South Africa, France toast to wine exchange programme

 

25 May 2011 By Emily Visser

[Image]

Two cellar workers, from the Graham Beck
estate in Franschoek, who participated in
the programme. Graham Beck and the
estate’s cellar master Pieter Ferreira are
South African partners in the initiative.

[Image]

Isaac Frederick (l) and Jean Michel Jacob
in Burgundy. Frederick travelled to
the Lucien Jacob wine estate in France.
(Images: Philippe Maupetit)

MEDIA CONTACTS 
• Andre Morgenthal
  Communications Manager, Wines of SA
+27 21 883 3860
• Florence Zito
CFPPA
+33 80 24 79 95
• Thuthukile Skweyiya Western Cape-
Burgundy Wine Exchange Programme
(Western Cape Ministry of Agriculture)
avjaarsv@pgwc.gov.za
+27 21 483 4700/1

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Emily Visser

The art of making and enjoying wine has always brought people closer together. Now this rich form of exchange – and the benefits thereof – is being felt on a national level with the Thutukile Skweyiya Western Cape programme, which celebrates a decade of achievement in July 2011.

The programme, which entails previously disadvantaged South Africans visiting France to learn the fine skills of wine-making, was established in 2001 and has so far changed the lives of more than 250 workers, some in profound ways.

It is the brainchild of South Africa’s then ambassador to France and Unesco Thutukile Skweyiya, whose primary mandate was to strengthen relations between France and South Africa to enhance the lives of her compatriots.

“In 1999 I identified the wine sector as one area, among others, where we could give practical impetus of our objective to better the lives of our people at home.”

In September 2002 the relationship was formalised when then-premier of Western Cape Gerald Morkel and the president of the regional council of Burgundy signed an agreement stipulating the areas of cooperation.

The decade of empowering people will also be celebrated with the launch in the Western Cape in July, and later in Burgundy, of a book.

Different courses

The programme is jointly managed by two agricultural colleges: the Centre de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA) in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, and the agricultural college in Elsenburg, Stellenbosch.

Every year a panel of representatives from Elsenburg college, the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape and industry bodies in the province selects between five and eight workers for the different courses – sommelier training, project management, wine-making, barrel management and maintenance, and cheese-making.

These workers then receive training and skills exchange at the CFPPA in Beaune over several weeks, depending on the course.

As part of the programme, and perhaps the most exciting, is the time workers spend with French host families on small family-owned wine estates across Burgundy. It is during this time that they really experience French living, with its culture so strongly grounded in food and wine.

In 2006 the programme introduced a reciprocal component with 10 French students from the CFPPA coming to work and learn on wine farms in the Western Cape each year.

And, every alternate year, a rugby team from Elsenburg visits the CFPPA and vice versa.

But, says Marius Paulse, chief director of structural agricultural training at the Elsenburg college, the focus of the project remains on capacity-building of workers in the wine industry, especially for the unskilled orchard or cellar worker.

New perspective

It’s the stories of change taking place in the lives of beneficiaries and their hosts which really lies at the heart of the exchange programme’s success, says CFPPA project manager Florence Zito.

Paulse agrees, adding that he has seen remarkable change taking place among participants. Workers return from France with a completely new perspective on viticulture and oenology, but more importantly, often with a profoundly different view on life and their own personal abilities and ambitions.

Moira van der Merwe is one such a success story. She started out as an ordinary cleaner and labourer in the Cape vineyards and was selected to participate in the programme.

Van der Merwe visited Burgundy twice, first completing a technical course of five weeks at the CFPPA and then spending a further three weeks with a host family during the wine-making period.

After this training, she was promoted from the vineyard to the tasting room, resulting in her attending a second full-time sommelier course to help her specialise in her new job.

Today she is an assistant in the wine-tasting room at Bilton Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch wine region.

Another example is Felicity Sheloba: with very little formal schooling, Sheloba progressed from tea-maker and cleaner to assistant wine-maker at the Company of Wine People, also based in Stellenbosch, after receiving training in France.

‘Exchange of life’

Zito admits that her own life has been changed as a result of the project, and that many of the French host families feel the same, despite an initial reluctance on their part to be involved with the project.

