Posts Tagged ‘Merlot’

Is the grass really greener?

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Does it make sense to pursue potentially problem-fraught off-shore markets for South African wine,  when one of the largest US wine producers is entering our local market aggressively?

The Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, which is expected to retail at R49.95 per bottle.

About 100 people, mostly from wine estates in the area, sat and listened to a Wines of South Africa (WOSA) organised seminar in Stellenbosch last Wednesday about export opportunities into Angola and Nigeria. Neither of these markets is particularly large at present, but growth over the last couple of years appears to have been substantial.

Angola for instance, with an estimated population of around 19 million, has seen annual per capita wine consumption grow from 2.3 litres in 2003 to a projected 12.2 litres next year. Compared to most of the rest of the world, including South Africa, that’s pretty attractive growth. Even France has seen a dramatic decline in wine consumption, from a high of around 55 litres in 2006 to an estimated 48 litres in 2010. South Africa has seen a decline from 7.94 litres in 2008 to an estimated just under 7 litres this year. Whilst the numbers do differ significantly, the magnitude of consumption decline is pretty much the same at about 12-13%.

The picture gets more interesting when one looks at retail wine prices in Angola, which have risen from €1.23 in 2003 to €2.19 in 2009. At current exchange rates, that’s from around R12 (2003) to R20 (2009) a bottle. Now, with the excises, imposts, duties and “back-scratching” amounting to 60% – according to one of the speakers at the WOSA conference – of the cost of the wine, that makes the landed cost around R8 per bottle.  Not terribly much in there from the producer, now is there? Read more…


Libertè, egalitè, fraternitè! The Franschhoek Bastille Festival

the revellers celebrate freedom in true French style by raising a glass

Eppie and I were well and truly muffled up when we left Somerset West for Franschhoek on Saturday. With the hint of winter’s steel in the sunbathed air justifying the layers, we were looking most forward to a day in Franschhoek, celebrating everything that is French, but particularly the sentiment of freedom that has become synonymous with what happened at Le Bastille on that fateful day in 1789 when the rabble of Paris stormed the hated symbol of the French monarchy, and started the French Revolution.

As we approached the “French Corner”, winter’s cold white footprints were clearly evident on the surrounding mountains, further affirmation of the Michelin-man mode of dress we had adopted. Read more…

Morgenster 2006: A step closer to Guilio Bertrand’s dream

June 17, 2010 1 comment

Guilio Bertand and Pierre Lurton enjoy a glass of Morgenster Rose at the Field House during the Morgenster 2006 launch

When Henry Kotze said he had big shoes to fill at Morgenster, he wasn’t kidding. It was the occasion of the annual launch of the next vintage of the boutique Helderberg estate’s Lourens River Valley and flagship Morgenster Bordeaux style blends, and Henry had the daunting task of introducing the 2006 vintage made by his predecessor, Marius Lategan, who moved to La Bri in Franschhoek when Henry took over as cellar master late last year.

Presided over as usual by estate owner Guilio Bertrand, the annual bash at the Morgenster Estate commenced in the tasting room, with a foreword by consultant winemaker Pierre Lurton, who made the annual pilgrimage from Bordeaux to be part of the unveiling of what many people consider to be one of the finest Bordeaux style blends in the country. Read more…