Kumkani Sauvignon Blanc is TOPS


Kumkani Lanner Hill Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007 continues to ride the wave of success as it was selected for WINE magazine TOPS at SPAR Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 list.

The wine which has received a record rating of 4 stars by WINE magazine for all three vintages of the Lanner Hill released thus far, was recently also crowned the best Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa at the SA Terroir Wine Awards. Its red counterpart, the Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, has been equally successful, winning gold at the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles competition earlier this year. The Kumkani Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2005 and 2007 vintages both scored 4½ in the John Platter Wine Guide.

The grapes for this expressive Sauvignon Blanc were harvested from David Tullie’s farm, Lanner Hill, in the Groenekloof ward in Darling. The full-bodied wine boasts with ripe gooseberry flavours and has a crisp, lingering finish.

Executive director of winemaking, Nicky Versfeld, said: “Kumkani Lanner Hill is a deserving recipient of this award – 2007 was an exceptional vintage and shows the very best Sauvignon Blanc characteristics. We are delighted that this wine continues to go from strength to strength.”

Brand and business development manager for SA, Johan Erasmus, said: “This award, together with all previous awards, once again confirms the recognition Kumkani enjoys within the industry and the market place for its superlative and consistent quality. These wines are a testament to the passion with which they are crafted and we are very proud to be able to share them with the consumers.”


Robben Island – An uniquely South African destination

This week’s uniquely South African destination

Robben Island Museum
For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 12 kilometres from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society.

During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran the Island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Some freedom fighters spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for their beliefs.

Those imprisoned on the Island succeeded on a psychological and political level in turning a prison ‘hell-hole’ into a symbol of freedom and personal liberation. Robben Island came to symbolise, not only for South Africa and the African continent, but also for the entire world, the triumph of the human spirit over enormous hardship and adversity.

A visit to Robben Island is a deeply felt experience for South Africans and foreigners alike. Its identity is linked to the heroic lives of the people who struggled with the consequences of unjust incarceration.


US wine consumption increase for 15th consecutive year

Wine Spectator magazine reports that Americans are on pace to drink more wine in 2008 than ever before, but this year’s expected growth of 1.5 percent represents the industry’s smallest increase since 2001, the last time the U.S. economy was in a recession.

Nevertheless, retail sales of wine within the United States will surpass $25 billion for the first time this year, and set an all-time high of 306 million cases purchased, according to the just-released The U.S. Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast, 2008 Edition. The current financial crisis and struggling economy is expected to dampen industry growth, at least in the short term.

The U.S. market surpassed Italy in terms of wine consumption in 2007, and had been on pace to overtake France and become the world’s largest wine consumer within five years, according to the report. That may still occur by 2015.
But as the economic malaise spreads globally and slumping financial markets shrink consumers’ disposable incomes, sales are expected to weaken, particularly in restaurants and bars. Imports, which tend to sell more at restaurants and bars, have outperformed their domestic counterparts every year since 1995, but American wines are now forecast to outpace imports until at least 2015.

While consumption growth has slowed considerably this year, wine has, on average, outperformed beer and distilled spirits for nearly 60 years running, when measured by the growth of servings per person. Americans consumed over 18 billion glasses (5-ounce servings) of wine last year, a five-fold increase since 1950, according to Impact Databank, which is owned by M. Shanken Communications, the parent company of Wine Spectator.
The number of wine servings consumed on a per-capita basis last year reached an all-time high, at over 85 servings annually, besting the previous record set in 1982, during the heyday of the white wine cocktail boom.


Wine tasting clubs compliment the quality of Kumkani wines

Wine bloggers and wine tasting club members were full of praise for Kumkani wines and indicated that the quality of the wine was exceptionally high.

In a recent article published on Which Wine Guide the writer, Andrew, is immensely impressed with the Kumkani Triple J Shiraz 2004. Their wine tasting took place in the Camelot Pub in South Cadbury, Somerset (UK).

