“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.” So said food and wine writer Andre Simon – and how right he is! So because we want the 2014 Indaba to be an occasion and an elegant and civilised one at that, it goes without saying that we will be providing you with some wine!
In previous years, we have had generous sponsorship from Arniston Bay and Van Loveren’s Tangled Tree wines and this year we are once again lucky to have a wine sponsor that will spoil us with some of the cape’s top wines over lunch. Stellenrust was established in 1928 and has ever since produced some of the most superb quality wines that the Stellenbosch region can offer. The current winemaker, Tertius Boshoff, was told by his father that he could only work on the family wine farm once he had obtained a university degree. One dentistry later, Tertius was back on the farm, determined to be a winemaker. Together with trained accountant-turned-viticulturist Kobie van der Westhuizen, they make a formidable team and the estate continues to garner international awards for their wines.
Sellenrust is one of the largest family-owned wine states in South Africa, consisting of about 400ha (200ha under vines) of which half lies in the Golden Triangle area of Stellenbosch, internationally recognised for some of the best red wine soil in South Africa. The other half is situated high up in the Bottelary Hills, renowned for its cool climate and late afternoon sea breezes swooping in from Cape Town to nurture both excellent white and red wines. The first wines under a StellenRust label in the modern era were from the 2004 vintage, this being 1 500 bottles of Bordeaux-style red blend Timeless. Chenin Blanc grapes comprise about a third of their Bottelary vines, and it is this grape variety for which they are best known – and rightly so. Although some of their vineyards are no more than five years old one 4ha block dating back to 1964 is responsible for their flagship Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc. Each bottle bears a plaque denoting the age of the vineyard in the vintage year, so “43” in the case of the maiden 2007, “44” in 2008, “45” in 2009 and “46” in 2010. These elegant, complex wines compete easily with the best that the Vouvray appelation in France (home of Chenin Blanc) can produce.
Stellenrust is arguable the largest wine estate in South Africa to be granted Fairtrade certification, meaning that they adhere to internationally recognised and audited standards in the production of their wines, in terms of ethical treatment and payment of their workers. The farm gained Fairtrade accreditation in 2010, which means that for every 0.75lt bottle of Fairtrade wine sold, 50 cents go directly to the farm workers. In 2005 the farm embarked on an economic empowerment programme for the benefit of the 70 workers living permanently on the farm by signing over 25% of the total 400ha to a company in which the workers are majority shareholders, so that the workers now farm this land for their own benefit and that of their families’.
In a world first for South Africa, in 2012 Stellenrust’s Chenin Blanc and Pinotage rosé wines beat stiff competition to be chosen by the London 2012 Olympics organisers as the official wines of the Olympics – anybody who drank a white or a rosé at any official venue during the Olympics was drinking Stellenrust wine. And on 22 February, you too can enjoy these wines over lunch, thanks to Stellenrust’s generous sponsorship and support of the Indaba.
And if the prospect of Stellenrust’s lovely wines has not yet persuaded you to attend, have you seen our funky venue? And have you heard that we will be auctioning off some truly amazing prizes in a charity auction to raise funds for the South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind, our chosen charity for 2014? Want to buy a ticket? Click here to register now. See you at the Indaba!