A uniquely South African Beef and Pinotage Stew

For a delicious stew with a dash of South African, try this wonderful recipe…


  • 0.7 Kg stew beef
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup Pinotage
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary, or a dash of crumbled dried rosemary
  • 425 g small onions, or 10 to 16 ounces frozen small onions, thawed


Trim stew beef and cut in small bite-size pieces. Put in a food storage bag with the flour, onion powder, and seasoned salt; toss to coat well.

Heat oil in a large saucepan or over medium heat; add beef to hot oil and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the onion and celery; continue cooking, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, broth, wine, and rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add drained or thawed onions. Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes or until beef is tender. Serve with biscuits or hot cooked noodles. Serves 6.




Pairing wine with people

Buying for a math geek or a collector? Experts offer tips on how to judge a person’s preferences


Picking out the right wine for someone during the holidays could prove as challenging as buying a present for the in-laws who have everything.

Which varietal? How much to spend? Go bold – or delicate? Is a bottle of Sherry the ultimate insult?

These questions become particularly difficult when you don’t know the recipient’s wine taste. Steer clear of giving wine to anyone who you’re not certain drinks alcohol.It could become awkward if the person is a recovering alcoholic or for religious reasons doesn’t drink.

But if they do, the trick is in the pairing. Our experts have a lot of tips, everything from matching personalities to wine to finding clues in the foods and beverages they drink.

Tim Hanni, a master of wine, has his own theories about people’s likes and dislikes based on how many taste buds they have on their tongue. While it might be a little presumptuous, and definitely strange, to ask your boss if you could get a look inside his or her mouth, Hanni says there are other hints to follow.

Coffee clues

“How they drink their coffee could be a telltale sign,” says the wine master. “If they prefer their coffee black and strong, their wine preference will more than likely lean toward intense wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, old-vine Zinfandels and many Meritage wines (usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes).”
Hanni says cream-and-sugar coffee drinkers are more likely to show a preference for moderately sweet wines, such as Muscat and Riesling. Sparkling wines are also an option. He says to look for labels that have 2 to 6 percent residual sugar levels.

People who salt their food heavily are also likely to go for the sweeter wines, according to Hanni. Same goes for folks who gravitate to sweet cocktails such as mojitos and pina coladas. He says Manhattan, martini and classic margarita drinkers would probably appreciate Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Merlot and Chardonnay. For the whisky, Cognac, Tequila and Scotch crowd, try big, bold reds and oaky, expensive Chardonnays.

Don’t have a clue about what kind of cocktails the person you’re buying for likes or how he or she takes coffee? Hanni suggests going with personality traits. A man with a strong personality who is good at math would probably prefer a wine that’s received a high rating from Robert Parker. If he’s more artistic and a little disorganised, go with Pinot Noir, dry Riesling and wines you would describe to your merchant as delicate and expressive.

For a strong woman, Hanni suggests Shiraz, Pinot Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay. For an artistic woman, go for something sweet, like a fruit wine, he says. “Of course these are all generalisations,” says Hanni. “But in my experience, they tend to work.”
If you don’t know someone well enough to judge their wine taste, get something festive that they can share with other people. Good choices are Champagne, sparkling wine, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – it goes great with food.

Source: sfgate.com

the company of wine people takes to the skies with British Airways


The wines from the company of wine people’s stable have been chosen to be served on one of the world’s largest airlines, namely British Airways

The Thandi Chardonnay 2006 was chosen for the British Airways Comair Club Class while the immensely popular Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2008 was chosen for the Traveller Class.

Executive director of sales and marketing, Chris O’Shea, said: “We are very proud to be associated with a world-class airline and brand such as British Airways in having the opportunity for wine drinkers to enjoy two wines from our growing and internationally recognised brands. We see British Airways as both a relevant business partner as well as providing a great match for our successful Arniston Bay and Thandi wines.”

The Thandi Chardonnay is continuing its winning streak after winning a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge, silver at the renowned Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and silver at the AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge this year. This string of accolades attests to the fact that Thandi – the first wine in the world to receive Fairtrade accreditation – prides itself on producing first-rate wines. This Chardonnay is concentrated and achieves a fine balance between fruit and oak, has citrus and orange blossom aromas on the nose and hints of vanilla on the palate.

The Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay – also available in an eco-friendly, innovative pouch – is consistently one of the company’s best-selling wines. This expertly blended wine has pineapple and ripe melon flavours on the nose, a full middle palate and ends with a crisp freshness. It’s best served with light meals, salads and seafood.

Arniston Bay is one of the best-selling international brands in the United Kingdom, the Far East and parts of Europe. The Arniston Bay range is available in a variety of packaging alternatives (such as a 187ml and 250ml pouch which is ideal for travel and event channels) and has a multitude of offerings ranging from easy-drinking entry level wines to more sophisticated wines for discerning palates.

the company of wine people is one of South Africa’s top wine exporters whose people are passionate about producing wine for those who love sharing good wine. Its core brands are the ‘king’ of South African wine Kumkani, Thandi – the first wine in the world to be Fairtrade accredited, traditional Welmoed, unconventional Versus and the lifestyle wine Arniston Bay. The winemaking team, under the guidance of chief winemaker Nicky Versfeld, ensures that the company of wine people boasts with a diverse variety of excellent wine suitable for every drinking occasion.

