Thursday 20 July 2023

De Trafford - Merlot Vertical

I’ll be upfront & admit that Merlot has never been a varietal that I’m particularly fond of. However, I recently indulged in a vertical tasting of Merlot from De Trafford Wines to learn more about the varietal from one of the most prominent winemakers in our country - David Trafford.

Interesting choice - the tasting was present from the youngest vintage, through to the oldest. We work our way through 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and finished with the 2001.

It was uncanny; each vintage so unique, yet so familiar. Every flight showed how the develops with age & how at different stages throughout life it too settles down, but still has that something that makes you go back for that 2nd & 3rd sip. 

David, a qualified architect, spoke about every vintage & recalls the ups & downs experienced with each. It was incredible to have an intimate sitting with an individual who can speak so passionately about the process & art of making wine. 

A good salesman? Yes. 
A great winemaker? Hell yes!

One thing that I definitely took from that evening was that one definitely does not have to enjoy a varietal in order to appreciate the wine that comes from it. 

My appreciation for a good Merlot has been benchmarked. And I’ll most definitely be exploring more of it, with a completely different mindset. 


Wednesday 5 July 2023

Spice Route - 2019 Chakalaka

The Spice Route Chakalaka is a Rhône style red blend. Using 6 varietals from bush vine, that thrive in the Swartland's harsh growing conditions - Carignan, Shiraz, Mataro (ie. Mourvedre), Durif (ie. Petite Sirah, Grenache Noir, Tannat to harmoniously express the unique terroir. A rich & robus velvety wine with layers of ripe dark berry fruits and savoury spices. 

Spice Route Winery’s name, a testament to their signature style of robust, spicy red wines, recalls the ancient mariners of the 15th century who went in search of exotic spices. In much the same way Charles Back’s search for exceptional vineyards took him sailing into the uncharted waters of the Swartland. Synonymous with exploration, adventure and innovation, Spice Route’s’ Journey of Discovery’ is on-going, venturing out further into the Western Cape’s wine regions in a quest to discover more extraordinary vineyards to expand their wine offering.

A deep ruby red in the glass, with ripe juicy black currant, cherry & plum notes. A lovely purity, with white pepper, spiced meats, smoky cloves, nutmeg & vanilla complementing the bold fruits. A full-bodied wine, with an intense, silky smooth rich texture. The palate shows the 
Rhône-style depth integrated with oak, smooth structured tannins & a lingering spice finish. Like a perfect combination of spices, this wine is meant to harmoniously bring together many different vineyards & varieties, each individual profile complementing the other to make the wine shine.

Most definitely a fantastic food wine
Just as the Chakalaka spicy South African relish adds the truly Proudly South African factor to any dish, so too the Spice Route Chakalaka, whether its's at home, in a fancy restaurant or around the fire, it enriches any occasion with delectable flavour and local flair.

Think intensely flavoured South African cuisine like curry, bobotie, braaied spicy meat (Shisa Nyama – served with Chakalaka relish and pap), Middle Eastern and Asian inspired cuisine.

Keeping it close to home, Chakalaka is a perfect complement to celebrated chef & charcuterie whizz, Neil Jewell’s famous charcuterie, available at Jewell’s Restaurant and Deli at the Spice Route Destination in Paarl. 
While Neil works his magic in the kitchen at this farm-to-table eatery, his wife Tina, a baker par excellence, looks after front of house. Neil’s passion lies in his homemade artisanal charcuterie that he prepares with mountains of patience & bucket loads of love. A chakalaka sausage to complement a glass of Spice Route’s luscious rich and robust Chakalaka Rhône-style red blend.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcases - 2023

Grab your tickets for the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcases

The countdown to the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction has officially started, as ticket sales for pre-auction events go live. Get yours now!

A highlight on the calendars of wine enthusiasts both local and abroad, the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction is set to take place on Friday, 6 and Saturday, 7 October 2023 at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.

The theme for this year’s auction is The Art of Wine and promises to be a feast for the senses.

As always, the build-up to the event will include various opportunities to taste this year’s auction wines and choose your favourites in advance.

Towards the end of August, the Guild will be hosting two Showcases - one in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg. These informal, walk-around tasting events will give you the opportunity to sample the 2023 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines and interact with the winemakers. Also available for tasting will be past auction wines and flagship wines from Guild Members.