Andrew from Which Wine Guide writes: “Finally, a revelation from Kumkani, the trading name of a group called the company of wine peopleTM. They are slightly obscure in origin but really know how to make wine at this level. This 04 Shiraz called “Triple J” because the vineyard is hand harvested bunch by bunch three times to get the best grapes – is made from fruit grown in the Stellenbosch area and is simply delicious – long, ripe, complex and spicy it went down a storm.”

I belong to the Vino Veritas wine tasting club, and we recently sampled the Kumkani Lanner Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2007. Out of the selection of Sauvignon Blancs tasted, the Lanner Hill received the highest score. It is therefore no surprise that WINE magazine rated this wine – which was recently named the best Sauvignon Blanc in the country at the SA Terroir Wine Awards – as one of South Africa’s Top 10 Sauvignon Blancs.


Kumkani’s winemaker

Executive director of winemaking at the company of wine people and Kumkani winemaker, Nicky Versfeld.

Prince William and Harry to ride in uniquely South African charity event

Britain’s Princes William and Harry are set to embark on a gruelling off-road 8-day motorcycle rally in South Africa next month as participants in the 2008 Enduro Africa charity event.

Enduro Africa is a unique and challenging motorbike adventure in aid of local charities in Southern Africa. It is set up to raise money to donate motorbikes every year to help transport casualties and medicines as well as to provide health care in rural villages.

Money raised from the adventure will be divided equally between UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Sentebale, a charity established by Prince Harry to help disadvantaged children in Lesotho. Organisers hope to raise at least £300 000 (R4.6 million) for South Africa and Lesotho.

The princes, both accomplished riders and motorbike owners, will join a group of about 80 people on a journey that will take them through some of South Africa’s most rugged and isolated terrain in the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast.

The journey is set to begin and end in Port Elizabeth, passing through towns such as Alicedale, Queenstown, Coffee Bay, along Mazeppa Bay, Hogsback and Port Alfred.

The royal brothers will join groups of eight to 10 riders travelling together during the day with all 80 volunteers camping together at night.

A spokesman for Global Enduro, an adventure company which runs the Enduro Africa event, said since both princes were in the army, they would “have the grit to get through because it’s not easy.”

“There are no road signs and it’s not like riding anywhere in the UK so they will need a guide. They will go through game reserves, tribal areas and wild areas,” he said.

A Clarence House spokesman said “The Princes are looking forward to the motorcycle ride that will raise money and the profile of Sentebale, a charity very close to their hearts, and two other major charities in southern Africa.”


Indian wine writer impressed with authentic African wine

The Indian wine writer, Subhash Arora , was immensely impressed by the uniquely South African experiences during his past visit. Arora indicated that the African Cuisine dinner, hosted by Kumkani, was one of the highlights of the recent Cape Wine show.

He writes that the company of wine peopleTM who fill in the recently launched Kingfisher Bohemia bottles in India with a red and a white, hosted a Kumkani (which means ‘king’ in Xhosa) dinner at Nyoni’s Kraal (which means Corner), a unique South African restaurant in Cape Town.

Modern African cuisine served with award-winning Kumkani wines at this uniquely South African restaurant with Marimba band in attendance would convince anyone that Indians have definitely influenced the South African cuisine.

It also demonstrated that the company of wine peopleTM has a wide spectrum of wines starting from the low-end Bohemia that they are supplying to the brewery division of Kingfisher, to the top-end award winning wines like Kumkani range.

To make the evening interesting and authentically African, there was an African Priestess who blessed the winemaker in true African style with voice so powerful and language so incomprehensible and scary that he could not resist telling her later that he hoped she did not bless her husband too often!

Subhash Arora was one of the international journalists who attended the Cape Wine Show.

He concluded that the Cape Wine Show certainly enhanced the image of South African wines and the passion of several winemakers and producers to exploit the terroir of their land for a brighter future for their wines.