Ultra Mussels in May and the rain kept away


A new chapter was written in the book of SA wine marketing this afternoon with Ultra Mussels in May at Den Anker restaurant at the Cape Town Waterfront. The weatherman had forecast storms, tsunamis and general atmospheric mayhem, but the event went down in a glorious sunny spot between cold fronts that confirms that weather prediction is as accurate as economic forecasting. Not very.

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The event is a new approach to SA wine marketing as it emphasizes geographic terroir. We decided to showcase the wines of Darling and Durbanville along with mussels, a sweet spot in our carbohydrate averse society. The focus of the event was Sauvignon Blanc, but the discovery of the day were the many well priced Pinot Noirs that will shake Hermanus to its foundations. The maiden vintage from Altydgedacht and the 2010 Ondine from Ormonde are a case in point.

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Ten features that made UMiM unique:

1. The price was kept reasonable – R150 bought 1Kg of mussels, unlimited tastings, a commemorative glass, entertainment, lucky draws galore and a goody bag stuffed full of magazines;

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2. Numbers were kept down – the 200 tickets were sold out a week ago and we could have sold the event twice over;

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3. Women often had a better technique at the hi-striker than men.

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4. Freebees comprised less than 5% of tickets sold. Wine writers and social mediaists had to buy their own – this was an event for real people, not luvvies and socialites.

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5. Punters voted for their own favourite wine to go with mussels – the opinions of “experts” counted as much or as little as anyone else.

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6. Body builders (above) were returning officers for the election, ensuring there was no funny business.

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7. Estate owners and senior winemakers manned the stands.

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8. The event started at noon and the first guests arrived at 11am – this must be a first for Cape Town.

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9. My own favourite Sauvignon Blanc – the flagship 2013 from Bloemendal, is made from old vines yielding 800Kg/ha. The name of this amazing wine should be financial suicide.

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10. The event was sponsored by Ultra Liquors, a wine retailer, and several producers landed distribution deals at the event as Mark Norrish (above) had his tasting boots on.