is right in the middle of the northern hemispheres winter…
just when they need a little bit of sunshine in their lives – so spread a little bit of our sunshine, sunshine!
Get a great bottle of South African wine and sit down quietly and taste it with your mates.
Let them taste some of our sunshine. And of course, you don’t have to stop there…you could even open up a second bottle and then not so quietly share some of our sunshine.
And for those ex-pats out there in the land of OZ, or down the south of America, they might not need the sunshine, but you have to agree…
they do need to taste some good wine for a change, so get them to taste what makes us shine.
Then, please take some pictures and videos, and show us all what you did by posting them on the social networks (#tastewinesunshine) and at wine.co.za
And please tell us at wine.co.za so that we can organise this again next year.
So sunshine, what great South African wine are you going to taste this year !
South Africans abroad can serve the king of South African wines, the multi award winning Kumkani wines.
Picking out the right wine for someone during the holidays could prove as challenging as buying a present for the in-laws who have everything.
Which varietal? How much to spend? Go bold – or delicate? Is a bottle of Sherry the ultimate insult?
These questions become particularly difficult when you don’t know the recipient’s wine taste. Steer clear of giving wine to anyone who you’re not certain drinks alcohol.It could become awkward if the person is a recovering alcoholic or for religious reasons doesn’t drink.
But if they do, the trick is in the pairing. Experts have a lot of tips, everything from matching personalities to wine to finding clues in the foods and beverages they drink.
Tim Hanni, a Master of Wine, has his own theories about people’s likes and dislikes based on how many taste buds they have on their tongue. While it might be a little presumptuous, and definitely strange, to ask your boss if you could get a look inside his or her mouth, Hanni says there are other hints to follow.
“How they drink their coffee could be a telltale sign,” says the wine master. “If they prefer their coffee black and strong, their wine preference will more than likely lean toward intense wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, old-vine Zinfandels and many Meritage wines (usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes).”
Hanni says cream-and-sugar coffee drinkers are more likely to show a preference for moderately sweet wines, such as Muscat and Riesling. Sparkling wines are also an option. He says to look for labels that have 2 to 6 percent residual sugar levels.
People who salt their food heavily are also likely to go for the sweeter wines, according to Hanni. Same goes for folks who gravitate to sweet cocktails such as mojitos and pina coladas. He says Manhattan, martini and classic margarita drinkers would probably appreciate Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Merlot and Chardonnay. For the whisky, Cognac, Tequila and Scotch crowd, try big, bold reds and oaky, expensive Chardonnays.
Don’t have a clue about what kind of cocktails the person you’re buying for likes or how he or she takes coffee? Hanni suggests going with personality traits. A man with a strong personality who is good at math would probably prefer a wine that’s received a high rating from Robert Parker. If he’s more artistic and a little disorganised, go with Pinot Noir, dry Riesling and wines you would describe to your merchant as delicate and expressive.
For a strong woman, Hanni suggests Shiraz, Pinot Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay. For an artistic woman, go for something sweet, like a fruit wine, he says. “Of course these are all generalisations,” says Hanni. “But in my experience, they tend to work.”
If you don’t know someone well enough to judge their wine taste, get something festive that they can share with other people. Good choices are Champagne, sparkling wine, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – it goes great with food.
Recommended wine: The multi award-winning Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect gift for any wine lover.