The Showcase will feature a silent auction of signed, past CWG and flagship wines to raise funds for the Guild’s Protégé Programme. Light snacks will be served.

Tickets for the following events are now available for purchase on Quicket:

       24 August 2023: Cape Town Showcase (Get tickets)

       30 August 2023: Johannesburg Showcase (Get tickets)

New to the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction? Take a look at the Beginner’s Guide.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

#KWVWinemakersSelection - The Latest Wine Club

KWV Online is very excited to share the news about their new wine club, called Winemaker’s Selection!

The #KWVWinemakersSelection is a collection of nine KWV wines selected from the KWV_Cathedral Cellar, Laborie Wine, KWV The Mentors & KWV Classic Collection.

This new wine club launched on 1 April 2023 & is a quarterly door-to-door delivery of a curated box of nine KWV wines. A quarterly membership fee of R950 unlocks a whole exciting range of benefits, including premium access to yet-to-be released or unreleased wines & vintages. Other enticing benefits include additional discount on all online & in-store purchases, complementary wine tastings at KWV Emporium, & first option to attend KWV’s exclusive wine dinners & events.

Included in the 1st curated #KWVWinemakersSelection box -
2 x Laborie Chenin Blanc 2022
2 x Laborie Rose 2022
2 x KWV Classic Petit Verdot 2021
2 x Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2021
1 x KWV “The Mentors” Perold 2020 (A Cape Blend, Top 5 Unreleased & is only available to Wine Club Members.)

Celebrating the joys of food & wine pairing, enthusiasts will further appreciate that this first instalment of the wine club includes food-pairing suggestions for each wine as developed exclusively by KWV Ambassador Chef, Mynhardt Joubert.
“This is the perfect season to introduce a wine club, as people begin to withdraw to their homes for the colder winter. Entertaining at home, with fine wines and the perfect food pairings, is an enjoyable pleasure that KWV fully supports. This indulgent treat is now made so much easier with KWV’s new Winemaker’s Selection club,” said Liandra Kotzé, KWV Executive for Wines.

For #ChardonnayDay I delved into the Cathedral Cellar #Chardonnay! Showing a prominent nose of peach & mango with secondary aromas of orange blossom. A creamy textured palate shows hints of vanilla, pineapple & oak, following through with a fresh minerality on the palate.

Include in the 1st #KWVWinemakersSelection box - KWV “The Mentors” Perold 2020 (A Cape Blend, Top 5 Unreleased & is only available to Wine Club Members.)

This elegant and distinguished Cape Blend shows layers of fruitcake, anise & cranberry with lifted perfume, floral & marzipan aromas, & a touch of cigar box and pencil shavings. On the palate the structure is restrained & focused yet supple with sweet textured tannins & a finish of lingering intensity.

#KWVWineClub #kwvwineclub #kwvwinemakerselectionclub #jointhelegacy #kwvshop #WineRoutingWithLloyd 

Thursday 1 June 2023

Desperately Seeking - Souvlaki

Comedian,, author and speaker Costa Carastavrakis will be live on stage at the Theatre on the Square, Sandton from Wednesday, 12 July to Sunday 16 July 2023 for six  shows titled ‘Desperately Seeking Souvlaki’. Written and performed by Costa Carastavrakis and directed by Renos Spanoudes, ‘Desperately Seeking Souvlaki’ is a stand-up South African Greek comedy feast about a Greek man’s odyssey to finding his identity.  


Weekday shows are at 7:30pm with Saturday performances at 5pm and 8pm and the Sunday matinee at 3pm.  Book now at Computicket -, dial 0861 915 800 or visit your nearest Money Market counter at Shoprite Checkers stores nationwide. Owing to adult themes, patrons are advised the show carries a “NSFY” warning i.e. not safe for ‘γιαγιά’ (grandmother) nor is the show recommended for persons under 16 years.


Written last year, ‘Desperately Seeking Souvlaki’ is a seventy minute show takes the audience on a journey on what it’s like to be Costa, living in this world.  From hilarious gags about his upbringing to his dating escapades, Costa gets vulnerable not only showing the flaws in himself but in his community and South Africa. Such honesty, sharp wit and cheekiness means no one is safe and many parallels can be drawn between all communities in this country and this Greek condition that Costa highlights. 


