Bubbles and harp paired for Graham Beck dinner at Le Canard Restaurant

Le Canard Restaurant                05/30/2012 15:43:30               

An exclusive “dégustation” dinner matched to bubbles created by Pieter Feirrera of Graham Beck Estate is to be hosted by Sandton’s Le Canard.
Cellar Master and creator of exceptional wines, Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira, will host an evening of bubbles!
A six course “dégustation” (or tasting) menu will be created and paired exclusively to the Methode Cap Classiques created by Graham Beck Estate. Although the actual menu will only be released on the day, dishes will include the more traditional “pairing” items including crayfish, truffle, girolles and berries. In keeping with epicurean fancies, some unusual “contrasting” items will be enjoyed too.
“The quality and huge range of Graham Beck bubbles offer the most wonderful palette of taste colours and differences,” says Freda Appelbaum, Le Canard’s Chef Patron. “To create a menu with Pieter’s creations is challenging, always sophisticated and, above all, fun. The cheese course, for example, with five differing tastes, will spell out BLISS, the demi-sec that will be served.”
A specially prepared “tasting board” listing the varietals for the evening is to be presented to each guest. This is with the compliments of Graham Beck Winery.
Other wines for the dinner will include the new Graham Beck Zero 2005. “Its uber dry and, quite simply, superb! Many years of passion and, wow! avant garde and a benchmark in bubbles!” enthuses Chet Diepraam of Le Canard. He gets very excited when mentioning The Cuvee Clive 2005. “To present a prestige cuvee of this quality, with its creator, is a pleasure. It is not easily available, and could quite easily knock some fancy French bubbles off the table.”
Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira joined the Graham Beck winery in 1990, and has never failed to create art in a bottle. He has collected many awards and loyal fans over the years, and his bubbles have partnered Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Chet adds, “Ja ja ja, Pieter is also quite the raconteur. Expect a great party!”
Added to the evening delights is harpist and musician extraordinaire Amarillie Ackermann, who will be performing light classical and jazz standards throughout the evening, with some music choices themed and arranged to the event.
“Harp and bubbles are synonymous with celestial pleasures, so Amarillie and her magic will help create the perfect ambience.” Chet goes on to say that there will also be a short, yet formal, concert at the dinner. “One must showcase fantastic talent whenever one has the opportunity.”
Space is strictly limited. This exclusive event happens on Thursday 21 June at 7pm. Tickets for the dinner are an all-inclusive R680 per person, and can be booked with Le Canard on 011 884 4597 or lecanard@icon.co.za
All enquiries: Anneke van Rooyen National Sales and Marketing, Graham Beck Wines anneke@grahambeckwines.co.za
Chet Diepraam Le Canard lecanard@icon.co.za
Related Venue:

Le Canard Restaurant, 163 Rivonia Road Morningside Sandton Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa

Drinks Media Wire – Graham Beck Wines wins top ten placements in leading South African categories#.T8coFSdsPGU.twitter

Drinks Media Wire – Graham Beck Wines wins top ten placements in leading South African categories#.T8coFSdsPGU.twitter.

CWG celebrates 30 years of winemaking excellence

30 May 2012  by Cape Winemakers Guild
Innovation, benchmarking and the sharing of knowledge spanning three decades of winemaking excellence, is the proud accomplishment of the Cape Winemakers Guild, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

