Dorp Street MCC & Champagne Festival

Starts : 28 August 2010 18h00
Ends : 28 August 2010 21h00
Intro : In 1971 South Africa’s premier wine producing region, Stellenbosch, released the country’s first wine modeled on the famous sparkling wines of the Champagne region in France. 39 years later, we have the privilege of announcing the arrival of the inaugural Dorp Street MCC and Champagne

Space : 200
Location : Black Horse Centre, c/o Dorp and Market Street

Description : This prestigious event, taking place on 28th August 2010, is aimed at providing a personalised, bespoke, memorable and compelling experience as well as a celebration of the lifestyle which Champagne and Method Cap Classique embody.

It will provide a platform for a small group of like-minded people (only 200 tickets available), who share the same passions, lifestyle, needs and desires to network and enjoy some fine exponents of this style of wine. It is sure to become a social highlight on the annual South African wine calendar.

The festival also aims to give exposure to the Black Horse Centre, in one the of town’s oldest streets, namely, Dorp Street, and to celebrate the joy of the Stellenbosch Winelands lifestyle.

The festival will be divided into two parts:


R400 per person for the Informal Tasting; additional R250 per person for the Formal Tutored Tasting.

Informal Tasting:

10 boutique Champagne and 10 boutique MCC producers will offer unlimited tastings of their Sparkling wines.

The informal tasting will run on Saturday, 28 August from 18h00 until 21h00, after which guests can retire to the restaurant area, do some shopping at one of the shops in the centre which will be open until 21h00 or purchase wine at the wine stall.

Theming will be in a chic country style and guests will be encouraged to dress appropriately

Formal Tutored Tastings:

There are three formal tutored tastings to choose from.
The first one is a comparitive tasting of Prestige Cuvees and vintage MCC, chaired by Allan Mullins.
The second one is a water tasting of imported waters such as VOSS and FIJI.
The third one is a vertical tasting of Villiera, Simonsig and Desiderius vintage MCC, chaired by Jeff Grier.
Each tasting will only be open to 25 guests and 5 prominent media/wine personalities. The formal tutored tastings will take place on Saturday, 28 August from 17h30 until 21h30 in three separate slots.

Contact : Inke Gouws
Phone : 079 268 3779
eMail :


Doing it Slowly with the Graham Beck Wines Team

HOSTS: Graham Beck Wines’ Nation Conservationist Mossie Basson, Winemaker Irene Waller & Viticulturist Marco Ventrella

Come get carried along on a tide of Bubbles and fine wine, experiencing the memorable company of chefs, winemaker and
conservationists par excellence. Feast your senses as you move from our cellar, a glass of Graham Beck Brut NV in hand, in our open
vehicle, through our vineyards, to Rhona’s Rock in our private nature reserve. Take in the views from this most splendid spot, rarely visited by anyone. Amble down to Mossie’s lapa – our Gamekeeper’s special hide, put on your apron and enjoy magnificent food and our award-winning wines.

Salmon Bagels with Crème Fraiche & Chives at Rhona’s Rock
Fresh Black Saldanha Mussels in a Sauvignon blanc/Vermouth and
Vegetable Brunoise
Slow-spit Roasted Karoo Lamb flavored with Wild Mountain Herbs,
Buttered Potatoes, Fire Baked “Potbrood” stuffed with Feta, Olives
and Peppadews, Fresh Garden Salad
Pavlova Surprise with Forrest Fruits

Saturday 7th of August
Time: 08h00 – 16h00

Arts, Leisure & Wine by Michael Fridjhon


THE death last week of Graham Beck produced the reflections and reminiscences expected whenever giants of an age are laid to rest. There were plenty of anecdotes describing his personality, his role in business, his great but unshowy generosity, his hobbies and his wry, dry humour.

It is obvious from the strength of the wine brand that bears his name that he was a player in SA’s liquor industry – though relative to his antics in the world of mining, horse racing and yacht building, this seems almost incidental feature of his life. It was certainly a sideshow: I don’t recall him ever waving the flag for one of his wines, though I saw him many times with a tumbler of Scotch wrapped in his fist.