For more information, visit www.thecompanyofwinepeople.com

Top tips for serving tipple


Wine enhances the flavour of the food, makes the table look nice and can liven up a meal. But many people find it confusing. There are too many choices, it requires a special tool to open, and there’s the whole culture around wine supposedly dictating what goes with which food and what’s cool to drink.

Here’s a quick primer on how to incorporate wine into your holidays without hassles and embarrassment, and what basic items you need to present your drink perfectly.

The No. 1 rule is drink what you think tastes good, and have a couple of other offerings available that others might like. Your palate is about as individual as your fingerprints. What you like, someone else might avoid and vice versa, but that doesn’t mean the wine is bad. So serve a couple of wines and keep your bases covered.

Secondly, serve it in decent glasses. The shape of the glass really can affect the taste of a wine. It has to do with how the bowl of the glass channels the aroma – which is a big component of taste – to your nose. This is what wine lovers refer to when they are talking about the bouquet of a wine. Use a clear glass so you can see the wine. It’s worth the second or two to raise the stem toward light and just take a moment to appreciate the color.

Next, get a good corkscrew. A flimsy old corkscrew can be a hassle and an embarrassment. Corkscrews are really not expensive and, ideally, you should have more than one in your home.

Now all you need is wine. I recommend a Merlot or a Bordeaux blend like Kumkani Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot. This is a well-balanced wine with a blackcurrant and ripe berry fruit nose. This medium-bodied wine will be enjoyed by most red wine lovers as it has a soft tannin structure.

Source: LA Times Blogs

South Africa is becoming a New World wine force


Wines from Old World countries like France, Italy and Spain and New World wines from California seem to always garner most of the experts’ accolades. The majority absolutely deserve these high ratings, but there are many outstanding wines from other parts of the New World.

South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile are producing fabulous wines. In many cases, their prices are well below those of their European and California counterparts.

Over the past three years combined, these New World countries have accounted for 22 percent of the wines on Wine Spectator’s top 100 list. In 2006, 25 percent of the top 100 came from these countries.

South Africans have been making wine for many years. Over the past few years, they are getting recognised for making some quality wines.

They plant more white grapes than red. Much of the white produced is Chenin Blanc. They also have been making some very good Sauvignon Blanc.

Their top red varietals are Shiraz (Syrah), Cabernet Sauvignon and their creation Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. Pinotage used to be hard to find, but is starting to pop up more regularly at wine shops.

On international wine markets South African brands are doing exceptionally well. Leading South African wine producer, the company of wine people™, has announced an increase of 21.9% in sales of their flagship brand Arniston Bay. This is largely driven by the success of its revolutionary, environmentally friendly packaging format, the Arniston Bay pouch.

Wine of South Africa’s UK market manager, Jo Mason, said it is satisfying to see South Africa performing so well in one of its most established export markets. “South Africa enjoys an enviable image in the minds of UK consumers and the quality and value for money the country offers are clearly having an effect. The more established South African brands have been successful this year.

Source: Ventura County Star

Celebrating with wine


The month before the festive season tends to be the busiest period on the social calendar thanks to numerous year-end functions, and visits from friends and family. We’ll leave you to decide on the eat-some-morish menus and music, but here’s a few tips when choosing wine for the silly season.

In order to make a good recommendation for type and quantity of wine, I usually have a number of questions; I ask about budget, what type of food is being served, how many persons, are the majority of guests wine drinkers or not, how long is the event, is it mainly standing or sitting, what time of day is the event.

After a number of experiments with large and small events, I am beginning to realise that the bigger the guest list for the party, the fewer wine choices you should have unless wine is the primary focus of the event. Now I typically suggest four wines; a fruity light-bodied and a full-bodied white wine and a light-bodied and a full-bodied red wine.

If there are a lot of new wine drinkers expected I usually throw an off dry white wine or blush in the mix. Persons come to mix and mingle and most are not too concerned about what wine is in their glasses as long as it tastes good, so don’t break the bank for fancy wine; on the flip side don’t go with the cheapest product on the market either.

Examples of light to medium-bodied crisp, dry white wines are: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and blends containing these cultivars. These wines are all usually food-friendly.
RECOMMENDED WINES: The Arniston Bay Chenin Blanc Chardonnay is masterfully blended with pineapple and melon flavours on the nose. The Arniston Bay Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a dry white wine with melon, citrus and peach tones and is delicious served with seafood dishes.

Full-bodied whites: Chardonnay and Viognier. Other great white wine choices include some off dry and aromatic wines such as Gewurztraminer, Torrontes and Reisling.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Chardonnay which was partially fermented with oak chips to give a mini blockbuster wine with a crème brulée finish.

Medium-bodied reds to choose from are: Pinot Noir, Merlot, some blends.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Merlot which was partially aged in French oak barrels for eight months, and has a dark cherry and plum nose with a spicy palate.

