Blog & News

The natural relationship between clay and wine extends beyond the water-retention abilities and agreeable pH levels that make clay soils conducive to viticulture. For close on 2 700 years clay has been used to make vessels for the fermentation and holding of wine. Since those first dubious drops of grape juice were poured into clay pots by the winemakers of ancient Greece, Georgia and Rome, the containers have hardly changed in shape and size. Amphorae, as they are known, are today not only eye-catching aesthetic complements to wineries the world over, but represent a modern vinous movement aimed at capturing the natural purity of fermenting and fermented wine.
William Kentridge, South Africa’s most important living artist, is currently having the most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date shown at Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa’s leading arts centre under the title Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings To Work. The visitor to this absolutely stunning showing of works Kentridge has created from 1976 to 2019 is overwhelmed by the drawings, objects, sounds and videos exhibited over three floors of the museum. And while one’s visual and auditory senses are stimulated by the sights and sounds of Kentridge’s creative mind, the scent of cork is evident throughout the space.
Some of the Cape Winelands' most precious collectable wines were recently given a new lease on life with an intricate recorking exercise. A precious line-up of rare vintage finds from the Tabernacle, South Africa’s most coveted wine vault, received brand new superior corks to guarantee the wines’ lifespan and increasing its value. The recorking process ensures the longevity of these South African wines within an international context by safeguarding their pristine condition for the exclusive Cape Fine & Rare Wine Auction taking place at the Rupert Museum on 18 and 19 October 2019 in Stellenbosch.

Sydney Mello, left, with Spencer Fondaumiere, Heidi Duminy, Cathy Marston, Elunda Basson, Joaquim Sa from Amorim and Paul Gerber.

Sydney Mello, one of the South African winemakers who has benefited from the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé programme, found himself in the judge’s seat this year as an associate judge for the 2019 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge. Over two days, Sydney and five panel members went through 134 wines, the most in the history of this competition. Sydney was joined by Heidi Duminy, Cape Wine Master and panel-chair, educator Cathy Marston, sommelier Spencer Fondaumiere and winemakers Paul Gerber (Colmant) and Elunda Basson (Steenberg).
Méthode Cap Classique producers have until 19 July to submit their wines for this year’s Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, the only competition dedicated exclusively to honouring Cap Classique wines. Amorim Cork SA, which is sponsoring the event for the 18th consecutive year, is the convenor of this unique wine competition in conjunction with the Cap Classique Producers Association.
The South African wine grape harvest 2019 has hit a record low, largely due to the preceding drought and fluctuating weather conditions during the season. Winemakers are, however, positive about the quality of this year’s vintage. The 2019 wine grape crop is estimated at 1 225 620 tonnes, according to the latest estimate of industry body Sawis (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems) on 26 April 2019. Although only 1.4% smaller than last year, the crop has shrunk for the second consecutive year and 2019 represents a record low since 2005 when 1 171 632 tonnes were harvested.
Amorim South Africa hosts various themed tastings of Portuguese wines during each year, inviting local winemakers to experience a taste of the country’s diverse regions and to thank them for their support. The wines are selected to showcase the ageability of these wines as well as their distinct regionality. We recently tasted the wines from Barraida, and Emile Joubert was there to document this event which was held at Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek. The Barraida region of Portugal is rugged in its desolate greenness, knots of pine-trees perched on hill-tops overlooking vineyards snaking down the slopes. During the wet winters and warm summers hardy, broad-faced people farm the vines and the cabbages, the beans and the pigs - the latter generating Barraida’s status as suckling-pig capital of the world. Offering crispy-skinned and sweet-fleshed sustenance to the hungry and tired travellers crossing the province during the long trip north from Lisbon.