“Magic of Bubbles” – Franschhoek


 4 – 6 December 2009

 The French would have you believe it, but does a name make it better? France has trademarked the right to call their sparkling wines Champagne, whilst wine estates locally have settled for describing their “bubbly” as Cap Classique.

Over the weekend of the 4th to 6th of December, for the third year running, Investec Private Bank will sponsor “The Magic of Bubbles” Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in Franschhoek. Proving to be the ideal host for this festival, the largest of its kind in the country allowing visitors the opportunity to sample both Champagne and Cap Classique wines, Franschhoek offers visitors a unique combination of French heritage and South African winelands.

 And, just as Investec strives for excellence and exceptional standards through its distinctive, out of the ordinary offering, so the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival seeks to maintain outstanding standards by showcasing a selection of the most impressionable Champagnes and Cap Classiques.

 Some of France’s best Champagne will be tasted alongside the finest Cap Classiques to emerge from the wine cellars of South Africa. The winemaking method is virtually the same, so it comes down simply to the terroir and skill of the winemakers. Past events have featured acclaimed Champagnes such as Ayala, Billecart Salmon, Claude Beaufort, Gosset, Joseph Perrier, Laurent Perrier, Pol Roger, Thierry Lesne and Tribaut; as well as popular Cap Classiques like Bon Courage, Boschendal, Chamonix, Colmant, Constantia Uitsig, Dieu Donné, Graham Beck, Hazendal, Krone, Morena, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Pongrácz, Simonsig, Steenberg, Topiary and Villiera.

 The centrepiece of the festival will be a grand marquee on the sprawling lawns surrounding Franschhoek’s famous Huguenot Monument, where bubbly stalls will be interspersed with stalls from the local restaurants offering delicious delicacies to match.

This not-to-be missed event allows visitors to sample the town’s multilayered delights prepared by some of the country’s best chefs, whose restaurants in the village underpin Franschhoek’s status as one of the world’s great culinary destinations. A visit to the award-winning restaurant at Le Quartier Français will not disappoint, especially taking into account that a firm favourite, the Lamb Burger, is back by popular demand. A short wander down the main road in Franschhoek will uncover world-class shops and boutiques for an intimate and relaxed shopping experience. And not to be overlooked, for a quick visit, are the wine farms, situated in and around the area.

Those wishing to stay overnight will be spoilt for choice with accommodation ranging from the finest bed and breakfasts to luxurious boutique hotels, all nestling in a picturesque and safe environment. 

This year the festival will take full advantage of the Cape’s glorious summer evenings, with the festival open from 6pm to 10pm on Friday the 4th of December and then between 12pm and 6pm on both Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th.

 Live music, provided by well-known artists such as Jared, Gerard (previously a member of Delta Blues), D7 Fresh Acapella and many more, will set the tone, and local winemakers will be on hand to chat about the making of Cap Classique wines in the Franschhoek valley.

 The theme for this year’s festival is ‘white with a touch of black’, with a prize being awarded to the best dressed couple. A best dressed couple will be selected every day of the festival.

 An R180.00 per person entrance fee allows you access to the festival, which includes a tasting glass and a complimentary booklet containing 10 tasting coupons. Thereafter all tastings will be charged on consumption. Tickets can be purchased through http://www.webtickets.co.za/, but hurry as tickets are limited. Once the marquee is full no further patrons will be admitted.

How to surprise your loved one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  During at recent wedding at Vrede en Lust Wine Estate we manage to see a wedding cake that looked impressive and certainly steeled the limelight at the wedding. Not only did it looked gorgeous but apparently tasted fantastic. 

A tower built out of the new Graham Beck Brut NV Rose. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and absolutely made to turn any occasion to a so-fizz-tication!

This is the brain-child of Duncan Doherty of Cottage Fromage who often comes up with great ideas to thrill. It proves to be a great venue for weddings and I am sure we will see more designs with Graham Beck Cap Classique’s in his next upcoming events.

What I have learnt from this is that you can now have your cake and drink it!


Cyberspace for “Wine-dummies”

On the 25th November at Backsberg Wine Estate we were treated to Anchor Yeast Technical Seminar on an introduction to cyberspace mediums such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging! Japie Swanepoel an “e” guru took us through the basic steps and a case study on Backsberg by Simon Back followed. It was very informative and useful to get the real basic stuff. It is really not rocket science. Anyone interested to the introduction presentation please view it at http://www.anchorwineyeast.com/en_events.html There is also good information on the statistics of how this phenomenon in growing.

Winemake Opportunity in South Africa for 2010?

To all producers of Cap Classique in South Africa, I have had many enquiries for work opportunities from qualified Champenoise (Champagne) winemakers seeking an oppotunity to work in South Africa for 2010 harvest. If you are interested and may be able to assist in any way, please let me know and I will forward you their information and CV.



17 September 2009 to 4 October 2009

The goal of this outings was to make it an enjoyable experience whilst simultaneously educating the senior citizens. On this particular occasion the senior citizens of the farms Graham Beck Wines and Highlands Stud visited the Donkey Sanctuary near McGregor. This sanctuary is a place of healing for the broken-spirited (both donkey and humans). Some of the donkeys retired here after 30 years of hard work, drawing carts or ploughs, or turning the wheel of a mill at brickworks, endlessly walking blindfolded in a circle. This happy and tranquil environment created such peacefulness, that the senior citizens found it truly to be a privilege and memorable experience.
The aim of this weekend was to ascertain needs that the young people have to develop into becoming contributing members of their family and community. The theme for the camp was “who I am in my community”. The pillars of the program was *achievement *empowerment*acknowledgement and *restoration. All this was done through in- and outdoor games, group participation, doing collages and role play. The outcomes were achieved, through this enjoyable interaction. Hearts of Men and the youth left this workshop with a song in their heart.


