Election Tipples


With 2014 an election year in SA, there are lessons for SA wine to be learnt from the USA. America is pretty much a Manichean society comprised of Democrats and Republicans (GOP) and SA is heading that way too. Whatever happened to the Luso-SA Party or the Keep it Straight and Simple Party of cat artist Nina Romm, two of the 19 parties who bravely contested the first democratic election back in 1994? KISS was always a party with little appeal in Cape Town, where straight is very much an unfashionable lifestyle choice. The scariest thing about Christmas in the mother city is how many of your Jo’burg friends pop on on Grindr looking to “hook up” and they’re all 1440 feet away from you if you live in Tamboerskloof.

corks and bath Election Tipples

That first democratic election was a watershed of sorts for SA with bogeymen disappearing faster than beneficiaries and supporters of Apartheid. It tells you something when the number of spoilt ballots nearly beat the PAC.  From the 19 parties of 1994, we’re pretty much down to two: ANC and DA unless Julius Malema can convert a natty fashion statement into votes for his EFF.

Recent research from the land of the free explodes the myth that Democrats drink beer while Republicans bathe in Champagne. Turns out its the opposite. “The most fervent Democratic partisans drink expensive champagne and brandy, while the GOP’s base voters drink modestly priced wine, says a new media survey by National Media, a firm that tracks demographic and consumer data. The data contradicts the commonplace media and Hollywood portrayals of GOP voters as plutocratic, champagne-sipping vulture-capitalists. It illustrates the growing political divide between GOP-leaning middle-class voters, including most college grads, and the Democratic Party’s high-low alliance of wealthy post-grad progressives and unskilled, low-income people.”

If the ANC is the Democrat analogue supported by Black Diamonds and the messes, then the DA is the party of the middle classes – a GOP analogue. Which would assign them to the wine drinking camp. ANC first growth cadres do indeed drink brandy, but alas not SA brandy. Cognac from France. Under the salad days of Thabo Mbeki, the tipple at the top was whisky. Blends not single malts, this being the Rainbow Nation and all. Jonnie Walker Blue and the even more exclusive King George V, which was even launched at Tuynhuis, the president’s Pied à Cap. The marketing strategies of Brand House must be in disarray with teetotaller Zuma at the top.

The ANC Youth League was famously the largest market for Moët, even if former president Julius had problems pronouncing it, according to Luvo Ntezo, sommelier at the One & Only. So it is likely to become the drink of the EFF. After all, when it comes to politics, France has always supported the extremes in the spirit of 1968. Think Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh and the Ayatollah Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini although not even the dozyest Champagne marketer would seek to sponsor a Muslim Imam.