Cape Winemakers Guild takes on three new Protégés for 2012

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a mentorship initiative which gives talented graduates the rare opportunity to work side by side with some of the country’s finest winemakers, now boasts a total of six protégés after three new candidates were recruited into the programme this year.

The Guild’s three new protégés are Heinrich Kulsen and Chandré Petersen, hailing from Paarl in the Western Cape and Philani Shongwe from Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal.

Heinrich Kulsen who completed his degree in Cellar Technology at Elsenburg last year, joins Ernie Els under the mentorship of Louis Strydom. Thrilled to become a protégé Heinrich said: “It is an absolute privilege to be a part of the most noble wine organisation in the country.”

Completing her degree in Viticulture and Oenology also at Elsenburg, Chandré Petersen will be put through her paces under the watchful eye of winemaker Bernhard Veller at Nitida. With dreams of becoming a phenomenal winemaker, Chandré says: “I believe in building a solid practical and theoretical foundation to reach my goals and believe the Protégé programme will allow me to hone my skills and put into practice the theoretical background I have gained so far.”

Philani Shongwe, a proud graduate in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Stellenbosch, shares Heinrich and Chandré’s sentiments at being selected as a protégé. “Completing this internship successfully is like gaining a treasure that no one can take away from me,” says Philani, interning at Paul Cluver where he will be learning his craft from winemaker Andries Burger.

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 under the auspices of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Trust with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence.

Guild members are responsible for mentoring their Protégés for a minimum of six months and providing them with essential hands-on skills and experience.

For more information on the Guild, contact Tel: 021-852 0408 or send an email to Students interested in applying for the Protégé Programme can visit the Guild’s website at

Issued by: GC Communications Contact: Gudrun Clark
Tel: +27 +21-462 0520 Email:

On behalf of: Cape Winemakers Guild Contact: Kate Jonker
Tel: +27 +21-852 0408 E-mail:


The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme

The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme was launched in 2006 with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry through cultivating and nurturing winemakers from previously disadvantaged groups to become winemakers of excellence. It is the long-term vision that some of these Protégés could in time be invited to become members of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

Through the Protégé Programme passionate young winemakers have the opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge under the guidance of some of the country’s top winemakers. The Protégé Programme comprises a 3 year internship and only final third and fourth year students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who have studied Viticulture and Oenology at either the University of Stellenbosch or Elsenburg Agricultural College, can apply for the Programme.

With the assistance of AGRI-Seta, the Guild also offers bursaries to cover the study fees of final-year winemaking students at Elsenburg and Stellenbosch University.

Those wanting to apply to become a CWG Protégé or apply for a final year bursary, should contact Protégé Programme Facilitator, Magda Vorster, on

Objectives of the Protégé Programme
•To identify young winemakers with potential for excellence through a detailed selection process.
•To inspire young winemakers to excellence through involvement with Guild functions and other industry events.
•To offer an opportunity to young winemakers to learn and acquire skills through working for, working alongside and being mentored by Guild winemakers.
•To encourage young winemakers to reach their full potential in winemaking through participating in a personal coaching programme.
•To expose the young winemakers to a wide range of wineries, wine types, roles in the winery and skills for a winemaker through a paid internship over three years.
•To prepare young winemakers of colour for a career in winemaking through facilitating interactions and networks within the industry.

Selection Criteria
•Must be from a previously disadvantaged group
•Must be enrolled for a BSc. or B. Viticulture & Oenology
•Must intend to become a winemaker
•Must be obtaining an academic aggregate of 60%
•Must be in third year or fourth year of studies
•Must have no employment contracts or obligations post graduation
•Must have an aptitude for winemaking

Selection Process
•Fill in an application form
•Submit recommendations from academic lecturers & supervisors
•Sit for a psychometric evaluation
•Panel interview
•Possible Appointment

Programme Content

During the internship, programme participants receive:
•Job security for 3 years *
•Mentoring from the best winemakers
•Coaching and life skills mentorship
•Attendance of selected Cape Winemakers Guild functions
•Industry networking opportunities
•A certificate of completion at the end of the 3 years

* Note: The first year in the programme is probationary and should the intern not meet the requirements after this initial year, he or she will be released from the programme.


The programme comprises of a 3 year paid internship.


Each internship placement is of a minimum 6 months to 1 year duration All placements are with Guild winemakers


After the 3 year period, the intern is free to find employment in the industry

Internship will only begin on successful graduation with a degree or diploma in Viticulture and Oenology.

Programme Sponsorship

The programme is funded by the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.

Nedbank and the Cape Winemakers Guild are committed to assisting in the development of individuals from previously disadvantaged groups and provide bursary assistance for numerous high school learners.

