WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   FlySafair has been granted its license to operate domestic flights, having got its local ownership at a level below 75%, as required.

*   The City of Cape Town is threatening an intensive law and order program over the Easter weekend, with roadblocks in conjunction with the SA Police, aimed at reducing accidents.

*   Honest Chocolate has created a unique collection of chocolate busts of President Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille,Honest Choclate chocolate-political-figurines Mamphela Ramphele, and Julius Malema, to tie in with the forthcoming General Election, costing R70 each or R280 for the set.  They are available at their outlets at 66 Wale Street and 66 Albert Road in Woodstock. (received via e-mail from Honest Chocolate)

*   Tourists who overstay their visa while visiting South Africa may face a two year ban (more…)

Chenin Winter Showcase Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday we attended the Chenin Blanc Winter Showcase, held at Delaire Graff, at which 22 Chenin Blanc wines were presented for tasting.  The feedback was that Chenin Blanc is ‘flying‘, and the recent announcement that Standard Bank is sponsoring the Association has added a lot of confidence for both the producers and even drinkers of Chenin Blanc.  It was commented that the Chenin Blanc Association is the leader relative to other varietal associations in our country. Chenin Blanc is not only the largest wine cultivar in South Africa, but also is the ‘most dynamic wine category’ in South Africa, said Ken Forrester, Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association.

Standard Bank was visible through its branding on banners, pens, note pads, and tasting note sheets. CEO Ben Kruger, head of Business Banking in the Western Cape Willie du Plessis, and Western Cape marketing executive Ntombi Kulati attended too.  The total value of the sponsorship is R1,2 million over a three year period, starting at R300000 this year, and growing by R100000 each year.  The contract contains an option to renew the sponsorship.  The marketing muscle of the bank was seen as the major benefit for the Association’s winemakers, whose brands are likely to receive far more visibility in future.  The sponsorship also contains prize monies for an annual Chenin Blanc competition, the top ten Chenin Blanc winemakers being rewarded with a R20000 prize each, which is to go to the development of their staff. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Peace Table 2014 will take place on Tafelberg Road  below Table Mountain on 25 May, with a 3-course lunch for 700 prepared by Chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenhort in conjunction with Myatt in the V&A Waterfront.  There will be live music and a fashion show too.  Cost R480, all proceeds go to charity. (received via e-mail from The Little Black Book)

*   Schengen visa applications are likely to become more tourist-friendly from next year, reports Travel News Weekly.   The European Union wants to reduce the processing time of a visa, and to introduce a one-year touring visa in the 26-country Schengen area in Europe.   Regular travellers may receive multiple-entry visas for a three year period.

*   30000 Two Oceans Marathon runners are participating in the 45th race on Saturday, offered as a half and a full marathon and themed ‘Designed to Run‘ in recognition of Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014.  Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is estimating the event contributing R200 million to the province’s economy.   The province has sponsored R350000 for the event. There appear to be mainly local runners participating this year, with few accommodation bookings received. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)

*   All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be serving Cederberg Merlot Shiraz 2010 in Business Class. (more…)

Winelands WinetimesSouth Africa’s wine industry has a great fan in American wine economist Mike Veseth, who has visited our country twice in the past two years.  In his latest article, the third about his trip earlier this year, he praises the wine industry for dealing with the ‘bottlenecks it faces in selling its wines in the USA.  According to him, the design of the South African flag can be seen to reflect a bottleneck too!

Veseth visited in 2012, as the guest of Nederburg, addressing the Auction as guest speaker. He observed the wine industry then and compared it with his observations of his visit this year. He writes that it can be easier to make good wines than it is to sell and market them, and this applies to selling in the USA in particular.  He noted the increased confidence of our winemakers, and their ‘concrete plans‘ to tackle the marketing challenges, comparing his last two visits.  His observations of our wine industry over two visits are as follows:

1.   The leadership of the Winelands in Wine Tourism globally, a fantastic accolade. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*     More direct flights between Cape Town and Luanda in Angola could create close to 4000 jobs and close to R400 million for the economy, an Air Access strategy study has estimated said Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism.  The province’s Air Access strategy is to improve our competitiveness and we will focus on routes into Africa. Research shows a direct link between economic growth and improved air access. We are serious about investment, exports and tourism and direct routes play a major role in stimulating growth in these areas‘, the Minister said.  Two years ago the value of trade between Angola and our country was R31 billion, almost half of this from the Western Cape.  An increased number of direct flights would benefit tourism, and the oil and gas industry.  The Minister said that his department will work on increasing the number of flights. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s offices)

*   Tourism performance in the first quarter of 2014 (at 114.6) dipped slightly from the last quarter of 2013 (112.4),  despite the weaker exchange rate and international leisure tourism demand, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa FNB Tourism Business Index has measured, in a study conducted by Grant Thornton.  Tourism businesses’ optimism remains for the period ahead.  Interesting is that the study found that the tourism industry sees the general election on 7 May to have a negative impact  on tourism. (received via e-mail from the Tourism Business Council of South Africa) 

*   The Van Ryn range has won a double gold for the Van Ryn 15 Year Old, and two gold medals for its 12 Year Old and 20 Year Old at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa sister hotel Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat will host a 5 course (more…)

Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Glasses close up Whale Cottage PortfolioBlaauwklippen MD and Winemaker Rolf Zeitvogel is South Africa’s top Zinfandel specialist, a varietal he is passionate about.  At the Table Bay hotel a small group of writers was invited to attend a 10 year Blaauwklippen Zinfandel vertical tasting yesterday, the seventh presented by Blaauwklippen.

