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Posted by on in Events

Plenty to do wine-wise in June, during the first half of the month at any rate. Here’s a chronological summary to browse through and diarise…


Young Guns Reloaded – Young Guns and Old Bullets

Wine Cellar’s 2016 Young Guns tasting event has a new component, making it a family affair. The younger generation will be joined on stage by their famous fathers, all renowned winemaking pioneers. Double the talent means double the wines to taste as the following fathers and sons join forces as a dozen stars of the show.

They are

• Jacques and Reenen Borman (Boschkloof and Patatsfontein)
• Peter and Peter-Allan Finlayson (Bouchard Finlayson and Crystallum)
• Etienne and Christo Le Riche (Le Riche)
• Neil and Warren Ellis (Neil Ellis)
• Braam and David van Velden (Overgaauw)
• Danie Senior and Danie Junior Steytler (Kaapzicht

The Johannesburg event takes place at Melrose Arch on June 2 and in Cape Town at DoubleTree by Hilton on June 3, both at 16h00 for 18.30. Tickets cost R450 a head, which includes a light supper. Bookings to




The Soup, Sip and Bread festival is back in the Durbanville Wine Valley from 3 to 5 June.



A dozen Durbanville wine farms will take part this year, serving wine, soup, artisan breads along with other culinary treats and menus. As usual, each winery offers its own attractions, along with a barrel special at good prices. The valley has joined with Century City Mercedes Benz who will display their distinctive cars at all the farms. And Uber has come in as a partner and is offering visitors who become new users a free first ride.

Farms taking part are Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, D’Aria, Diemersdal, De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Meerendal, Nitida, Groot Phizantekraal and Signal Gun. Create your itinerary by browsing through the festival programme on more information contact Angela Fourie or 083 310 1228.





Hard to believe this top notch show has been going for 14 years, but the public tastings of the Old Mutual Trophy Wine show are as important this year as in 2002. The one-night show of tastings of award-winning producer wines see wine lovers and collectors gather to meet the winners of categories like Best Whie and Best Red, Discovery of the Show and much more. There will be more than 100 wines on show, all trophy, gold and silver medalists that have been chosen blind by a panel of international and local judges.

Early bird tickets cost R165 until May 30, after which they are R190 and at the door. Book through Ticket includes glass and unlimited tastings. Light meals will be on sale. For more info, contact (011) 482 5936. See

Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting - Cape Town

Date:               Friday, 3 June 2016

Venue:             CTICC (Ballroom, Level 1), Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town

Time:               18h00 to 21h00

Parking:           Secure underground parking available in CTICC parkade

 Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show Public Tasting – Johannesburg

Date:               Friday, 10 June 2016

Venue:             Bill Gallagher Room (Level 2), Sandton Convention Centre, Maude Street, Sandton

Time:              18h00 to 21h00

Parking:          Secure underground parking available at the convention centre and neighbouring shopping malls.





The landmark Marine hotel in Hermanus will, once again, make the venue for the third Hermanus FynArts programme taking place from June 10 -19. Organised by Melvyn Minnaar, the 2016 event sees an appealing and varied programme of tastings and talks from local fundis, each of who will present about 45 minutes of info, sipping and opinion that has proved hugely popular with wine lovers in previous years. It all adds up to a definition of the current state of local wine and visitors can choose to attend one event or buy a series ticket for all of them.

They include Tasting Terroir, in which Hannes Storm will explore regional sites, (June 11 at noon) and Local show-stoppers where Higgo Jacobs will present wines that win awards for this coastal region (June 11 at 15h00). MCCs, riding the new wave will be presented by John Loubser and Pieter Ferreria (June 12 at noon and 15h00) while Cathy van Zyl will chat about Wine now – the classics (June 13 at 12 noon.) She will be followed by Tim James who will also tackle Wine now, but focus on the avant-garde, those that push the boundaries (June 13 at 15h00). Winnie Bowman will prove that our brandies are world-class by testing them against cognac (June 14 at noon) and the finale will see Melvyn Minnaar asking wine critics to present their single choice of wine they think is outstanding.Booking is open and more info is available at



Taste the Helderberg 2016




This popular annual event takes place at the NH Lord Charles hotel in Somerset on Wednesday June 15. As a midweek break it’s quite an affair, as more than 100 local wines will be lined up for sipping, alongside fine fare from local chefs and artisanal producers.

The hotel is transformed into a mini wine route, as around 25 producers pour their best, and these include Bilton, Ken Forrester Wines, Longridge, Lyngrove, Peter Falke, Somerbosch, Vergenoegd and Waterkloof Estate.

The chefs will present bites of their best as well, adding up to a regional showcase for fine fare and winning wines.