But this same group of people has continued to receive South African workers year after year because they have found that the programme has added so much value to their own lives.

“Something changed inside them,” Zito says.

She adds: “Above all this programme is a human exchange. Everybody grows, everybody has become richer as a result of this programme, not just the beneficiaries.”

Former South African rugby legend and now renowned wine-maker Jan Boland Coetzee, owner of Vriesenhof Vineyards in Stellenbosch, says two of his workers attended a course in Burgundy and he noticed a remarkable change on their return.

In essence, the programme is about more than just an exchange of skills in viticulture and oenology, Zito feels.

“It is an exchange of life. It is a profoundly human story that has touched the lives of everybody who has had dealings with it.”

Proudly French

Zito is proud of the Burgundy region and its wonderful “living” culture of wine and food. She laughingly admits that she finds it horrifying that South Africa refers to viticulture and oenology as the wine industry.

“Industry is for cars. Industry is a word for machines,” she says.

“We have some people who came to do the courses who have never tasted wine, even if they work in the cellars or the vineyards for a very long time. They didn’t know anything about the fine art of wine, they thought about wine just as alcohol,” she says.

For the French, wine is not an industry and in Burgundy, wine is not alcohol, she stresses. With a history of wine-making stretching back 2 000 years, Burgundy wines are a living story of culture and family heritage grounded in everyday life.

“Wine in Burgundy is culture, it is heritage, it is style of life, it is gastronomy, it is the link between people, it is love, yes it is pleasure, friendship: this is wine.”

And it is this essence that the South African workers discover when they visit France.

Exchange to continue

Although the cost of the programme poses many challenges for the budget of the Western Cape Agricultural Department, positive change in people’s lives is one of the determining factors which has convinced the provincial government to continue with the programme, Paulse says.

“We are therefore committed to continue and see the programme grow.”

The same sentiment is expressed by the French counterparts. The success of the project so far has convinced the politicians that the programme should continue, says Zito.

She foresees, however, that the programme will need to adapt to the changing needs and challenges of the target beneficiaries, but that no matter the form it takes in future, the exchange of skills and the story of wine will continue between South Africa and Burgundy.

“The society in South Africa has changed a lot, so has the demand, therefore this programme will be adapted. The need is not the same. The questions are not the same. So we must adapt the partnership to the needs of the society,” Zito adds.

Inspired by the success of the South African exchange programme, Burgundy and the region of Maule in Chile initiated a similar programme in 2010.

The human story behind the project

In July 2011 South Africa and France will celebrate its 10 years of working together to empower unskilled workers in the Western Cape wine industry with the publication of a book.

The book will first be launched in the Western Cape “as a testimony to what we, as humans, can do when we all work together for the common good,” Zito says.

“With this book and with the pictures we hope that it will also tell the human story behind the project because it is such a noble story.”

The initial launch takes place from 18 to 22 July, before the book’s unveiling later in the year in Burgundy. It will be published in English and French.

Read more: http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2367%3Awine-250511&catid=43%3Aculturenews&Itemid=112#ixzz1NvowNA1j

James Bond sips Cuvée Clive

James Bond sips Cuvée Clive.

James Bond has ‘Carte Blanche’ in Cape Town (and Winelands)! 007 shaken and stirred!

James Bond has ‘Carte Blanche’ in Cape Town (and Winelands)! 007 shaken and stirred!.

Classic entertainment… with a hilarious touch of the Cape!

Bond to stay in Cape Town with Joumasepussy, The Living DA Lights

Posted by http://www.hayibo.com/bond-to-stay-in-cape-town-with-joumasepussy-the-living-da-lights/

 

CAPE TOWN. The estate of James Bond author Ian Fleming has confirmed that the latest Bond novel, named Carte Blanche and set in Cape Town, is just the first of many future Bond novels to be set in the South African city. According to a spokesman, next year will see the publication of Joumasepussy, followed in 2013 by The Man With The Golden Gums, featuring a toothless super-villain called Tikkop.

Carte Blanche was launched on Friday at a lavish event in Cape Town attended by all 27 of South Africa’s fiction readers.

The launch also briefly sparked a sensation in Derek Watts’ home as the M-Net anchorman assumed he would be playing the super-spy in the film version.

