Last time I looked, the offering of South African wines was running to over 8 000 different units varying in prices, styles and types of packaging. That is a hell of a lot of wine diversity in a country only making 4% of the world’s wine, but this also gives one an idea of the plethora of wine brands available to the local consumer.
If you are, perchance, sitting at a bar listening to an Angolan singing about love, land-mines and caprinhas while a 7ft biker from Czechoslovakia asks you for your sister’s phone number, chances are you are in Barrydale. In the Klein Karoo. A great piece of our Southern Land – wide and harsh and stirring, filled with tales of ghosts and strange animals; hardship and joy; death-dark nights and silent valleys.
Sweet is, surely, no sin. So why is the South African wine industry not making a bigger noise about the irrefutable quality of our sweet wines?
The general standard of fortifieds such as Muscadel and Jerepigo is stupendous. Ditto Noble Late Harvest and Straw Wines. And Portugal’s dynamo Port family named Symington deem South Africa as the only country outside Portugal capable of crafting a decent Port-style wine.
WITH harvest 2011 underway, the dreaded V-word is being bandied about, this specific V having nothing to do with Viognier, Very Hot or VAT hike in Britain. Video it is, and now that one of the winelands most animated seasons is underway, “?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëve all ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëvant a video for our ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëvebsite”.
Lucky are the video-makers, usually one-man-teams, who have taken advantage of this need for web-videos in the winelands over the past few years, a need unfortunately driven more by marketing vanity than effectiveness. For R12,000 some dude will cruise in with a video camera, point it at the subject’s face and record a few clips containing some ranting about low vineyard yields, optimum ripeness and hand-harvested grapes. If you are lucky the producer will throw in a few cutaways of a few smiling sweaty farmworkers cutting grapes and an introspective wine-maker moodily prodding the,bunches as they arrive at the cellar.