Tickets cost R100 a head and include glass and t astings, while the food will be on sale. The event takes place from 17h00 to 21h00. Visit or call 021 886 8275 for more info and book ahead. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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Be one of 50 caring diners who will savour a brilliant six-course dinner, paired with complementary wines, on Friday May 13.

Arguably South Africa’s best known chef Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francis established her unique culinary charity Isabelo seven years ago. From small beginnings – when she baked nutritious muffins on Fridays for 70 needy children at a Franschhoek crèche, to the present, where she provides 1 305 protein-based meals for hungry valley children, is impressive progress. These meals are provided to five schools in the valley.

It costs R12 a day to feed a child, amounting to R60 000 a month, so the ongoing need for fund-raising is self-evident. Isabelo also pays the salaries of seven cooks who produce the breakfasts daily for 1100 pupils in two primary schools.

To celebrate her birthday Margo is creating a special gourmet dinner, to be presented to diners at Le Quartier’s renowned restaurant, to raise further funds. Her co-chef will be Russell Armstrong, another chef with a long pedigree, who honed his craft at top London and French restaurants, three of which are three-star Michelin establishments.

It promises to be a memorable affair in every respect. Tickets, limited to a total of 50, cost R2 500. To book, or for further information, contact Eleanor Kerwan via email at  or  Ebeneze Hoffman at or reserve your seat by phoning +27 21 876 2151. 

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Farm to Table festival weekend



Celebrate natural produce and artisanal fare at Boschendal farm during the weekend April 23 -24. This huge farm, in a setting of outstanding beauty, is ready to inform and inspire guests with a programme of talks, tours, demos and workshops, that will please eco-conscious visitors and should convince many others that  sustainable farming that is gentle to the earth, cuts food miles, and ensures humane treatment of animals is the route we should be taking.

While all ages will be catered for with children’s activities on the Sunday, Saturday's programme includes compost creation, sausage-making, wine tasting, craft beer, organic food garden tours, and free-range poultry and beef tours..

 There's a farm feast on Saturday, starting at 4pm and including a spitroast Angus ox and a barbecue picnic on Sunday to contemplate The farm feast dinner costs R450, children ‘R200 at separate table. The Sunday picnic and live music costs R295 for adults, children 12 and under R100. Picnic prices includes entertainment and childrens activities.

 please visit to book. Tickets are limited for all events.






This annual success story is marking its 15th birthday this year with another great weekend of cheese and other goodies at Sandringham near Stellenbosch., exit 39 off the N1. As always, cheese tastings can be partnered with wines, and delicious snacks of all kinds, and celebrity chefs will be doing demos of their speciality dishes. See you there!

Tickets are available from Computicket , Shoprite or Checkers store at R150 per day. Senior citizens pay R100 and children 13 years and younger enter  free. No tickets will be sold at the gates. The festival opens from 10:00 - 18:00 daily. Facebook

For more information contact Agri-Expo on tel 021 975 4440 or or visit


The Riebeek Valley Olive Festival




The annual Riebeek Valley Olive Festival takes place over the weekend of 7 - 8 May (10am to 5pm daily), where you are guaranteed to find everything olive related

From olives to olive oils and olive -inspired produce, this promises to be a feast for the senses. Not forgetting the great  wines in the area too.! Artisanal beers, an abundance of hearty local food and live entertainment add up to the promise of a great weekend.

 An Olive Passport, valid for the  weekend, gives visitors access to participating wine farms. It costs R125 and includes a tasting glass. Book online via or on the day at any of the participating venues. Children under 18 enter for free. A complimentary shuttle service will be available for the duration of the weekend.

Those choosing to make a weekend of this excursion have a wide selection of accommodation from which to choose. For more information contact Riebeek Valley Tourism on 022 448 1545 or mail





The first of these elegant evenings take place on May 14, from 6,30pm with others to follow in

August and October.Tickets are available at R595 per person, for the five course dinner with wine included. Limited seats are available so call 021 874 1071 or email to be part of this exclusive event.





Shiraz and charcuterie events are becoming trendy affairs, with Anthonij Rupert holding theirs on Saturday, 28 May (12pm to 5pm). Their own range of syrah, which includes the Anthonij Rupert Syrah, the Cape of Good Hope Riebeek’s Rivier Shiraz and Protea Shiraz will be there for sampling, as will fine shiraz from Rust en Vrede, Waterford, Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, Hartenberg Estate, Simonsig and Thelema. These can all be paired with a range of charcuterie and artisanal fare such as French onion soup, and braised lamb arancini with tomato chutney, Toulouse sausages with braised lentils are among the rustic Rhone specialities, perfect to pair with shiraz. Tickets cost R180 per person and are limited, so pre-booking is recommended. Your ticket includes entry and tastings of the wines.. Book directly via

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Shannon-James.jpgJames Downes shows off his Sanctuary Peak sauvignon blanc 2015 - the perfect choice for St Patrick's day sipping.