Medium to full-bodied reds would include Bordeaux blends, Shiraz and blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinotage.
RECOMMENDED WINE: The Arniston Bay Reserve Shiraz has a rich fruit character with nice bubblegum notes and velvety tannins. Good weight and length, and is heavenly when paired with succulent roast beef or venison carpaccio.

How much wine to purchase?
Standing guests tend to consume more wine than when they are sitting, so factor four glasses per guest for a typical stand-around cocktail party lasting three to four hours in the evening. One regular 750ml bottle of wine can comfortably pour five to six glasses. If wine is the only drink, then buying one bottle per guest is recommended, with 2:1 red/white ratio. Of course this all depends on your target audience. The earlier the event the less people will consume – unless you’re having a beach or pool party.

Other Home Entertainment tips:

PREPARE FOR SPONTANEOUS EVENTS: Keep a mixed case of inexpensive favourite wines on hand, as well as a couple of bottles of the ever popular Merlot, Chardonnay and a bottle of champagne in the fridge. You’ll always be ready for drop-in guests or spur-of-the-moment celebrations.

CHILLING WINE QUICKLY: Your guests are arriving in 10 minutes and you forgot to chill the white. Sound familiar? Relax and, most importantly, resist the urge to throw the bottle in the freezer. The fastest way to chill a white is to submerge it in an ice bucket filled with a mixture of ice and cold water.

REMEMBER: A white that’s “too chilled” won’t be able to exhibit its full flavour and bouquet; and a red that’s too warm won’t show its full potential. A handy rule of thumb is to take whites out of the ice bucket a half-hour before serving, and place reds in the refrigerator for a half-hour before serving.

CHOOSING WINE GLASSES: Glasses vary in size and shape to enhance the aroma of a particular wine. Start with a set of all-purpose glasses for white and one for red, they must be tulip or pear-shaped; wide bottom, narrow top. Since champagne requires a tall narrow glass so that bubbles stay perky for as long as possible, you’ll want a nice set of flutes as well.
When filling a glass with white or red, stop just below half-full. Leaving room in the glass allows a wine to release its aromas and “open up”. Champagne flutes should be filled two-thirds of the way up.

TO DECANT OR NOT TO DECANT: Do you have an older (10 years or more), or a young full-bodied red on hand? Then yes! Break out your gorgeous decanter and go to it. Decanting separates unpleasant sediment from older wines, and aerates them. Big, younger reds simply benefit from having the opportunity to breathe (decanters, like red wine glasses, have a much larger opening than the slim neck of the wine bottle, giving oxygen easier access to the wine).

Some wines will benefit from an hour or so in the decanter before being served, while others can slowly be enjoyed right away. Either way, you’ll notice a progressive deepening of both aroma and taste as the wine opens up over the course of your gathering.

Cheers! Now go forth and try a few new wines.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Russia is probably the most exciting new wine market


Never mind the oligarchs. Russia is probably the most exciting new wine market to emerge in the past five years. Why? Because a growing slice of ordinary middle class Russian society has developed a taste for quality wine, according to Wine Intelligence’s Russian Wine Market Landscape report, published on 14 November 2008.
Based on a groundbreaking consumer survey of Russian drinkers of imported wine, and containing both the latest sales data and information about routes to market, this report provides an unprecedented insight into a rapidly growing wine market on the doorstep of Europe.

Unlike in the emerging Asian markets – to which Russia is often compared – people in this country are familiar with wine and are used to drinking it at the table with food. Wine was actually a popular choice during the Soviet era, and today Russians treat imported wine, especially from traditional European winemaking areas such as France, as a product with an important cultural value.

However Russia’s modern wine market is still relatively immature and has suffered two serious crises in the past 10 years, the financial crash of 1998 and the 2006 wine tax crisis – and as we enter the final weeks of 2008, the threat of a global economic downturn may yet precipitate another crisis in the wine industry.

Moscow is fundamental to the success of any aspiring wine producer, representing at least two thirds of all wine sales. It is followed by St. Petersburg, and a handful of other key population centres. With its Vinitrac® Russia study, Wine Intelligence has been among the first to survey real consumer behaviour in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the results of this groundbreaking consumer research are contained in the report.

While the global financial crisis may dampen some demand in the short term, the long term picture for wine in Russia is very encouraging. Wine Intelligence predicts that the Russian wine drinking population will more than double by 2020, which gives an opportunity for further sales and consumption growth. The challenge for the wine trade is to sustain this increase, as well as to educate a relatively unsophisticated market.

Earlier this year, Arniston Bay and Kumkani expanded their global footprint and entered this strategically important market despite complicated export procedures. A diverse variety of wine from these award-winning brands will be sold at major retailers in Russia.

 Business development manager, Mark Lester, said early indications are that Arniston Bay and Kumkani wines have a promising future in the Russian market. “Traditionally, Russian palates have leant towards European-styled wines as a result of historic influences on consumption patterns. However as the footprint widens for Russian businessmen and leisure travelers to countries beyond European shores, increased exposure to New World wine producing countries and their wines are bound to have an influence on their buying decisions back home. Simultaneously, the current growth in the number of New World brands appearing on local shelves in Russia along with improved access to disposable income will further contribute to interest creation and increased demand for these wines.”