The Guild, an association of some of the finest winemakers recognised for their high standards of craftsmanship, has evolved over the past 30 years into a body of 45 members who jointly represent the pinnacle of South African wine achievement. All experts in their respective fields, Guild members have played a significant role in the development of the South African wine industry. From the introduction of small oak barrels, the making of champion port-style wines, the establishment of Méthode Cap Classique and the creation of Bordeaux-style and above all, Cape blends, to the opening up of new, cooler wine regions, improvements in plant material and the introduction of sustainable farming and environmentally responsible wines, Guild members have always been at the forefront of innovation.
It all began on 24 August 1982 when eight enthusiastic winemakers with a singular vision got together in the home of the Guild’s founding chairman, Billy Hofmeyr, at Welgemeend in Paarl to establish the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild. A ground-breaking association of independent winemakers, the Guild had one objective in mind – to pool their resources and knowledge in order to craft great South African wines that would stand out amongst the best in the world. Five of the founding members, Kevin Arnold, Jan Boland Coetzee, Etienne le Riche, Peter Finlayson and Braam van Velden remain active members of the Guild today, the others being Billy Hofmeyr, Walter Finlayson and Achim von Arnim. Professor Joel van Wyk, who attended the first meeting as an invited guest, became the Guild’s first honorary life member. From the onset, knowledge sharing and benchmarking was the major focus of the Guild and members would taste wines from around the world and compare them to their own wines. 
At the time of the Guild’s establishment, the wine industry was dominated by the large conglomerates, KWV, Stellenbosch Farmers Winery and Gilbeys and South Africa was immersed in a period of isolation and sanctions. Kevin Arnold, appointed secretary at the Guild’s first formal meeting, recalls that during that time, few wines were exported and South African wines did not enjoy international acclaim. Imported wines were also hard to come by and only a select few had the privilege of owning a private wine collection.
The establishment of the Guild gave independent winemakers a collective voice and opportunity to change the status quo. As a result stringent membership criteria were adopted restricting membership to independent winemakers who were wholly involved in the vineyards, winemaking and bottling as well as marketing their own wines themselves.
Keen to encourage exports and fill their empty containers, Safmarine became the Guild’s first sponsor, helping members to ship their wines to the United Kingdom through the London based marketing company, Southern Hemisphere Wines. Guild wines were even showcased at the London Trade Fair during the early years. At the 1990 International Wine and Spirit Competition, eight Guild wines were awarded gold medals, the highest number attained by any one South African organisation participating in this prestigious competition at the time. In addition, the Guild brought home the Packaging Trophy for its Auction wine label.
Cape Winemakers Guild Auction
The first Guild Auction took place in September 1985 in Rosebank, Johannesburg, in association with Sotheby’s with seasoned wine auctioneer David Molyneux-Berry who would preside over the first seven Guild Auctions all held in Johannesburg, tasked with selling the wines. Walter Finlayson, who was manager of the Guild’s first six auctions, recalls the nervous anticipation leading up to that first auction and describes the bidding process as “very exciting”. Renowned auctioneer, Stephan Welz teamed up with Sotheby’s to host the auction in 1988. Nedbank American Express sponsored the last two Johannesburg auctions  in 1990 and 1991.
Back then already the preceding auction week created a great sense of excitement, with a “family-like” atmosphere as families played golf and attended the Stephan Welz dinner, drawing great interest from winemakers and local residents. Today still, the preceding auction week creates a hive of activity with the Guild Sports Day where the public can join members for a game of golf or boules or attend dinners with the winemakers at winery restaurants.
In 1992, the Guild Auction moved to Cape Town under the management of Robin Grier, late father of longstanding Guild member, Jeff Grier, with well-known South African wine personality, Dave Hughes, conducting the auction. For the next five years, the Michael James Organisation took charge of the auction before handing over the gavel to the Guild’s current auctioneer, Henré Hablutzel of Hofmeyr Mills in 1998.
1996 saw the start of a 17 year association with Nedbank, who became the official sponsor of the Cape Winemakers Guild and its Auction. It was not until 2000 that the Guild changed its name, under the chairmanship of Carl Schultz, from the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild to Cape Winemakers Guild. This opened the door to prominent winemakers employed by the larger organisations to become members of the Guild. Carl recalls how the lifting of sanctions in the post-democracy years brought about a new buoyancy in the market and the word “independent” began to lose its value as trading opened up.
In the 1990’s, which heralded major transformation and the end of sanctions against South Africa, international buyers began showing an interest in the Guild Auction and by 1999, 50% of all the auction purchases came from overseas buyers. Today the interest from local buyers exceeds the international contingent with 70% of the total auction sales of over R5-million going to local buyers in 2011.
Despite the huge success of these auctions, Etienne le Riche states that it was not intended for the Guild to have any commercial function and that the auction was incidental, and secondary, to those primary objectives of the Guild, namely to elevate the quality standards of South African winemaking and to gain international recognition.
All wines that go under the hammer at the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction are made exclusively for the auction by members of the Guild. Until 2010 wines were chosen meticulously by a tasting panel but under the Chairmanship of Louis Strydom, new selection criteria were adopted the following year in an effort to boost creativity and achieve greater diversity of wine styles. In terms of the new criteria members themselves can now decide whether or not to submit a wine for the auction provided it is free of any technical defects and the highest standards of wine health measurement are met.
Membership of the Cape Winemakers Guild
The new millennium saw the Cape Winemakers Guild evolve into an association with newfound energy, fervour and business acumen to raise the bar in South African winemaking. The name change and new admission criteria heralded a new generation of young winemakers into the Guild bringing new expertise and perspectives into the organisation. During the first decade of the newly constituted Cape Winemakers Guild, the membership grew by an astounding 80%. The Guild Auction also grew in stature from a niche event to the country’s definitive public wine action with annual Showcases launched in in Cape Town in 2001 followed by Johannesburg in 2002 to enable the public to taste the Auction wines. The new Guild logo, the iconic key, gave the Guild wines a unique brand identity and the appointment of a business advisor in 2004 created a solid business platform for the Guild.
While the Guild has defined clear business objectives with its annual Auction, the sharing of knowledge is as important today as it was 30 years ago and monthly technical tastings of local and international wines remain a major priority for the members.
Today, the 45 top winemakers who make up the Cape Winemakers Guild continue to raise wine standards higher than ever before, single-mindedly striving to extract the full potential from the unique South African terroir and to set new world-class benchmarks for South African winemaking. Membership of the Guild is by invitation only and is extended to winemakers who have been responsible for the production of outstanding wines for a minimum of five years.
Over the past three decades some of the original stalwarts have reached a stage in their careers, where they are no longer at the coalface in the wineries but continue to make a crucial contribution as respected authorities to the industry as a whole. To ensure that this valuable expertise and knowledge is safeguarded within the Guild, provision was made at the end of 2011 for an additional membership category of Technical Member. This enables members who no longer fulfil the requirements of the Producing Membership category to remain active members of the Guild even though they will no longer submit wines to the annual Guild Auction.                                              
Acknowledging its trailblazers is enshrined in the very fabric of the Guild, whose list of Honorary Members includes Francois Naude, Norma Ratcliffe, Johann Krige, Walter Finlayson and Lynne Sherriff. 
Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust and Protégé Programme
In 1999 in association with Nedbank, the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust was established to support social development through education in wineland communities. Over the years the Development Trust has supported numerous learners at schools such as the Landbouskool Boland and Jan Kriel School amongst others.
In 2006 under the chairmanship of Philip Costandius, the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme, a first for the wine industry, was launched with the goal of bringing about transformation by cultivating, nurturing and empowering promising individuals to become winemakers of excellence. The mentorship programme gives Viticulture and Oenology graduates the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Guild members. To date eight Protégés have participated in the programme, including Howard Booysen and Praisy Dlamini who have both graduated from the programme. The Guild currently has six protégés completing the three year internship programme.
In addition to the internships, the Protégé Programme also offers bursaries to final year Viticulture and Oenology students at Stellenbosch University and Elsenburg Agricultural College. 
The 28th annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction takes place on Saturday, 6 October 2012 at 09h00 at Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands.
To find out how you can purchase these rare and exclusive wines visit: www.capewinemakersguild.com, email info@capewinemakersguild.com or call: Tel: 021 852 0408.                


