Elephants in the Tasting Room


The elephant in the tasting room of SA wine is the legacy of slavery.  While the Huguenots are credited with founding SA wine in the Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Elephants in the Tasting Room
by franschhoekwines
Valley, or what’s left of it after a weekend flood of Noahesque proportions – the heavy lifting was supplied by legions of slaves.  Mutely remembered on many a wine farm by a slave bell.  So hats off to Lucas J. van Tonder, owner of Montpellier in Tulbagh, for celebrating the emancipation of slaves 175 years ago this year.

slave 615x869 Elephants in the Tasting Room

One of my most moving encounters in the wine industry was meeting an old retainer on Welgegund in Wellington. This old lady in turn remembered a man as old as a stick from her childhood who was the son of a slave. Three degrees of separation to the worst chapter in SA wine and one that is kept well hidden under the carpet, to the industry’s continuing shame.

Lucas has an twitter handle @lucasdelight and throws some of the best parties in the Cape. So it is quite fitting that it should be he who celebrates the freeing of the slaves. The party takes place the day before Diners Club unveil their Winemaker of the Year in Franschhoek, so it looks like the end of November with be a party weekend, par excellence.