SA Wine Bastard Carnival

My Quixotic wine project for next year is to try to raise the bar for SA wine labels. I have just the team to help: Luan Nel, Chris Denovan and Simon Stone (below), fine artists all. Luan already has one on his CV – two Greek wrestlers in action. It graces the Lemoenfontein Pinotage 2009 as I’d always thought the classical analogy for Pinotage should be Greek wrestlers representing the Pinot Noir and Cinsault parents of the grape which can exist in a tense atmosphere, like families the world over. When US blogger David White opened the Nederburg Auction in 2011, he said it was the best Pinotage he’d tasted in the country. The Pendock Wine Gallery @ Taj has stock at R45 a bottle.

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I had wanted to incorporate the wrestler below into the label, as he is also under a certain amount of pressure, but was unsure how it would play for the Pinotage Association. Besides, perhaps some people would find the religious reference offensive.

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A secondary project will be to continue to publicize Co-op wines. Co-ops and former co-ops such as Darling Cellars, Namaqua Wines, Perdeberg, Swartland, Riebeek Cellars, Stellenbosch Hills, Orange River Cellars and Koelenhof Co-op make some of the finest wines in SA and most of the best value ones. The broader wine drinking public is largely unaware that many of the boutique bottlings they pay over the top for, are made in Co-ops.

The task of separating the drinkable from the scams will likely get much tougher now that adman Reg Lascaris has taken over the Platter sighted wine guide through Diners Club. In the first year of operation under new management, five star stunnas are up 30% and Reg’s battling brand Boekenhoutskloof is back in the Idi Amin club (lotsa bling). Heaven help anyone using this flawed guide to shop for wine.

To level the playing fields, we’ll be inaugurating a Co-op Corner in the Pendock Private Cellar at the Taj Hotel in the shape of an Yves St. Laurent steamer trunk full of goodies. This will not be the usual bargain bin full of rubbish to be shifted, but more a showcase for uncut gems. As May Eliane de Lencquesaing might say, we would like to feature la Grandeur de la Pauvre. Our aim is to become the antithesis of everything the SA Wine Bastard CarnivalTM (Barkers, Anoraks, Shills, Touts, Advertisers, Ringers and Deceivers) try to smous.