He came into the liquor industry in what seemed a frivolous and unmotivated kind of way – the sort of thing that rich men do because they fear succumbing to boredom. In retrospect, however, he did have a game-plan – one so prescient and strategically thought out that even his lieutenants failed to anticipate the gambits along the way.

His interest in horse flesh led him to Robertson, where the calcium-rich soils offer breeders a great environment for elevage.

In the early 1980s it would have been hard to see how this area – long denigrated by those with land in the coastal region – would ever become the force it is today. Add to this the tightening noose of sanctions and isolation, and it took courage even to plant a vine.

When, towards the end of the decade, Beck bought Union Wine (an old, ill-run and grossly underrnanaged spirits and wine business) from the late Jan Picard, the pundits had a field day speculating about the state of Beck’s mental health. He was happy to feed the rumours. To make the whole exercise seem even more serendipitous, he dismissed the purchase price as no more than a boat-load of coal. With no real interest in investing too much of his time in so lightweight a purchase, and very much aware of the shortcomings of the management he had acquired, he was swift to merge the business with Rennies Liquor Holdings (which included Douglas Green of Paarl and Superior Imports). As a result, he had a half share in a bigger entity with excellent management. Safren’s liquor business came in time to be part of Kersaf, giving Beck’s now evolving Robertson region wine interests a finely honed route to market.

At this point, it seemed as if his whole strategy had been revealed: his boat-load of coal had acquired him a capital asset through which to sell his wines. This is an altogether more cost-effective way of moving stock than the customary investment in advertising and promotion.

As his wine business grew, however, the need to retain his shareholding in wine and spirit distribution appeared to diminish. It was only a matter of time – so thought eyen his senior management before he would accept an offer from Kersaf and get out of wholesale liquor. So it came as something of a surprise when he reversed the trade, buying out his partners at what they had been prepared to offer him and thus acquiring a 100% interest in what became DGB (which incorporates the names of Douglas Green and Bellingham.) Years later he facilitated a management buyout, retaining a minority stake.

By then he had parlayed his boatload of coal into a substantial asset, at the same time turning his incidental wine farm in Robertson into the brand we all know today. Still under its founding cellarmaster (Pieter Ferreira), Beck’s Robertson winery is the country’s most accomplished premium sparkling wine business. The subsequent addition of Steenberg to his portfolio shows that Beck still had a card or two to play. Clearly, when it came to business, there wasn’t a frivolous cell in his body.

Franschhoek Uncorked – 4 & 5 September 2010

Make your way to the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, over the weekend of 4 and 5 September, for the unique spring wine meander, Franschhoek Uncorked. This multi-faceted celebration takes place on satellite farms throughout the Valley, and affords award-winning wineries – as well as the smaller hidden gems – the opportunity to ‘bloom’ as they showcase new vintages and releases, coinciding with the onset of spring.

Highly acclaimed wineries, participating in this much loved event include Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cabrière, Solms-Delta, Graham Beck Wines, La Motte, Anthonji Rupert Wines, Môreson, Vrede en Lust and Plaisir de Merle. Also included in the line up are some of Franschhoek’s smaller gems such as Dieu Donné, GlenWood, Haut Espoir, La Bri, La Petite Ferme, Topiary and Maison. In addition select wineries will keep their visitors entertained with a range of events, whilst sampling their fine wines.

Take in the picturesque scenery while soaking in country hospitality at its best. Wander along leisurely from farm to farm, enjoying some of live entertainment on show while sampling fine wines and delectable treats, such as oysters, smoked salmon, creative curry combos, tapas and al fresco platters; a taste of what you can expect from South Africa’s gourmet capital.

With most of the Franschhoek Vignerons participating in this innovative initiative, there promises to be something for everyone with: cellar- and vineyard tours, barrel-tastings, a micro-brewery tasting , delectable food- and wine pairings, art exhibitions, a flower-bulb market, a food-and-wine market boasting fresh, organic food, a fynbos trail and wine-blending, to name but a few. For music-lovers, there are live music extravaganzas which cater for all tastes, ranging from jazz- and blues bands to French bistro genres to fiesta Española flamenco. To add to the ‘local is lekker’ flavour, visitors can also expect to be entertained by a handful of top local musicians. Motor car exhibitions add an innovative and ‘racy’ element to this year’s Uncorked with: Aston Martin, Porsche, Maserati and Ferrari’s all on show.