Our group had been invited to the tasting, in that we were unable to attend a previous tasting last month, a very generous offer.  The tasting was held in a section of the ball room of the Table Bay hotel, and we were welcomed withBlaauwklippen Zinfandel Ons Sprankel Whale Cottage Portfolio a glass of Blaauwklippen’s recently launched  Ons Sprankel Pétillant Rosé, with a lovely rose colour and unusually designed bottle to match the celebratory mood of the wine, topped with a Zork closure which allows one to close the bottle again.  It is made from White Zinfandel made in a blanc de noir style, with CO² added. This was served with canapés of oyster with grape (clever idea), and springbok carpaccio with avocado, gooseberry, tomato, and microherbs, perhaps a little too busy for such a tiny dish.

Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Rolf Zeitvogel Whale Cottage PortfolioThe tasting room was set up with large round tables, with only three guests at each, giving lots of space for the ten glasses in front of us.  We were given copies of slides, and tasting sheets on which we could make our own notes.  Rolf took us through a history of Blaauwklippen and its Zinfandel, having been grown as bush vines since 1978.  Walter Finlayson, Rolf’s predecessor at Blaauwklippen, made an award-winning Zinfandel in 1980, which won him inaugural Diners Club Winemaker of the Year in 1981.  Rolf took over the job in 2003, and never having made Zinfandel before, one of the first tasks was to create a vinoteque, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   For the first time Cape Town will be one of the locations for the International Triathlon Union’s 2014 World Triathlon Series, which was added to the 2014 schedule (with Chicago) this year.  Locations for the Series this year are Auckland, Yokohama, London, Chicago, Hamburg, Stockholm, Edmonton, and Cape Town, the latter event taking place in the V&A Waterfront on 26 and 27 April.  The ‘world’s best’ triathletes are said to participate in the Cape Town event.

*   Charlize Theron is to star in a romantic film ‘The Last Face’,  which her new fiancé (they are said to have got engaged yesterday) Sean Penn is to direct.  Theron is to star with Javier Bardem.  The movie is to be shot in ‘Africa’, and the couple has been sighted in Upington and the Augrabies Falls for their location search.  Penn was seen lunching at Dias Tavern in Cape Town last Thursday.

*   The La Colombe staff has been told that the restaurant is closing down.

*   Sir Richard Branson has bought the Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard in Franschhoek.

*   Oxford University Professor Charles Spence is testing a theory that the enjoyment of wine is influenced by the music (more…)

Mont Rochelle Supplied picThe biggest news ever for Franschhoek is that Sir Richard Branson has bought the Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard, his second South African property, also owning Ulusaba Private Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park.  The hotel was previously owned by Erwin Schnitzler and the late Miko Rwayitare.

Commenting on the deal Sir Richard said: ’I’m thrilled to be able to announce that we have entered into a sales agreement for Mont Rochelle and what I’m sure will be a ‘must visit’ winelands experience in South Africa and a fantastic addition to the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio’.

The 22-bedroom hotel on the 40 ha property is likely to close during the winter period for a refurbishment, and will re-open in summer.

Tara Whiting and Marius Botha of Acquire Africa, who handled the sale of Mont Rochelle to Branson, said: We’re positive that (more…)

Cape Town StadiumThe media release issued by the City of Cape Town last week appeared like a PR exercise to make its Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate look good after the sudden departure of the Directorate’s Grant Pascoe, former Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing.  The Directorate was blamed by Mayor Patricia de Lille for not performing well under Pascoe’s leadership.
Odd too was that the media release was issued by the City of Cape Town, and not by Cape Town Tourism, which has a PR agency, and usually is the spokesperson for the tourism industry in Cape Town.  Whilst quoting Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy towards the end of the release, its main spokesperson in the release was Anton Groenewald, the Tourism Directorate’s Executive Director, who has never been quoted in a media release before, all communication expressed by Pascoe in the past, even in Cape Town Tourism releases at one stage!   In releasing the statement via the City, the Cape Town Tourism media list did not receive the media statement.  We requested a copy from Groenewald, but have not received it yet, almost a week later!
If the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism had the tourism statistics relating to the period ending February 2014, one wonders why they waited four weeks to release the results, and why they were released the day after Pascoe’s departure!  Ironic is the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Forbes has published a wonderful article by Fathom travel website about Cape Town and the Winelands, describing it as a ‘mix of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Napa Valley – with a little Bilbao thrown in.  It recommends Table Mountain, penguins at ‘Boulder Bay’ (sic) ‘Beach‘, ‘design-centric’ shopping at Cape Quarter, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, ‘Victoria and Albert (sic) Waterfront‘, a township tour, Simonstown, Surf Shack in Muizenberg, Delaire Graff Restaurant, and Babylonstoren.  For shopping O.live, Nap, Merchants on Long, Monkey Biz, and African Nova are recommended.  Restaurant recommendations include Harbour House, Live Bait, Grand Café on the Beach, Bungalow, Bistro Sixteen82, The Greenhouse, The Test Kitchen, and The Round House.

*   Henco J (his surname is not revealed) from Pretoria is one of three winners of the Jameson First Shot awards, an annual opportunity to have a short film produced given to a resident of South Africa, Russia, and the USA by Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey.  The three winners will have their film produced in Los Angeles later this year, with actress Uma Thurman in the lead role in each.  Henco’s script is called ‘The Mundane Goddess’, and tells the story of Hera, the queen of Greek gods.

*   Palm Beach Illustrated writes with praise about South African wines, in an article entitled ‘South Africa Rising: Wine and Vineyard Renaissance’, and how these combine old-world tradition with cutting-edge techniques.  The article features (more…)

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