Posted by: zawino | September 2, 2010

Alive in Cape Town

Sumac Ridge Merlot

Well folks, like an unkempt vineyard after the winter pruning the winstokies (sp?) have certainly been lying around composting this blog for the last couple months. So let’s catch up… I left you a couple months back en route to Canada for a stint as a best man; leaving behind a cushy position developing enterprise software in the financial realm. This wasn’t my first trip to CA although previous trips have all been to Ontario and sadly the more highly rated Oakanagan wines are in short supply, with LCBO – one of the world’s largest liquor buyers – favouring the local Niagara region wines instead when it comes to Canadian wine (there are some highlights coming out of there too – Hillebrand’s Trius Red is still the best wine I’ve tried out of Canada). Anyway, this trip, to Saskatchewan presented the chance to try a little more of the BC wines – the only problem being that the liquor stores around the small town hamlet I was based in, Rosthern, didn’t exactly carry the best selection. I did manage to pick up a few bottles on a trip into Saskatoon but even then the selection was far from ideal and the local beer left me with a far better impression. The reds I did drink reinforced my impression that Canadian reds carry a distinct dusty character to them and it also reconfirmed my belief that the merlots and pinots are generally better than the heavier cab’s. However, there is always the ice wine of course and whilst I didn’t drink any there – @CA$50 a half-bottle is not something I buy every day – I did bring a couple bottles back and an Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine ’07 tasted a couple weekends back with the whitesticksips showed incredible intensity , the length of a 7’ woman’s legs and acidity to carry it through beyond my years of this planet.

Upon my return to the fairest Cape I walked straight into my new job, and no, it’s not in the wine industry although it does present a very unique opportunity for the industry to get involved in some of the latest tech going round. We’ll hopefully be launching sometime before November  (don’t quote me on that) and I’ll be sure to throw a couple ideas and links around shortly before the time.

And then of course there was The World Cup, which, passed in a blur of beer, football and vuvuzela conversations around my neighbourhood – which I duly participated in. Overall though, it was definitely more of a beer affair – as my waistline now shows – and I did often wander how one could convert football into more of a wine affair. But whilst it was beer season for the majority I rather enjoyed stopping off at Cru Café whilst walking back along the Fan Walk from a game for a couple glasses or two – generally of the Morgenster Lourens River Valley (think it was ’05 at that point in time).

Netherlands vs Cameroon

The highlight of the period when it came to wine was without a doubt the Stellies wine festival, which while very being very different to last year, turned out to be good fun and imho much better aligned to the tourist market than previous years. Not that I saw many of them (the tourists) whilst spending most of the morning reaffirming my conviction that David De Trafford is one of the best winemakers in South Africa whilst tasting 15 vintages of the De Trafford Shiraz – wow! Although, whilst I enjoyed the new format I’ve always enjoyed the “fringe” events in previous years, having never attended the mass pissup I hear the main event has become, and I seriously missed the usual Kanonkop vertical tasting/snoek braai this year – I’m promised it will be back last year.

The dust had barely settled on the fragmented remains of the pitch at Soccer City after the final – viva Espana viva – and I was off to Botswana, 4×4’ing my way through the Kalahari, Okavango – at the height of an 18-yr flood – and Chobe, armed with a mixed case of Harties Cab/Shiraz and Saronsberg Provenance Rooi to accompany the beautiful Botswana beef cooked whilst camping under the stars in the bush. For any of you outdoor lovers with your own 4x4s I would highly recommend getting up there – you can’t beat it! No fences round your camp (ala Kruger) – just you and the bush. It is a little known fact that I grew up in Botswana and when my family left, 15 odd years ago, Maun was barely more than an outpost at the edge of the delta where you could stock up on petrol and the basics. You can imagine my surprise when we arrived to a bustling town complete with a wine store stocked so well it would give the wine list in most Capetonian restaurants a run for their money. I guess with all those high-end safari lodges there’s certainly lots of money to be made and probably still some room there (particularly around Kasane) for a budding entrepreneur.

Since getting back from Bots it’s been tasting season through and through with so many wine shows to choose from you could end up drowning yourself in wine if you went to all of them – certainly my cupboard is well stocked with enough of those disposable tasting glasses to last until next season. Despite the plan of action and 3 consecutive appearances last year, I decided to give Winex a skip this year opting rather for the more quality focused Caroline’s Red and White Reviews. I would’ve loved to attend the CWG auction tasting but as I’ve been unplugged for so long I didn’t know it had happened until a week after it occurred. And then there were all the other tasting, shows, festivals, etc. On the go. It really has been a busy winter.

And now, sadly I find myself spending most of my time in an office, a vibrant one at that, but nonetheless stuck behind a computer churning out lines of code. But at least, I’m back in the beloved Cape and every so often I still manage to make my way out to the vineywards. And so wine lovers, geeks, snobs, junkies and quaffers I bid you adieu for now but watch this space as more adventures are sure to follow soon.

Be safe now folks..


  1. My Christ! It’s alive! You going to post something every day from now on?

    • Heheheheh – I guess the timing of this reply answers that question :p.

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