Spotlight falls on famous South African wine industry names and brands at 2018 Hermanus FynArts

A bright spotlight falls on famous South African wine industry names and brands in the upcoming sixth Hermanus FynArts, starting June 8. A popular tradition in this growing arts festival, the Wine Plus series takes another different tack this year.

For those with an interest in the culture and colourful stories that led to the country’s 333rd grape harvest in 2018, while sipping and exploring the latest of contemporary crafted wine, the programme ‘Wine Plus: Names of Note’ is a celebration of greatness, and a peek behind the scenes, the people, history and a view of the future.

Again, for the fifth iteration, the series is being curated by Melvyn Minnaar, who has invited notable personalities in the industry to present and share.  Some of the well-known brands celebrate important anniversaries this year, others are unchallenged in the fame in the pantheon of South African wine.

M Minnaar e1526392989269 Spotlight falls on famous South African wine industry names and brands at 2018 Hermanus FynArts

Melvyn Minnaar

‘Names of Note’ are those on labels and bottles familiar to every wine-loving person. The eight tastings and talks are structured to get to know them even better, to hear the back stories. Wine Plus presenters are personalities who have a passion to share, have first-hand, inside knowledge and can tell the tales.

The ‘brands’ under the spotlight include Simonsig, KWV, Nederburg, Meerlust, Kanonkop, and Groot Constantia, where that 333rd harvest was recently celebrated.  Both Simonsig and KWV have special anniversaries this year

Among the presenters, Norma Ratcliffe, one of the female pioneers in SA wine, recently too had a special anniversary, while Bennie Howard, wine master, with his decades of involvement, has a unique historical view of the local industry. From the mentioned estates, expect the presence of Johan Malan, Wim Truter, Hannes My burgh, Chris Williams, Johann Krige, Abrie Beeslaar and Boela Gerber.

Wine Plus offers an opportunity to taste, to hear the stories and to ask questions. Each presentation of 45 minutes features six to eight wines, selected to spotlight the famous name. Expect the usual and the rare.

Sessions are daily over the first four days, at 14.00 and 17.00. Tickets can be bought individually or in sets.

On Saturday, June 9, Simonsig owner-winemaker Johan Malan will trace the history of the country’s first Méthode Cape Classique, Kaapse Vonkel, in celebration of Simonsig’s 50th anniversary.

Later that afternoon Nederburg is spot lit when rarities from that famous cellar, dating back to1791, is offered.

Sunday, June 10, the first session features KWV, perhaps the most renowned name in SA drinks industry. Celebrating 100 years, punters can expect real treats from that cellar under head winemaker, Wim Truter.

Following later, Bennie Howard, Cape Wine Master, will present stories and wines that stand out in his long personal history. He is a specialist amongst wine fundis, long hands-on in the industry and a seasoned marketer.

The Monday, June 11, session opens with Meerlust, Hannes Myburg’s wine estate, dating from 1693, which is often referred to as a SA ‘first growth’. Cellar master Chris Williams will lead the tasting and talk.

Another ‘first growth’, Kanonkop, will feature in the follow-up. Owner Johann Krige and cellar master Abrie Beeslaar, 2017 IWSC winemaker-of-the-year, will bring the show wines.

Tuesday, June 12, brings Groot Constantia to the fore. The world-famous ‘first SA wine estate’ has a special niche in wine history, while cellar master Boela Gerber has proven himself as master of the estate’s past and future.  

For the conclusion of the 2018 Wine Plus Names of Note programme there could be no finer presenter than Norma Ratcliffe. A legend among the first women who ventured hands-on into the wine cellar, her philosophy of the wine world and choices of wines to taste will not be something to miss.

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