Sensuous art of winemaking

Winemakers are usually a tough agricultural species aligning their skills with soil and sun.Just occasionally one or two will mutter about creativity and are not then unwilling to think of themselves as, well (perhaps an uncomfortable shuffling of feet here) … “sort-of artists”.

Meanwhile the grander estate owners can, and do, make their own wine-art linkage through proprietorial claims on both. If it sates their aesthetic drives, or does something more mundane than that (at least helping them spend a lot of money), it also means art-lovers can increasingly find satisfaction in the Western Cape’s winelands.

There are formal galleries, for example, ranging from the Pierneef collection at La Motte in Franschhoek, to — a world away — the absurdities and delights of abstraction and conceptualism at Glen Carlou, on the Simonsberg’s Paarl slopes.

These two galleries satisfactorily reflect their origins, like good wine. La Motte, owned by Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, is integrated into Afrikaner big business as part of the Rupert family empire, whereas Glen Carlou is just one of the international estates owned by Swiss-born entrepreneur Donald Hess. Hess is a major patron of contemporary art and has exhibition spaces at wineries in California and Chile too. The current focus in Paarl is on English land-artist Andy Goldsworthy, New York-based Ouattara Watts and Durban boy Deryck Healey.

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