The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Lindsay Oram

    Dream Creation

    By Lindsay Oram
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    Creation Wine Dinner High Timber Restaurant London Monday 5th September 2016 Carolyn and Jean–Claude Martin, both coming from winemaking families, clearly have wine in their blood. Carolyn was brought up in the South African Cape while Jean Claude originates from Switzerland. It was unsurprising a forgone conclusion, therefore, that they would make and sell wine together. The dilemma was, perhaps, in which beautiful country it would be, Switzerland or South Africa. One of the key differences, and perhaps the deciding factor, between both countries is regulation. When Jean–Claude wanted to plant Sauvignon Blanc in a certain area in Switzerland strict regulation and the courts prevented him from doing so. Switzerland’s loss was South Africa’s gain, and in 2002 the couple decided create a wine estate in the beautiful area of Hemel–en– Aarde in the Overberg district of South Africa, and Creation Wine was born. Regulation here on grape plantings is far less restrictive, resulting in what could be described as a ‘rainbow nation of grapes’ being planted. At the Creation vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon live in harmony with Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Petit Verdot. Nonetheless not all varieties wanted to come to the party with Cabernet...
  2. Lindsay Oram

    Diversity and Longevity at Stellenbosch Vineyards

    By Lindsay Oram
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    Diversity and longevity You are always made to feel most welcome when visiting South African Wineries, but no more so than when you arrive 24 hours early for a visit at Stellenbosch Vineyards. I guess my excuse is my enthusiasm for the South African wine industry.   Stellenbosch Vineyards were the first cooperative in South Africa to form a wine company and since 1998 it has been a public company. Nonetheless this is not a new venture as the original Welmoed farm, where the current business is located, dates back to 1690.       In true professional style I am welcomed by Jonathen Ralph, who is responsible for sales in the U.K and parts of the European market. Jonathen explains that currently South Africa produces more wine than it consumes, as is true of many markets. So what are the solutions for a company that produces more than 1 million bottles annually? To export of course, this is the key to commercial viability. Certainly Stellenbosch vineyards have a strong export focus, having a fully staffed export department and strong distributor network. While these are crucial for export, in themselves they do not equal success. To succeed you must provide...
  3. Sarah Rowlands

    Bodega Chakana

    By Sarah Rowlands
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    By Sarah Rowlands, The Wine Diamond Sept 2016 A wine tasting from a pioneering Argentinian winery that has moved from conventional through organic to biodynamic winemaking.  Arranged in conjunction with the Circle of Wine Writers and Planet Thirst, and given by Gabriel Bloise, winemaker and general manager. Chakana is based at the heart of Argentinian winemaking, in Agrelo, Lujan de Cujo Valley south of Mendoza. Though only established in 2002 the friendly and knowledgeable Gabriel admits that he has changed the whole concept of his wines and the way he manages the 180ha estate. Originally conventional methods were used in the vineyards and the winery. This involved herbicides etc. and blocks of grapes were harvested at the same time. Selection then took place to decide, by tasting, which grapes were ripe and characterful enough for winemaking involving ageing and oak, and those destined for early drinking fruit forward styles. In the winery, wines were moulded using the saignée method to concentrate them, they were inoculated with yeast and acidity adjustments made to maintain freshness. Aiming to make better quality wines, the vineyard soils were studied in detail. The concept of the wines is now origin based.  Vineyards were surveyed...
  4. Lindsay Oram

    Issues and Opinions

    By Lindsay Oram
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    Allée Bleue 21st July 2016 Issues and opinions I love to ask those in the wine industry what, in their opinion, are the up and coming issues that the wine industry will have to address going forward. Many times the obvious issues are raised, such as climate change and the health and social issues associated with alcohol consumption, however sometimes I am surprised by the answers, as issues I had not considered are aired. This was the case during a visit to Allée Bleue wine estate, situated in the Franschhoek Valley South Africa. The estate, purchased in 1999, is owned by the Dauphin Family, but dates back to 1690. It is a 200 ha farm, of which 25 ha is vines and 100 ha is other crops, it also has a picturesque Cape Dutch house. The company produces 365,000 bottles of wine annually, 60% is exported, (the UK agent is Vinumterra) and 40% is home trade, with half being local through the onsite shop and hospitality facility. Daniel Van Zyl Du Toit has been the winemaker on the estate since 2009. For him the issues he faces are the world wide problems in the vineyard of downy and powdery mildew...