However, the excitement reached fever-pitch as publisher Paige Turner revealed that the Mother City would be the setting for at least five future Bond adventures.

She said that Joumasepussy and The Man With The Golden Gums would herald in a “brave new world of sun, sea, sex and samoosas” for the super-spy.

“We’re especially excited about the character of Tikkop with his collection of Faberge tik-lollies,” she said. “And Letha Punani, the busty deaf-mute meerkat-whisperer, is one of the sexiest femme fatales the series has ever seen.”

But, she said, readers could expect “some changes” to established Bond tropes.

“For starters he won’t be driving an Aston Martin while he’s in Cape Town,” she explained. “Mainly because driving an Aston Martin in Cape Town advertises the fact that you have a microscopic penis and weren’t hugged enough when you were a baby.”

Instead, she said, he would be driving an iconic Cape Town car: a 1996 Toyota Conquest with mags, spoiler, air-intake, blue LED lights under the doors, and the legend “GESKUD MA’ NIE GEWURRIE” painted down the side.

Turner also revealed that Bond’s tough-as-nails boss, M, was being replaced with a Capetonian.

“She’s called H, she works in local government, and she’s also a gruff, powerful ball-breaker. Her talents are international diplomacy and singing ‘Koekie Loekie Met Die Stywe Broekie’.”

However, she said, such changes would not detract from “classic Bond” storylines in the future.

Turner confirmed that Fleming’s 1958 classic, Dr No, would be updated as Nay, Doktor!, a sizzling medical thriller in which Bond has to infiltrate Groote Schuur hospital and convince a TB patient to finish her medication regime before her super-sputum unleashes a mega-pandemic.

You Only Indicate Twice will see Bond trying to survive a short drive to the corner cafe, while Cape Town politics become the centre of the gripping election thriller, The Living DA Lights.

Finally, said Turner, fans could look forward to a shattered Bond living under a bridge and hopelessly addicted to marijuana in An Entjie of Solace.

“James needs to pick up the pieces of his life and fight his toughest challenge yet: the diabolical Stinkvinger, a taxi owner who flings his rivals into a tank full of genetically mutated killer snoek.”

‘Sensational’ or Just ‘Bad’? On 2010 Pavie, Two Critics Disagree

By ERIC ASIMOV / NYT     May 24, 2011, 12:37 pm

One wine. One vintage. Two critics. Two reviews that couldn’t possibly be more different.

One of the more intriguing things about wine is how two knowledgeable critics can have such diametrically opposing views of a single bottle of wine. In this case, it’s the 2010 Château Pavie, a St.-Émilion that is no stranger to controversy. The critics are Robert M. Parker Jr. of The Wine Advocate, long established as the most influential wine writer in the world among Bordeaux fans, and John Gilman of View From the Cellar, a younger writer whose web-only publication is one of the many new critical voices being heard in the Internet age.

Now, differences of opinion are one thing. But the degree of disparity in this case is shocking.

Since Pavie was acquired by Gérard Perse in 1998, it has been known for its powerful, ripe, concentrated style of wine. Year after year, Robert Parker has been a huge supporter, and the 2010 is no exception.

“Most Pavies have possessed off-the-charts richness, and the 2010 is no different,’’ he wrote in The Wine Advocate. “It also reveals an opaque purple color, abundant notes of roasted coffee, blackberries, cassis, full-bodied power and sensational density, texture and length.’’

Mr. Parker recommended cellaring the wine for 7 to 10 years, and predicted it would keep for 30 or 40 years. Like many critics rating barrel samples, he hedges his bets slightly by offering a range rather than a precise score, giving the 2010 Pavie a 95 to 98-plus. While it’s hard to imagine a better rating than that, Mr. Parker said nonetheless that he ranked the ’10 Pavie slightly behind the 2000, the 2005 and the 2009.

In striking contrast, Mr. Gilman had very little good to say about the 2010 Pavie.

