The latest in wine news and events

The South African wine industry is known for its dynamic and innovative approach as well as its top notch wines and young, creative winemakers.

The industry is progressing and changing at speed, as South Africa is increasingly recognised for premium wines and world-class wine tourism. Read all the latest news from Wines of South Africa...

Read Jamie's latest feature on South African wine

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BEE and wine

By Jamie Goode | 4 November 2015

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is an official government strategy that applies to all businesses in South Africa. It’s not just an attempt to redress the wrongs of the past, but instead sets out to be a strategy for encouraging economic growth by widening the economic base. Before the dismantling of apartheid in 1994, African, Coloured and Indian populations had very little participation in the economy, and these groups, known as PDIs in the official jargon (for ‘previously disadvantaged individuals’), are referred to collectively as ‘Black’ in BEE.

21 years on from the switch to democracy, there’s still a massive gap between rich and poor in South Africa, and large segments of the population are still excluded from meaningful participation in the economy. BEE isn’t just about affirmative action; nor is it about land redistribution. It’s a strategy to empower more black people to own and manage businesses and enterprises, to achieve a change in the racial composition of ownership and management structures, to encourage more skilled black workers, to provide finance for black economic empowerment and to benefit black-owned enterprises through preferential procurement policies.

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Old vineyards

By Jamie Goode | 8 September 2015

It was a beautiful early Autumn day when I visited Basil Landau's La Brie farm in the Franschhoek Valley. Basil is an interesting person. He was a prominent businessman and friend of presidents in a previous era in South Africa. In 1986, at the age of 56, he decided on a change of pace, and bought a beautifully situated farm in scenic Franschhoek where he moved with his considerably younger wife, Jane. The farm was originally given to a Hugenot (Jacques de Villiers) in 1689, and was built up from nothing. Basil's home was built in 1787, so it is properly old.

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Some tips on who to look out for next...

By Jamie Goode | 11 August 2015

Last month I was back in South Africa again, for the third time this year. Slightly excessive, I know, but there is just so much going on here that it's hard to keep up. Besides, I was here for a specific reason: to take part as a judge in the second Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Blanc Challenge, a competition that I also judged last year.

 

I arrived in Stellenbosch at lunchtime. I was staying at the accommodation next to Ken Forester's 96 Winery Road restaurant, so after dropping my bags, I headed across to the restaurant. It was a glorious sunny winter's day, so I sat outside, had an amazing burger, a craft beer and a glass of Carsten Migliarina's excellent Shiraz. A good start to the trip. I'd just finished when the Breedekloof guys - Pieter Cronje, De Wet Lategan and Attie Loew - rocked up to show me their Chenin Blancs.  

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

Recently I took part as one of the three judges in a tasting of Chenin Blanc wines from around the world for The World of Fine Wine. This is a high-end wine magazine that's aiming to cover the world's best wines, and in each issue they have reports on a number of focused tastings, and this was one of them.   The good thing about these tastings is that rather than simply produce a group average score (they do this too), they give the scores of each of the three judges. This is interesting because it lets you see where the experienced judges disagree. For me, one of the most interesting things about fine wine is that even experts come to different conclusions, sometimes. In some cases this could be because even the best tasters have off-moments. Tasting blind is tricky and sometimes you just get a wine wrong. But in other cases, experts genuinely disagree. Wine is complex, and even if we try hard, our personal tastes can get in the way when we try to reach a consensus.

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In Susan's glass

I fell in love with South Africa and the wines a few years ago. The recent MasterChef UK final took me right back to a holiday I had there. They went to the same Game Reserve that we stayed at and we also went to Reuben Riffel's restaurant in Franschhoek the night before my friends wedding - it was great to see Reuben as a guest judge too! Watching that episode seemed like the perfect excuse to open this beautiful bottle of Semillon from Boekenhoutskloof. What a delicious wine! 

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