SAA Wine Selection


“Not with a bang, but a whimper” was how TS Eliot predicted the world would end in the Hollow Men. And this was certainly how SA Airways much vaunted wine selection process went down this year. Nationwide’s engine experience aside, the wheels fell off SAA’s onboard service months ago when spirits were removed from those aluminum trolleys the wait staff wield with such deadly accuracy against shoulder and patella of those in the C and D aisle seats of poverty class.
saa SAA Wine Selection
Costs are clearly being cut: no invitations to glittering awards dinners for upcountry hacks and companions. The budget didn’t even extend to an e-mail press release in my case. Diligent enquiries tracked down the palates of those who selected wines this year:

Tatiana Marcetteau – Sommelier at the Arabella Sheraton Hotel – oops, it’s now called the Westin Grand, SAA
Yegas Naidoo – an SAA Voyager Platinum card holder and recognised wine taster internationally
Dave Hughes – Dave is a distiller, winemaker, wine auctioneer, international wine and spirit judge.
Eunice Fried – a writer and lecturer, columnist of Global Traveler, director of the Annual Airline International Business Class Wine Competition – and the sole foreign selector
Elsa Carstens – Cellar Master at Audacia Wines
Duimpie Bayly – Cape wine master and Chairman of the SA National Wine Show Association – who hates flying
Pierre Marais – Wine consultant
Luvo Ntezo – Sommelier at the Twelve Apostles Hotel
Sandra Lotz – CEO of Paarl Vintners,
Ginette De Fleuriot – CEO of Wine Sense,
Dick Davidson – MD of Fairseat Cellars,
Carmen Stevens – Wine Maker at Amani Vineyards,
Bennie Howard – Cape Wine Master and Wine consultant – who put the tasting together

Only one foreign palate in this baker’s dozen. Compare and contrast with last year’s selectors:

International Judges: Lynne Sherriff (UK), Bengt Kronstam (Sweden), John Avery (UK), Alessia Antionori (Italy), Bob Cartwright (Australia) and Benoit Marguet-Bonnerave (France).

South African judges: Dave Hughes, Yegas Naidoo, Tariro Masayiti, Tatiana Marcetteau, Jabulani Ntshangase and Jorg Pfutzner.

Economizing has led to a proudly South African perspective. Now if only we could get the Moët swigging/Johnnie Walker sipping parliament to follow suit!


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