The theme of this Men’s Seminar was “The role of the modern day man” presented by Dess van Niekerk from Hearts of Men. The men were entertained by a band playing local music and the men participated in sing-a-along-songs. There were men’s choirs performing, Hip Hop dancing, a mass choir from the vicinity, miming and rap music. Chris September (a local pastor) gave a profile of his life that was very profound. This testimony touched the hearts of every man, because it confronted them with real life issues such as alcoholism, drugs, gangster life style and abuse in his home as this was the life he was accustomed to until he made a decision for change. It slotted in the theme and every man had a chance to take introspection and see where they are at this moment. Skills were given on how to transform and change and information was given to anybody needing extra intervention and individual counseling.

Robertson’s after-care children love taking trips to Montagu Springs. Thus it was no surprise that they chose this destination as their outing venue once again. The relaxing warm water, lovely atmosphere and tranquil surroundings make this venue a wonderful outing destination. Ask any child from the community and farm area where they would like to go and it will be an answer like “swimming, swimming pool or the sea.”

The YWAM team from Worcester presented a three day holiday program. The program included using recycled material to make gifts; face paintings were done by the international YWAM team as well as friendly sport matches like rugby and netball. The program ended with a concert presented by the farm kids. The entire program was initiated by Susan Fouche.

On arrival we were shown a DVD showcasing the life of the Nile crocodile, this included information on how they catch their prey, breeding and how they protect themselves from predators. After this we were shown an albino crocodile that was kept indoors due to its condition. In total the farm houses 1300 crocodiles that vary in age and breed. Once the children completed their tour of the farm they were served lunch at the restaurant.

These youth gatherings will take place on a monthly basis. The aim of these gatherings are to empower the youth to create, implement and facilitate their own youth programs. These programs will include activities such as Hip Hop dancing, rap, miming, singing and inspirational testimonies. The current facilitators are Octavius Mgada (choir and singing), Chris September (sound engineer and motivational speaker), Ryan Lass (Hip Hop, miming and rap instructor) and Margie Banda (drama instructor).

Graham Beck Wines – Awards in 2009



  • GQ Magazine (January issue) voted Graham Beck Wines, Franschhoek Cellar Door facility as One of the Top 50 Best Places in the World to be now.
  • 4 Stars Wine Magazine(February issue) and chosen as one of the Top 15 wines in the SA Wine Magazine Chenin Blanc Challenge – Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2008.
  • Selected by Michele Obama in celebration of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech of the US Presidency. – Graham Beck Brut NV was used.


  • Wine Writer for Daily Mail, Matthew Jukes’ Top 50 wines: Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2005. “This was the most beautiful and rewarding sparkler at Cape Wine and it is still one of the best values in the world.”
  • Rated 91/100 points by Natalie MacLean (natdecants@nataliemaclean.com) – Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2003.


  • Neil Pendock on Graham Beck Cuvee Clive “This must be the best MCC I have ever had.


  • Rated 91/100 points by Don Winkler from the International Wine Review – Graham Beck Brut Rosé 2006 “…absolutely lovely, and difficult to stop drinking.”


  • Selected as wine of the month in the May 2009 issue of Decanter Magazine – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon 2008.
  • International Wine Challenge – Siver medal – Graham Beck Bowed Head Chenin Blanc 2008, Siver medal – Graham Beck The Joshua 2005.


  • Rated as one of Top 10 wines under $10 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine – Graham Beck Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2007


  • Selected for British Airways 1st Class for 1 year – Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2003


  • Robertson Young Wine Show Standard Bank Trophy for Champion Shiraz in Robertson.
  • Paarl Young Wine Show Boland Bank Trophy for Champion Sauvignon Blanc in Paarl region.
  • National Young Wine Show WPLG Wine show Floating Trophy for Class Winner, Category Wooded Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Mr. Graham Beck was awarded the PON VAN ZYL Trophy for his contribution to the wine industry in the Robertson region.
  • Farmworker of the Year 2009 Competition: Winner in Category General Worker: Margaret Harmse (Graham Beck Wines, Robertson). Winner in Category Tractor Driver: Freek Windvogel (Graham Beck Wines, Robertson).
  • Listed for Gulf Air 1st Class – Graham Beck The Joshua 2005.
  • Listed for Gulf Air Business Class – Graham Beck Shiraz 2005.


  • Awarded as one of the Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs at the Bartho Eksteen Sauvignon Blanc Celebration – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008.
  • Michelangelo Wine Awards: Double Gold – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Double Gold – Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Gold medal – Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2005, Gold medal – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009.


  • Awarded 5 stars in the Danish internet wine newspaper http://www.vinavisen.dk/ – Graham Beck Railroad Red 2007.
  • Veritas Awards: Double gold medal – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Gold medal – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009.
  • WINE magazine TOPS at SPAR Sauvignon Blanc Top 10: – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008 &  Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009. (Graham Beck Wines is the only cellar to win this award for the third consecutive year, since the inception of this competition).
  • Wine Magazine (November issue) – 5 stars – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 4½ stars – Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008, 4 stars – Graham Beck Lonehill Chardonnay 2007.