Beautiful Bubblies from South Africa

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful Bubblies from South Africa


We’ve all heard the old saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and boy is that ever true when it comes to the subject of wine! We’ve probably met a few people who have recently started to take some interest in wines from around the world, so of course, they know everything! They’ll tell you that of course, for great Cabernet Sauvignon in California you have to go with a wine from Napa Valley or that New Zealand only makes great white wines, just to name a few concepts. Of course, neither is true, but the people that know a little bit want to show you how much they know, when in reality, they are only showing you how little they really have grasped.
No doubt, a better saying when it comes to wine would be “I’m open to some new surprises.” This was you can find some gems out there that you never knew existed or thought might not be anything special. I’ve tried to have that sort of open-minded approach in my 30 years in the industry and it’s led me to some wonderful wines, many of which don’t receive the type of attention they deserve.
What all of this is leading to are two wonderful sparkling wines from the Graham Beck winery in South Africa. I’ll admit to not trying too many South African wines in general, so when these wines were sent to me for my thoughts, I thought to myself that this would be neat, as I’ve never had any bubblies from this country. I went into this without any great expectations but after my friend Gerhard Eichelmann in Germany who has written books on Champagne told me that South Africa is “making some nice sparkling wines” and when I saw that Champagne authority Tom Stevenson had awarded the Graham Beck sparkling wines with some nice scores, I was more excited about tasting these wines.
I can happily report that the two examples I tasted, the NV Brut and the NV Brut Rosé are very impressive wines. Here are my notes:
Graham Beck NV Brut Dried pear and lemon peel aromas with a hint of graham cracker biscuits. Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration. Rich finish with very good acidity, excellent persistence and hints of buttered toast. Very good complexity and well made with good overall balance; enjoy over the next 2-3 years. This would be especially good with sea bass, grouper or poultry with a cream sauce. $18- an excellent value! Graham Beck NV Rosé Instead of my notes here, this is what is written about this wine on the winery website:
“This finely crafted creation… is destined for those who appreciate a fizz with flair. Flirtatious and fun with pin-prick tiny bubbles that burst gently and exhilaratingly on your tongue, it’s a tingle no celebration or sunset should be without.” How can I top that?
I found the Rosé, a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, to also be well balanced with aromas of ripe strawberry, dried cherry and orange zest. Medium-bodied, the wine has good acidity and persistence with a clean, charming finish. I’d pair this with a wide variety of foods, from Thai or Oriental cuisine (especially with chicken or pork) to lighter game or red meats. This is nicely priced at $22.
Both of these wines are listed as “Méthode Cap Classique”, which is the classic method of sparkling wine production, where the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle, as in Champagne.
So keep that attitude of having an open mind and be receptive to new things. You may just find some wines you never knew about – like the Graham Beck sparkling wines from South Africa – and love them. That’s something the know-it-all will never have the pleasure of discovering!
There are several sources for these wines in the US. Vias Wines represents them in New York and New Jersey; Maritime Wine Trading Collective in San Francisco imports the wines, while Vintage Wines represents these products in the Chicago area.
P.S. I see on the website that there are other Graham Beck sparkling wines, including a vintage Blanc de Blancs, a vintage Rosé and a top vintage-dated offering called Cuvée Clive. Based on the two non-vintage wines I tasted, I hope to have the opportunity to try these wines soon!


Gorgeous by Graham Beck by Chris von Ulmenstein

Graham Beck Brut NV at Vintages

Brilliant!!! Emile on women wine judges!

Franschhoek Summer Wines – around the corner

31 March 2012

Celebrate the last few days of summer in style and head off to Leopard’s Leap Vineyards on 31 March, set in the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, for the inaugural Franschhoek Summer Wines.
Known as one of SA’s leading wine destinations, some of the valley’s top wineries will be showcasing their finest summer wines at this exclusive event.

Participating wineries:
include La Bri, Morena, Colmant, Môreson, Anthonij Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope and Terra del Capo, Franschhoek Cellars, Bellingham, Noble Hill, Leopard’s Leap, La Motte, Solms-Delta, Graham Beck, Haut Espoir and more.
Wine lovers will have the opportunity to browse at their leisure or engage with the winemakers, who would have just finished the 2012 harvest.
Relax and unwind, taking in the scenery of the valley as live entertainment ensures an unforgettable experience throughout the day.

Taking full advantage of the glorious summer days the festival will be open from 12pm until 5pm at Leopards Leap Vineyards.
Celebrity chef Liam Tomlin, who has recently launched Liam Tomlin Food at Leopard’s Leap Vineyards, and which has been receiving rave reviews, will ensure you don’t go hungry as he prepares sumptuous food to purchase whilst enjoying the day.