As a dedicated seasonal eater, it’s inevitable, I suppose, that I am also a seasonal drinker. Once summer has given way to autumn, I move from sauvignon blanc, semillon and cinsaut to chenin, chardonnay and pinot noir. As winter announces its chilly arrival I welcome shiraz along with cab franc. This is when local port and dessert wines become very inviting as well. The one exception is good white Cape blends, which I enjoy year round. These thoughts were inspired by a brilliant sauvignon blanc sipped recently, on an early March day with temperatures in the low thirties, the memory of which will probably sustain me until spring.

Shannon vineyards Sanctuary Peak’s 2015 sauvignon is a good example of just how fine Elgin sauvignons can be. There is little doubt that this elegant multi-faceted wine will mature to even greater heights of delight in a year or three, as 2015 was a brilliant vintage for many white wines.

James and Stuart Downes cultivate sauvignon blanc, semillon, merlot and pinot noir in their cool climate riverside vineyards, with meticulous attention and impeccable results. Long-term friends Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson make the wine in their Upper-Hemel-en-Aarde valley cellar, adding just 8% of Shannon oaked semillon to enrich the fresh and lively sauvignon. No searing acidity, just a delicious mix of stone fruit and herbaceous notes, more than a hint of fynbos, all backed by Elgin flintiness and adding up to well-balanced pleasure, also well-priced at R105.

Looking at the advance publicity for the Elgin Cool Wine and Country Food fest taking place over the weekend April 30 – May 1, I notice that Shannon Wines are taking part. An excellent opportunity to sample this patrician white, along with their equally distinctive Mount Bullet merlot, as their cellar is only open to the public by appointment.

As always, the regions' wine farms will offer unique programmes, and details should be online from April 1. Tickets cost R120 through Plan ahead for a weekend of bottled poetry in striking surrounds.

Last word: Disregard opening paragraph above – I could sip Shannon’s sauvignon in every season.


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Caption: Willem Blou gets to grips with the sauvignon blanc arriving at Diemersdal for the 2016 Durbanville Twelve.

Photograph: Neels Kleynhans.



Caption: Brunch in a cellar 


Dedicated, determined – and delicious. The first two adjectives apply to the winemakers and owners of the string of wine farms that lies across the Durbanville valley. The last applies to the sauvignon blanc that is a blend of the grapes of a dozen cellars – and it could also be ascribed to the more appealing of the valley  winemakers.


The 2016 Durbanville Twelve sauvignon blanc will be the third vintage of this collaborative effort, likely to be launched before the valley's annual sauvignon fest. Soon after the 11 farms each delivered one ton of just-harvested grapes to Diemersdal, which has been the host cellar from the start, the media gathered in the cool cellar of this 17th century farm to find out more about the challenging 2016 harvest.


That the valley’s marketing and PR person Angela Fourie managed to get several of the Durbanville winemakers to come to the brunch midway during the busiest week of the harvest was no mean feat. After a sociable start over bubbly from a trio of cellars, we trooped through the cool cellars to taste the sweet juices of the crushed sauvignon before settling at two long tables for a bountiful brunch.

During the many imaginative courses that were served we heard from Charles Hopkins of De Grendel who described the current harvest as the trickiest he has ever experienced, adding that the yield was down by one-third from last year. Both he and host Thys Louw of Diemersdal recently returned from New Zealand and are now experimenting with harvesting the sauvignon blanc at a higher temperature than before, as are the wine farmers from down under. Liza Goodwin of Meerendal, marking her 18th year in the Durbanville valley, commented on the camaraderie that flourishes between the farms. Charles confirmed this spirit of co-operation that comes to the fore if disaster strikes one cellar, also remarking  that nearly half the winemakers in the valley are now women. Veteran cellarmaster Martin Moore of Durbanville Hills remains confident about the quality of the vintage, particularly as the berries on their west coast vineyards were too green to be adversely affected by the recent heatwaves. Etienne Louw of Altydgedacht agreed, saying that they were crushing the components of their cap classique that day. Bernhard Veller of Nitida added that this was a unusual harvest as they had already been picking grapes for four weeks, whereas in other years, they usually only started after the middle of February.

It was also interesting to listen to Bernhard’s views on the future of wine farming in Durbanville; how, as surburb sprawl had reached the boundaries of many farms, he saw the necessity of farmers considering putting a portion – perhaps up to one third – of their land aside for controlled residential development. Survival tactics, this could be called. He also feels strongly that the valley wines are over-delivering on quality and are very under-priced: he thinks that a combined effort on the part of the Twelve could help alter this, which would  raise the status of the valley’s wines at the same time.



If anyone still has bottles left of the 2013 Twelve, open a couple and enjoy – we sipped this with our meal and the sauvignon has developed beautifully, acquiring mellow minerality, with delicious Durbanville verdancy and fruit upfront.

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