Why should SA wine producers care about China?
South Africa has been a popular destination for Chinese people since the Song dynasty (13 th century) and today is home to the largest population of Chinese in Africa. There are over 100,000 people of Chinese descent in SA and that number is growing rapidly. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when Taiwan was our best (and only friend) in the East, there was significant investment from Taiwan and Cantonese was the lingua franca of Commissioner Street in Johannesburg and Bruma Lake. After the first democratic elections, complexion (and language) has moved north with Mandarin speakers up and a serious China Town erupting in Cyrildene, Johannesburg and Milnerton in the Cape.
Chinese shops are popping up in the smallest platteland dorps and dim sum is all the rage among foodies. SA is favourite travel destination for Chinese people and with China predicted to overtake the USA as largest economy in the world in this generation, this is a trend that can only continue.
China is the promised land for wine exports as the country has a rapidly expanding middle class and a booming economy, unlike Europe, traditional export market for SA wine, which faces a generation of economic stagnation. But SA wine needs to try harder as China does not even feature in the top ten export destinations, importing even less than Belgium.
China has enjoyed 7000 years of culture and their celebration of New Year is the major party event on the calendar. This year celebrates the Year of the Snake on Sunday 10th February and kicks off ten days of festivities with fireworks, lion dances and dragon runs from Hong Kong in the South to Beijing in the North. In Newlands, Cape to Canton[ 開普敦到廣州 Kāi pǔ dūn dào Guǎngzhōu will skip the fireworks so as not to startle suburban dogs, but the siu mai from South China Dim Sum Bar will be as succulent as those from Wan Chai, the har gow from Aunty Mary at Tao Yuan like those in the street cafes of Guangzhōu, while the Xiao Long Bao from Haiku will equal those from X’ian and the wines from eight of the Cape’s most Sino-savvy estates, including the stellar dessert drops from Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Razvan Macici, will be superlative.
Festivities will take place from 4-8pm on Sunday 10th February in the bucolic gardens of Lady Anne Barnard’s erstwhile home under Table Mountain, now The Vineyard Hotel and Spa. Travelers to the Orient will have 2 options:
- Red ticket (R295): Includes access to the gardens, complimentary bowl, chopsticks, wine glass and Bisquit Cognac “Summit” cocktail as well as eight course Chinese tasting menu paired with wine, SA Brandy and Cognac, cold-brew single origin coffee and entertainment.
- Gold Ticket (R595): All the above as well as access to the VIP Bisquit Cognac private garden next to the Liesbeek river, full tasting menu with unlimited wine pairings (including some imported and vintage), restaurant and sommelier service, cigars and Bisquit Cognac.
Tickets available through Quicket: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/1561-cape-to-canton-chinese-new-year/