An access card system will be implemented to ensure the successful running of Franschhoek Uncorked. The access cards, available directly from participating wineries on the day or through Computicket, at R80.00 each, includes a tasting glass and free wine tasting at participating wineries for the duration of the event. A shuttle service will assist responsible tasting and allow for easy, hassle-free transport at this popular social calendar event.

So, with something for everyone, make a weekend of your visit, taking full advantage of the various accommodation packages on offer. Come and indulge yourself as you witness the country’s gourmet capital blossom and come alive.

For more information about the festival, please contact: Darielle Robertson Events Manager: Franschhoek Wine Valley Tel: 021 876 2861 Email:

Please visit the Computicket website to pre-book your tickets for the festival.

Why so many Companies suck at Social Media!

Great read by Lee Odden

Last night I had an enjoyable conversation with Scott Monty of Ford, Jeff Hayzlett (formerly CMO Kodak), Mike Monello from Campfire and our host Bob Knorpp of the famous BeanCast about a variety of topics including foursquare, Facebook, Hulu, social gaming and even small logos. One of the topics that emerged from that discussion was the astute observation of how many companies “suck” at social media.

The current iteration of what we all call social media has been around for at least 3-4 years but apparently brands are still irrelevant on Twitter and companies continue to blunder on Facebook and show a lack of understanding of what makes social media conversations succeed at reaching business goals.

Part of the problem is that most companies are not inherently “social” to begin with. It’s not in their DNA to understand what it means for individual employees to start having conversations with the social web at large as representatives of a company personality. Marketing is about many things including connecting audiences with products they want to buy.

Marketing on the social web is less about the tradition of packaging and distributing information and more about companies being able to connect with customers in ways that are both meaningful to those customers and to the goals of the business.

Cisco’s attempt to leverage their take on the Old Spice campaign didn’t work so well (6,900 views). However, Brigham Young University did a parody of the Old Spice campaign and nailed it (1.8 million views). Why was that? Was it in the execution? The production? The relevance to the audience? One could argue that there is probably more resonance between the Old Spice brand and students at a University than with a company that sells routers. Just because a campaign that used social media channels worked well in one situation does not mean it’s a universal formula.

That’s a big part of the problem. Companies that are trying to understand how the social web can work for them are looking for specific formulas like we’ve been able to do with Email, Direct Mail, Advertising and even Search Marketing. The idea that a particular promotion worked for one company, therefore it should work for us too, doesn’t hold water. Companies need to figure out what works best for the social channels, media and content that best resonates with their customers.

While it’s fun to brag about, getting a viral hit on YouTube does not define success on the social web. Creating trust, connections with a relevant community and ultimately an increase in business goals like revenue is what really matters. The Old Spice YouTube channel not only racked up 50+ million views, but the company reported sales doubling.

To me, the issue isn’t about sucking at social media, it’s about failing. Companies should not fear taking risks and trying new, creative ways to connect with their customers. Some of those efforts will succeed and many will suck. Failing at social media is more about choosing NOT to:

Listen – Social media monitoring.
Create – Content that customers actually want.
Engage – There is no substitute for direct participation with customers in social communities.
Be open – Stop deciding what’s best for your customer and be open to letting them show you how they’d like to engage.
Be brave – Show leadership in your social participation.
Test – Moving corporate mountains is tough, so try proof of concept campaigns, run business case examples and get your feet wet.
Change – Organizations can only be social if leadership buys in and a commitment to change is made.
Make money – Don’t be fooled into thinking social media is all about kumbaya with customers. It’s about creating opportunities to connect and influence sales: indirectly and in some cases, directly.
I consider blogs a big part of social media and we’ve been blogging for well over 6 years. While sites like Advertising Age and Technorati rank this blog pretty high as a marketing blog, it “sucked” for quite a while as content and “voice” were being tested. There’s nothing wrong with testing and failing. But do so after listening and participating with the channels you’ll be engaging. Learn from mistakes, be creative, be nimble, empower employees with knowledge and resources. Work to make your organization “be social” vs. “do social”.

Have you “sucked” at social media? What did you learn from it? How have you turned your social media failures into successes?