Liam Tomlin Food Demo’s
R110 per person per demonstration
12h00: How to make a perfect Risotto
14h00: How to make the perfect Duck Confit
16h00: How to make the perfect Pork Belly
Guests need to have an admission ticket in order to attend a demonstration

Tickets cost R180 per person which includes a tasting of all the wines on show.
Locals Special: R150 per person- these tickets have to be bought at the Franschhoek Wine Valley Offices.

Booking is essential as tickets are limited to 350 people only.

Those wishing to spend the night 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.
For more information contact Franschhoek Wine Valley events co-ordinator Darielle Robertson on
021 876 2861 or

Britain Still Consumes Most Champagne

Original Posting:

Forget the recession for just one moment. France is selling ever more Champagne around the world – and out front in the export stakes by a wide margin is still Great Britain.

Of the 141.3 million bottles that crossed the French border last year, 34.5 million bottles headed to the UK, which means for the past 16 years this country has consistently remained the number one Champagne market outside France – 78 per cent ahead of nearest rival the United States.

‘It’s a love story, it really is,’ comments UK Champagne Bureau Director Francoise Peretti. ‘Never mind the mood of austerity. Champagne shipments for 2011 closed within a whisker of the volume for 2010 – and that’s remarkable in the current economic climate.’

With big festive events to come this year – Olympics, Paralympics and Diamond Jubilee – the prospects for 2012 look even better. ‘Champagne is forever Britain’s first choice for celebration, and we have a great deal of celebrating to do.’

Countries all around the world are showing an ever-larger appetite for Champagne. In a year when Champagne exports as a whole rose by seven per cent, shipments to the US are up by 14.4 per cent, shipments to Japan are up by 6.7 per cent, and even Australia shows no sign of their thirst abating with Champagne sales Down Under up by a huge 32 per cent.

Meanwhile, Champagne volumes continue to define the ever-shifting league table of emerging economies. Shipments to India are up by 58 per cent, Malaysia up by 44 per cent. Volume is up by 31 per cent in South Korea, 20 per cent in Singapore and 15 per cent in Hong Kong.

That giant of the new world order China increased shipments by 19 per cent, to 1.3 million bottles. Russia saw an increase of 24 per cent, taking volumes to the same level as China’s.

None however are anywhere near catching up with the volume of Champagne shipped to Britain in 2011. This will be celebrated on March 14th, when leading Champagne figures descend on London to attend the Champagne Bureau’s trade and media annual tasting at Banqueting House. 79 brands will showcase 233 cuvées with vintages ranging from 1998 – 2007, uncorking over 6,000 bottles; appropriately, the largest Champagne event in Europe, for the largest Champagne export market.



Cap Classique may be regarded as glamorous, festive, or the choice of the opulent, but now the producers of Cap Classique have also shown their social responsibility commitment by donating towards the restoration of self-worth of rural children.
With the inaugural Investec Joburg Bubbly Festival in 2011 the Cap Classique Association decided that all profits made would be donated towards a project dubbed 1000 Sparkling Faces. The name chosen is fitting as the aim is to change the way children, often from challenging backgrounds, look at themselves, to inspire them to live beyond their circumstances, and to make their faces sparkle again.

Children from farms and townships in the winelands of the Robertson valley are collected with buses for more than twenty events per year. At these events they receive food and drink, fleece jackets in winter, and are entertained with games, puppet shows, dancing, lucky draws, singing, décor and drama. The project is run by more than forty volunteers of King’s Church International Robertson ultimately directed by Philip Jonker, one of the Cap Classique Members.
“Although we can’t change everyone’s circumstance, we can change the way they value themselves, inspire them to dream and establish the knowledge that each child is special” – Philip Jonker from Weltevrede Wine Estate.