Gorgeous…………..just the name conjures up something lovely, delectable, pleasant, something attractive and splendid, that delights the senses. And Gorgeous is all of these things. I am talking about Gorgeous by Graham Beck of course….The ultimate Méthode Cap Classique Experience!

 Deriving it’s name from the favoured endearment used by the late Mr Graham Beck, Gorgeous by Graham Beck, the first brand-exclusive bubbly bar in South Africa, is a statement of elegance, from the Vivienne Westwood wallpapering to the über-stylish Tom Dixon lighting above the Carrara topped bar. Gorgeous recently opened its doors at Steenberg Vineyards, the oldest farm in Constantia, nestling against the slopes of the Steenberg Mountain in the tranquil Constantia Valley. Besides the recently opened Gorgeous, Steenberg Vineyards boasts a state of the art modern winery where award winning wines are produced and is also home to the luxurious Steenberg Hotel, Catharina’s Restaurant, BistroSixteen82 (the farm was…

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Gourmet Wine & Dine with Ruben & Graham Beck Wines at the One & Only

Gourmet Wine & Dine at Ruben’s with Graham Beck Wines

+27 21 431 4511 or +27 21 431 5888


Gourmet Wine & Dine Event

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Graham Beck Wines, a leading South African family owned wine estate, specialises in creating wines of the utmost distinction – both the still and Methode Cap Classique sparkling wines are renowned for their superb quality and unmistakable individuality. These wines reflect the passion in the vineyards and cellar – a passion which has earned countless accolades and awards as well as a dedicated legion of fans across the world.

Amuse Bouche
Kataifi wrapped Tiger prawn with spicy lemon
Graham Beck Brut NV

Salmon Gravadlax with Mushroom panacotta, herb sable, cauliflower essence, enoki & herb oil
Graham Beck Chardonnay 2010

Springbok Wellington with Carrot purée, roast artichokes, braised leeks & Bordelaise jus
Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2009

White Chocolate Fondant with Roast pear & raspberry salad & caramelised hazelnut swirl ice-cream
Graham Beck Demi-Sec “Bliss” NV

R325.00 per person
19h00 (arrival drinks), dinner served from 19h30

Gorgeous by Graham Beck – a bubbly bar in Cape Town By Jeanne Horak-Druiff

It had been one of those days. We had arrived in Cape Town early in the morning from London after a night of little sleep, non-functioning seat-back TVs and rather too much alcohol (refer to previous item regarding seat-back TVs!). I had purchased a data bundle at the airport to load onto my South African phone, only to discover that the fact that it was unlocked from the clutches of T-Mobile to accept calls on an SA SIM card did not mean it could accept data. One fruitless hour later spent in a mobile phone shop and still no prospect of a data connection, Ma-in-law had suggested we visit a nearby shopping centre that had been refurbished. But up until the point that we found ourselves stuck in the mile-long traffic jam she had neglected to mention that it had only re-opened the day before and was evidently jam-packed with customers. Many others might, at this point, have said “just shoot me” and given up. I, on the other hand, spotted the signpost to Steenberg and said “Let’s go to Gorgeous”.

