Can Design Save SA Wine?

The average IQ of pole dancing palace with dancing Poles Mavericks, on Buitenkant Street, shot off the scale at breakfast yesterday as the 39 curators for Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 met next door at Truth Coffee with an International Advisory Committee of designers from Lagos, San Francisco and the Wilderness who had flown into town to check up on progress on vetting the nearly 600 proposals for next year’s design jamboree. Truth is owned by David Donde (below, left) and is now managed by James Borland, recently of the parish of the Taj.

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David is no stranger to the higher heights of hedonism, having been a fellow judge at the Bot River Bears and Barrels jol last month. One of the IAC judges vouchsafed the gem of how when Napa’s top wine journo visited Cape Town, he made arrangements to meet David Cope, the hippest SA wine writer, for breakfast at Truth.

Arriving before David, he bumped into the other David (who admittedly does look like a wine guru) and spent a wonderful morning, starting off on the fruit of the vine and soon progressing to coffee. A bit like Bob Dylan’s Easter experience in Juarez when he “started out on burgundy/ but soon hit the harder stuff/ everybody said they’d stand behind me/ when the game got rough.” Right place, wrong David, an allegory for SA wine marketing in the USA.

Anyhow, after multiple sticky buns, it was back to the curatorial Hub behind Charly’s Bakery where the IAC filled us in on various holes in the submissions. One of the largest was the shortage of decent food and wine proposals. To investigate the matter further, a subcommittee adjourned for lunch at Babylonstoren in Paarl. This curator and the IAC were blown away by the persimmons, quinces and veggies of Koos Bekker and the Vuurberg red blend of Donovan Rall, the Shiraz from Tokara and the Sauvignon Blanc 2012 of Neil Ellis.

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What a delight to see billionaires like Koos support other billionaires like GT Ferreira. This is the kind of co-operation so often lacking in SA wine. Koos made a reported R1 billion last year, mostly in China, as is clear from his signs (above).

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Koos’s yoghurt cheese alone is worth the R10 admission and by the time Kunlé Adeyemi, a Nigerian urban architect who lives in Amsterdam, showed us his floating school in Lagos (above, with Alayne Reesburg, CEO of the project) my curatorial batteries were fully charged. The World Design Capital 2014 project is alive with possibilities for SA food and wine.