The 1000 Sparkling Faces donation for the first year is R60 000.00. This is over and above the social responsibility commitments made by individual producers of Cap Classique. The current members of the Cap Classique Association are:
Allee Bleue Wines Groot Constantia Quoin Rock Winery
Ambeloui Wine Cellar Groote Post Vineyards Robertson Winery
Anura Hazendal Wine Estate Ross Gower Wines
Avondale Wines High Constantia Saltare
Avontuur Houtbay Vineyards Saronsberg Cellar
Bon Courage Klein Constantia Silverthorn Wines
Boschendal Klein Optenhorst Simonsig
Bramon Wines KWV Steenberg Vineyards
Buitenverwachting La Chaumiere Sterhuis
Cederberg Private Cellar La Motte Tanzanite Wines
Chabivin Champagne & MCC House Laborie Estate (including KWV) Teddy Hall Wines
Charles Fox L’Avenir (Laroche) The Company of Wine People
Chevallerie Family Trust Le Lude Wines The House of JC le Roux
Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne Longridge Winery The House of Krone
Constantia Uitsig Lourensford Winery Topiary Wines
Darling Cellars Mariëtte Cap Classique Van Loveren Vineyards
De Grendel Wines Meerendal Veraison
De Wetshof Mooiplaas Landgoed Viljoensdrift Wines
Dieu Donné Morena at Franschhoek Pass Winery Villiera Wines
Domaine des Dieux Môreson Waverley Hills Organic Wine
Du Preez Estate Morgenhof Weltevrede Etsate
Eikendal Vineyards Muratie Estate Wildekrans Estate
Francois la Garde My Wyn Wonderfontein Estate
Genevieve MCC Namaqua Wines Zorgvliet Wines
GM & Ahrens Oenosense Consulting
Graham Beck Wines Pierre Jourdan at Cabrière

Next time you enjoy a bottle of Cap Classique, you are not only guaranteed of a quality commitment of the producers of Cap Classique, but also that amongst more than a thousand others a child’s life may be changed.

Addition information
The Cap Classique Producers Association (CCPA) was established in 1992 by a group of like-minded producers who share a passion for bottle-fermented sparkling wines, made according to the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise). Their version is to promote South Africa’s premium Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) wines, as well as the common interests of the producers. They also intend to establish MCC as a generic term to describe these wines, ensuring that it is recognized both locally and in the international marketplace.
The Association is constantly striving to improve the quality standards of all the members’ wines made according to this classic bottle-fermentation method. Significantly, all the serious producers of Cap Classique are members of the Association and they share a common objective of cultural and educational upliftment of the community.
Grapes are selected from a diversity of regions in the Cape, resulting in highly individual styles. Only specific white and red grape varieties are used to ensure delicate fruit and rich complexity. Grape Selection in the vineyards ensures that only perfectly healthy grapes are handpicked and brought to the cellar.
Whole bunch pressing is at the heart of the winemaking process, with only the first pressing, our cuveé, used to make the various base wines destined to be called Cap Classique. Individual base wines and blends are tasted annually by the Association’s own members to ensure that the final wine is of a high quality.
Once bottled, the bottles ferment and mature horizontally in cool, dark cellars for a minimum of twelve months. There are individual members who ensure much longer yeast contact time, depending on the style and vintage. After riddling and disgorging, Cap Classique wines are left to mature on the cork for some time, to ensure integration and balance. This commitment to quality is evident in your glass every time a Cap Classique cork is popped.

Cap Classique Festivals for 2012
• Cap Classique KZN Bubbly Cellebration in Durban and Midlands – 27 & 28 April 2012
• Joburg Bubbly Festival, a Celebration of Cap Classique and Champagne Johannesburg – 17th & 18th August (TBC)
• Magic of Bubbles – Franschhoek 30th November and 1st & 2nd December

Cap Classique Association Contact details
Chair person: Pieter Ferreira
Tel +27 21 865-2002
Fax +27 21 865-2002


MARCH 2012

Nobu and Graham Beck Wines – wine, dine, sublime!

Wine, Dine, Sublime
Thursday 3rd May 2012

Nobu Restaurant


World renowned Nobu Restaurant in collaboration with the legendary Graham Beck Wine Estate invites you to a rare pairing of sublime Japanese cuisine and South Africa’s Finest Methode Cap Classique.

The dinner begins with the Graham Beck Brut pre drink, followed by an expertly paired six course meal. We begin with the palate teasing Scallop Tiradito, which tastes superb with the exclusive Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005.

As a special treat wine maker Pieter Ferreira has released the rare Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc 1993, this is to be paired with the mouth watering East Coast Sole.

To end the evening in style, the iconic Graham Beck Cuvee Clive 2005 will be served alongside the Chicken Brown Rice Anti Cucho Miso which was created exclusively for this dinner.

The evening promises to be a memorable event, one to outclass any others of its kind.

Arrival Drink
Graham Beck Brut NV


Scallop Tiradito

Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005


Baby Spinach Salad with Lobster

Graham Beck Blanc De Blanc 2008


Rock Shrimp Tempura with Jalapeno Dressing

Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc 1993


East Coast Sole with Chilli Salsa

Graham Beck Brut Rose 2008


Chicken with Brown Rice and Anti Cucho Miso

Graham Beck Cuvee Clive 2005


Suntory Whisky Cappuccino

Graham Beck “Bliss’ Demi Sec