Baboons in the vineyard: cuddle or kill?


“They’re royal game.  You’re not allowed to kill them” said Johan de Wet, chairman of Du Toitskloof Winery to me last night at Terra Mare in Paarl over the best fillet steak I’ve ever eaten in the town with the longest main road in Christendom. Today’s 21st birthday of the Grande Roche, notwithstanding. Johan was referring to Chacma baboons who are his biggest hassle growing grapes in Rawsonville.

IMG 1713 576x1024 Baboons in the vineyard: cuddle or kill?

Baboons and Vinpro “who live off interest from the millions their grandfathers made out of KWV and the foresight to invest in Anton Rupert.”  For Vinpro seem to have gone over to the baboons and seem intent on making farming as difficult as possible by playing revolutionary politics and pushing WIETA, the home grown ethical trading initiative that looks more like an informal trade union for ambitious politicians claiming to speak for farm workers, over Fair Trade.  So how to deal with baboons?

cuddle Baboons in the vineyard: cuddle or kill?

Ayama on the Voor Paardeberg like to cuddle them.  Baboon’s Cuddle 2012 is a powerful, sweetly fruited Pinotage that works well with the oxtail ragu at Il Leone – the lion – although the Ayama logo is a leopard and they also like baboons for lunch. Il Leone seemed like a good place to test drive the cuddle given the Italian connections at Ayama although Burrata, Eat Out magazine’s Best Italian in SA, would also work. Burrata Baboons has a nice ring to it.

On Friday, Sascha Schmidt and I enjoyed the 2013 Ayama Sauvignon Blanc at Birds (above). While Sauvignon Blanc seems to be terminally unhip – David Cope’s Publik wine bar in the old Tudor Cafe basement eschews the cultivar and Platter, the infamous sighted wine guide “now with brandy and Sherry style wines” (below) give it the five star cold shoulder in their Cecil John Rhodes (colonial, anti-Afrikaans) edition below – we thought it kif and great with the Birds BLT – best thing on the menu according to Michael Chandler of Chandler House fame.

pl Baboons in the vineyard: cuddle or kill?