Blog & News

An unimposing commercial building in Rosettenville, Johannesburg was where one of South Africa’s most successful brands began over three decades ago. Known then as Chickenland, the building was home to a modest Portuguese restaurant, the fortunes of which changed in 1987 when two friends went to eat some peri-peri chicken. The two friends, Robin Brozin and Fernando Duarte were so enamoured by the quality of the food and the hospitality, they bought the restaurant. Renamed it Nando’s after Fernando’s son. And the rest is history.
With Amorim celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, it is apt to go further back in history to the origins of cork’s inextricable link to wine. In the mid-17th century Dom Pérignon, one of the most famous names in the 6000 year old history of wine, decided to replace the wooden stoppers he and his fellow champenois were using to seal their bottles of champagne with cork stoppers. And not a shabby name for any wine industry product to be associated with.
This is one of the proudest years in the history of Amorim Cork, as here in 2020 the company reaches an exceptional milestone of becoming one of the very few wine industry suppliers in the world to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
The South African wine industry expects 2020 to be a difficult year, but remains hopeful that it will be able to build on some of the momentum gained in 2019 to overcome major challenges. Presenters at the 15th Nedbank Vinpro Information Day, held in Cape Town on 23 January 2020, were upfront about the stark realities facing the industry, while advising on the way forward. Close to 850 wine industry professionals attended the event, which was sponsored by Nedbank for the 14th consecutive year, with Old Mutual Insure as co-sponsor.
South African wine farm, Spier, won the Amorim Biodiversity Award at the Drinks Business Green Awards 2019 at a ceremony at The Ivy in London on Wednesday. This special award recognises a business that has done as much as possible to advance biodiversity both within the land it owns and, if possible, beyond its boundaries. Each year, it honours a company which can show how it has enhanced species richness within a defined area using clear and measurable results.
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.