“To my palate, no wine better exemplifies how bad a wine could be made in the 2010 vintage than Pavie,’’ he wrote. “The 2010 Pavie is absurdly overripe, unpleasant to taste and patently out of balance. The liqueur-like nose offers up a high-octane cocktail of kirsch, framboise, smoke, mocha and a boatload of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, huge and very overripe and pruney, with zero focus or delineation, a blur of alcohol, and the most profoundly astringent, searing and brutally tannic finish that I have ever tasted.’’

In closing, Mr. Gilman called the wine “the biggest train wreck of the vintage,’’ and offered a rating of 47 to 52-plus, which I suppose is about as reassuring as an F-plus is to a student.

How to account for the disparity? It’s crucial to realize that when both critics tasted the wine this spring, it was still aging in barrels. The wine will not even be blended and bottled until next year. It’s entirely possible that, in tasting barrel samples, the two critics were given two different components of what ultimately will be the final Pavie blend.

This is one of the pitfalls of Bordeaux en Primeur, the annual ritual of barrel tasting, and the annual race by critics to issue their sweeping pronouncements about the vintage. Critics as prominent as Jancis Robinson and Guy Woodward, the editor of Decanter, a British wine periodical, have raised questions about the utility of these early tastings, suggesting they are far more beneficial for the Bordeaux wine trade than they are for consumers. But they both have continued to write up the barrel tastings.

“So why do we devote such space to our verdicts?” Mr. Woodward asked in an editorial in the June issue, which put Bordeaux’s 2010 vintage on the cover. “The en primeur system is well established. Like it or not, the wines will go on sale in the coming weeks – at prices that may or may not be influenced by the reaction of the trade or press. We want our reader to have as much information to hand as possible when they come to make their buying decisions.’’

Given the caveats, it seems like a weak rationalization for maintaining the status quo. Either way, collectors and retailers have a lot at stake in the critical pronouncements, since they are meaningful economically at the very least.

Since I do not attend the En Primeur tastings, I have not tried the 2010 Pavie or any other wines of the vintage. To help understand why the two appraisals were so divergent, I asked both Mr. Parker and Mr. Gilman for their thoughts. Mr. Parker said he had no comment beyond what he wrote in his review, and Mr. Gilman said he had not read Mr. Parker’s review and therefore was not sure how accurately he could reflect on the differences of opinion.

But clearly, these two critics are approaching the wine from very different universes. Mr. Gilman views Bordeaux from a classic perspective and sees historic and cultural reasons for adhering to styles that would have been understood several generations ago. Indeed, as he said to me in an e-mail: “Its very alcoholic, harshly tannic and overripe style is emphatically not what I think of as my paradigm for well-made claret.’’

Mr. Parker, by contrast, views wine less from a historical and cultural perspective and more from a hedonistic one. What’s in the glass, and the pleasure it offers, is what counts, not whether it fulfills a different set of expectations. Of course, if one feels as Mr. Gilman does, a wine that deviates from the norm like Pavie can’t possibly offer much pleasure.

Judging a more classically styled wine, like the 2010 Trotanoy, brings the two critics closer together. Mr. Gilman gave it a 94-plus, and Mr. Parker rated it 93 to 95-plus.

Does Mr. Parker simply have a wider appetite for stylistic diversity than Mr. Gilman? Or does Mr. Gilman have a more discerning palate?

Other critics who tasted the wine seemed inclined toward Mr. Parker’s view. Ian D’Agata of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar rated the 2010 Pavie 93 to 96 points, while Jancis Robinson, who jousted publicly with Mr. Parker over the 2003 Pavie, is more generous toward the 2010.

“Strictly for modernists,’’ she writes, but gives it a 17 on the British 20-point scale. It should be noted that 17, as she defines it, represents “superior,’’ while a 19 would be “a humdinger.’’

11 Readers’ Comments

1. HVJ  NY State May 25th, 2011 4:33 pm

Someone should ask Jay Stuart Miller, also a wine critic, to arbitrate the dispute. He knows good wine from bad, although not which is which.

