Blog & News

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.
Known for its durability, insulation, sustainable and aesthetic qualities cork by Amorim Cork has found application in décor and design in all corners of the globe. In its latest creative application, Amorim Cork is now being used in an über-cool and innovative design called Skulpod, an igloo-style modular structure conceptualised and designed by South Africans Nouschka Očenášek and Ryan Ashworth.
It was interesting and informative to see South African wine lovers reflecting the world-wide trend of choosing natural cork as the preferred closure for their bottle of wine. In the first reader survey done by, one of the leading authorities on South African wine news, trends and opinions, 61% of readers stated natural cork as their closure of choice -  that figure increasing to more than two thirds of respondents if technical cork stoppers are included.
Driven by a mandate that values the environment and sustainable practices, INCE recently opted to install cork flooring at its new business premises. INCE is an investor marketing business with a global footprint, operating from Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, London and Mauritius.
Despite all the long-hours, sweat and hard-work, there is something magical about the harvest season. For us in the cork industry, it lies in the satisfaction of seeing the just-cut bark from the cork oaks arriving at our plants in southern Portugal to be processed. It smells of earth and fresh wood, a truly natural product from wild forests, each tree stripped of its bark every nine years.

Harvesting the 2019 vintage has only just began, but Amorim is already looking forward to its favourite event in the South African wine industry. One of the highlights on the annual South African wine calendar, the announcement of the winners of the Amorim Cap Classique...