One of the happy coincidences of being married to Nick is that his mom lives in the middle of a wine-making area in Cape Town. This means that if you have a little time on your hands and some comfortable walking shoes, you can actually walk from her house to Steenberg estate. Steenberg has been a farm since 1682 and wines were first produced there in 1695. Initially called Swaaneweide (“feeding place of swans”), it was later renamed as Steenberg, in honour of the imposing mountain which towers over it. It is the southern-most wine farm in the Constantia Valley, and is today also home to a luxury hotel, a golfing estate and some outstanding restaurants including Catharina’s, Bistro Sixteen82 and most recently, Gorgeous by Graham Beck. Anybody who has read my blog for any length of time will know of my deep affection for Graham Beck sparkling wines which I rate as some of the very best that South Africa produces – so you can imagine my excitement when I read on Twitter that the Graham Beck estate in Robertson was to launch an outpost at Steenberg in the shape of a brand-exclusive champagne and canapé bar. And so when the going got tough, I decided it was time to pay Gorgeous a visit for a quick, bubbly pick-me-up.

The first surprising thing about Gorgeous is how small it is – and the second is how perfectly formed it is. The sleek bar beneath the glowing Gorgeous signage seats only about a dozen people and the 3 or 4 secluded booths opposite the bar with their plush crushed velvet circular banquettes seat propably only about 4-6 each. Frosted glass cabinets behind the bar cover the racks where the bubbly is stored and are decorated with the swirls surrounding the GB logo. Colours are muted mushrooms and purpley greys, and the Vivienne Westwood-designed “paper jewellery” wallpaper adds a bit of sparkle. But the main sources of sparkle are the super-friendly staff, and the wines themselves.

As far as the menu goes, Graham Beck sparklers are the only beverages on offer at the bar and are available either by the bottle or glass. Prices start at R40 per flute and R200 per bottle, but you can also choose to try a specific range: a flight of the three non-vintage Graham Beck sparkling wines; the three Graham Beck vintage cuvées; or their iconic Cap Classique flagship range, Cuvée Clive. Gorgeous to Go also allows guests to buy the Graham Beck bubblies by the bottle to take home, at cellar door prices. For those who are feeling peckish, Executive Chef Garth Almazan of Catharina’s restaurant has created a selection of canapés to complement the sparkling wines. The selection includes fresh Saldanha Bay oysters; poached tiger prawns; and an asparagus and goat’s cheese risotto croquette; as well as a couple of dessert canapés. On our first visit, we sat in a booth and tried a flight of the non-vintage bubblies which reaffirmed my belief that these offer some of the best value in South Africa. The Brut was bright with grapefruit and light yeasty flavours, as well as a super-fine mousse; while the Rosé (50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir) had a delicate salmon colour and subtle notes of ripe strawberries – although not cloyingly sweet.

On our second visit, about ten days later, we sat on the terrace to take advantage of the gorgeous late-afternoon weather and the view. On this occasion we opted for a bottle of the 2005 Graham Beck Brut Zero. Launched in late 2011, this is one of South Africa’s few non-dosage bubblies (dosage being the process whereby a small amount of sweet liquid is added to bottle-fermented sparkling wines at the end of the production process, to replace the volume lost in disgorgement and to add balance). It doesn’t make the wine taste sweet, but merely offsets the usually very high acidity. Sparkling wines without dosage are a niche category, and are the driest category of sparkling wine you will find. The Brut Zero 2005, made with 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir, spent six years on the lees, and the resulting wine is crisp with the flavours or tart, fresh green apples. It’s not for everybody, but it will silence the critice who think South Africa cannot make a French-style sparkling wine – and it makes a wonderful accompaniment to a Cape sunset!

So if you find yourself at a loose end in the Tokai/Constantia area, or if you are a simply a fan of beautifully crafted sparkling wines, do make a plan to visit Gorgeous. The staff are super-charming and friendly; the space is sleek and, well, gorgeous; and the wines are definitely among South Africa’s best.

Gorgeous by Graham Beck
Steenberg Estate
Cape Town

Open Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 22h00

Tel. +27 (0) 21 713-7177
Website: http://www.gorgeousbygrahambeck.com
Twitter: @GorgeousbyGB