2. Carl  Brooklyn May 25th, 2011 4:34 pm

Ok. So first, Eric, are you on the Garagiste mailing list too or did you and Jon just read the criticism the same day? Further. I couldnt agree with Mr. Gilman more about the merits (or lack there of) of Pavie in general, however, I think it is important to consider one thing:
Mr. Parker has not been rating wine for 40 years so how is he inclined to know that a wine of ‘this style’ will last that long? The style of that wine we’re speaking of did not even exist until ’85 with Lynch Bages (again credit to JR for pointing that out in his newsletter) and wasnt in full bloom until Tertre Roteboeuf/Valandraud/Pavie in the late 90’s. Mr. Gilman is looking at wine from a historical perspective with tangible, tasty results. I’ve been fortunate enough to taste 70 Cheval Blanc, Mission Haut Brion and Margaux this year (at 40 plus) and they were all brilliant.
We’ve seen huge scores for 97 Cali Cabs that are already falling apart and they are not yet 15 years old (Araujo Eisele for example). Will 2010 Bordeaux last that long? I hope it will last 40 years as it is the year my son was born and he will own his fare share, but I’ll certainly hedge my bets and buy ‘traditional’ Bordeaux like Langoa-Barton and Lagrange. It’s curious, Vintage Port lasts 40 years, a taste Gerard Perse must surely love, but to me, I’ve had plenty of ’77’s this year with waning fruit, plenty of alcoholic burn and little else even though that was a ‘Vintage of the Century’ or whatever wine pundits push on us.

3. The Sediment Blog London May 25th, 2011 4:37 pm

Ahem – just to say, from this side of the Pond, that actually 19 or 20 points on the British scale (which Jancis Robinson uses) represent “truly exceptional”. The description “a humdinger” applies to 17.5 through 18. (Although the phrase “humdinger” is rarely heard at tables where such wine is drunk…) http://sedimentblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/chateau-tour-de-barbareau.html

4. John Binkley  North Carolina May 25th, 2011 4:38 pm

Once again, Mr. Parker’s palate is showing. Not only does he like huge, dense, blockbuster wines that are totally lacking balance, failing miserably on the finesse and elegance scale, his influence (the myth of numeric rankings that he pioneered) is so strong that many winemakers make wine specifically to his taste, so as to achieve high ratings from him and bring premium prices from the hoards of buyers who choose not to do their homework but simply follow those numeric scores like lemmings going over a cliff.

I’m glad to see that new critics such as Mr. Gilman, who seem to appreciate elegance and finesse, are coming along. Hopefully Parker’s ratings will finally be exposed for what they are, and the damage that has been done to the great wines of Bordeaux and elsewhere will be corrected.

5. Richard Reeves Tampa, FL May 25th, 2011 4:38 pm

It could be added that British wine columnist, Stephen Spurrier, writing in Decanter, has come down forcibly on the side of what he calls ‘typicity,’ citing wines like Pavie, with their ‘Port-like’ richness and sweetness and high alcohol content, as utterly lacking in the qualities that have historically defined what Bordeaux is. I guess Parker would argue that this character, or typicity, is a moving target and susceptible to change. Modern tastes are different from those of 40 or 140 years ago, just as fashions are different. At any rate, it’s an interesting (and endless) debate in the wine world…

6. Pedro Philadelphia, Pa May 25th, 2011 4:39 pm

Reading both reviews, it seems to me clear that they are describing the same wine – the descriptors are extremely similar, it is the judgments that are different. Personally, I don’t find this that hard to understand: I *am* (or have been) both men. The wine lover I was twenty years ago would have reacted to the Pavie much like Sir Bob did. Today… Well, today, I’d likely enjoy a Barbaresco with Mr. Gilman, given Bordeaux prices. But you get the point.

7. jeff  nyc May 25th, 2011  9:32 pm

Carl, what ports have you’ve had from 1977? Considering that ports are meant to be longer agers, I don’t recall any major publication declaring the 1977 as the vintage of the century. The 1908/12/48/55/63/66/70/94 come to mind before the 77 ever will.
There is also a bevy of 77s as it was a huge general declaration, this was certainly a drink earlier vintage. The fonseca 77 is in perfect drinking window now and represents what a mature port should be. Or are you still looking for that thick black purple juice you’re knocking in the pavie?
Even so, the smith woodhouse 77, the gould campbell 77, the quarles harris 77 all maintain a fantastic opaque color even after 40 years. The niepoort, fonseca, croft all have a perfectly clear red hue with very little signs of bricking.
You want a bevy of fruit? The croft 1945 almost has no peers for a 65 year old wine.
Regarding the burn, are you just not decanting the wines long enough? Wine makers from most of the major houses typically will recommend even a 30 minute open air decant for the alcohol to blow off. I mean, it has been sitting in bottle for over 40 years.
I don’t disagree with your other statements, but I find your port statement to be lacking with details.

8. Marco San Francisco, CA May 25th, 2011 9:34 pm

As a reformed ex-Parkerite (~10 years of subscribing to Wine Advocate and drinker of his Kool-aid and similarly-raved-upon wines), I have to applaud Mr. Gilman’s willingness to swim against the current, as it were. I’ve revisited many of the wines in my cellar that carried outsized Parker scores years ago, and find that these “20-30 year wines” often more closely resemble 750ml bottles of Robitussin now. Bob Parker likes what he likes, style-wise, and he’s certainly been consistent about it over the years – but I find it hard to believe that he can genuinely derive the same pleasure from some of these steroidal monsters masquerading as wine that he did when tasting upon release or en primeur.

I let my WA subscription lapse a few years ago, and apart from the fact that this deprives me of access to the German riesling reviews of David Schildknecht (whose palate I heartily respect, and whose notes I enjoy reading as much as anyone’s aside from Terry Theise), I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

9. vimpressionniste France May 25th, 2011 11:00 pm

I haven’t tried ’10 Pavie, but reading both Parker and Gilman’s reviews, I am clearly reminded me of some overly jammy, oaked wines.. too clearly perhaps as I’m starting to feel slightly nautious.

Whether it’s from Bordeaux, or typically riper regions like the Cotes du Rhone or Priorat, which are *supposed* to taste like that, these reds probably appeal to certain palates, while making others sick. Pure and simple. I don’t think it’s fair to always lay the blame on *traditionalists* and their expectations. They can be hedonists too (they just splurge on oysters rather than chocolate cake)

10. James Swann London May 26th, 2011 5:26 pm

I thought it may be of interest to compare British wine writer Jancis Robinson MW’s notes on Pavie 2010 (source jancisrobinson.com)

17/20
Very dark crimson. Much more lift and savour than its stablemates. Much more obvious fruit than the rest of the Perse stable so it can stand up to all that late picking and structure that bit more, though I’d love to know how it would have tasted if picked a week or two earlier. Still pretty demanding in terms of all those painfully dry minerals on the finish. But it has been miraculously sculpted so that it has a certain smoothness on the mid palate, even if it dries out terribly on the end. Strictly for modernists, with a hint of dark chocolate powder. Very much a long distance runner.  James Swann http://www.dittonwinetraders.co.uk/blog/

11. Kelman Cohen, MD Richmond, Virginia May 30th, 2011 2:45 pm

Perhaps the difference in reviews of Pavie by Parker and Gilman, the answer may be quite simple. TThe ability to discern changes in smell and taste are diminished with age. This is a physiologic fact and as a 76 year old enophile I sadly note this loss of sensitivity in my own palate. How wonderful it would be to subject these experts to smell and taste testing and see where they stand. Perhaps this should be done to all “expert ” tasters

Google unveils the ‘mobile wallet’

Google unveils the ‘mobile wallet’

Inaugural Feast of SA Shiraz & Charcuterie 2011 at Hartenberg Wine Estate

4 June 2011

12 – 5pm

Hartenberg Estate

R150 pp includes a Glass & Tastings

Wine Participants: Boekenhoutskloof, De Trafford, Eagles Nest, Hartenberg, Haskell, La Motte, Kleinood, Luddite, Raka, Rust en Vrede, Nico van der Merwe Wines.

Charcuterie Participants: Bread & Wine, The Charcuterie, Societi Bistro, Lucas Jamon

Bread Producers: Café Des Arts,   De Oude Bank Bakkerij, La Motte, Bread & Wine

Cheese Producers: Le Petite France, Anura Cheeses, Dalewood Fromage, Fromage de France, Benguela Trading and more

 Olive Producers: Blue Sky Organics, Chrisnas Olives, Kleinood

 

For more info:

Darielle 084 207 3820

info@dnaevents.co.za

www.webtickets.co.za