Costa’s journey has been an interesting, colourful and eventful one. Living as a gay South African Greek man he faced prejudice in many forms and from a young age he learned to hide who he really was. Sadly, living in denial and failing to accept himself and his unique place in society nearly killed him. He developed coping mechanisms that included substance abuse which he wrote about in his book published in 2019,  I Am Costa: From Meth To Marathons.


True to his Greek spirit Costa wanted to take all the lessons in his life and healings and turn it into something creative and full of light.  That is where his comedy career was born. The very first time he appeared on stage was at the New York Gotham Comedy Club in 2014 where he trained under Stephen Rosenfeld of the American Comedy institute.  Since then he has performed short appearances all over Johannesburg  and even a stint in Malaysia last year.


Audiences are raving!  Facebook fan Robert Appelbaum says “I have not laughed so much in ages,” while Tony Zourides commented, “It hit me in the gut and the heart in the funniest way possible. Bravo”. After two sold out performances of ‘Desperately Seeking Souvlaki” in  Johannesburg, and recent sold out performances in Cape Town, Costa is embarking on a national tour of the show starting in Johannesburg in July with dates for Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria, Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) and Bloemfontein to be announced.


Whether you’re of Greek origin or if you’re wanting to enjoy a fun night out, don’t miss Desperately Seeking Souvlaki at the Theatre on the Square this July. Book now at Computicket or call Theatre on the Square 011 883 9606.

Wednesday 31 May 2023


Following on from the phenomenal sold out success of the Ndlovu Youth Choir in Concert in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2022, local promoter Showtime Management is pleased to announce the return of Ndlovu Youth Choir for five shows only in each city.  The Ndlovu Youth Choir’s SA Tour kicks off at Montecasino’s Teatro on Friday 25 August at 7:30pm followed by two performances on Saturday 26 August at 3pm and 7:30pm and two shows on Sunday, 27 August at 2pm and 6pm. Cape Town concerts at the Artscape take place on Friday, 13 October at 7:30pm;  Saturday, 14 October at 3pm at 7:30pm and Sunday, 15 October at 2pm and 6pm. Tickets are now on sale at or


Since its inception in 2009, the Ndlovu Youth Choir has become one of South Africa’s most treasured choral groups also recognised globally for their unique musical locally and internationally with a recent tours across the USA and forthcoming tours to Germany and the Netherlands which includes performances at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and the Carnegie Hall Summer Festival in Bryant Park, New York.


“The Ndlovu Youth Choir brings an incredible energy to every performance and we are proud to bring Africa’s singing ambassadors back on stage to share their talents with audiences in Johannesburg and Cape Town in this return concert series,” says Tony Feldman of Showtime Management. “The popularity of the Choir is enormous and soon they will be back, by popular demand.”


The fifteen choristers, live 3-piece band and conductor, composer and producer, Ralf Schmitt are ready to bring new life to this year’s local tour.  The Ndlovu Youth Choir in Concert features many of the Choir’s famous hits such as Africa, Easy On Me, Shape of You, Higher Love, Man in the Mirror, and We Will Rise.  The repertoire also features Mbube and Special Star as well as some original compositions, including Grateful and Celebrate  from their third studio album entitled ‘Grateful’.


From their home base in the Moutse Valley in rural Limpopo to reaching the finals of America's Got Talent (Season 14) the Ndlovu Youth Choir has played sold-out performances in Europe, America, and Africa and appeared on many local and international  television and radio shows.  They have collaborated with many artists such as Master KG, P!nk, Sun-El Musician, Kygo and performed for the likes of Trevor Noah, King Charles and Bill Gates. Soon they will be in concert in Johannesburg and Cape Town.


Celebrate this country’s talented youth with the highly talented and proudly South African Ndlovu Youth Choir. Seats are limited so hurry,  book today at and  #NdlovuLIVE

Tuesday 23 May 2023


“Belinda is Back” by popular demand!  South African singing sensation Belinda Davids returns to the Joburg Theatre with The Greatest Love of All* at the iconic Mandela Theatre from the 24 August to 10 September 2023. Last year’s sold-out run exceeded all expectations, resulting in an unprecedented demand for tickets which led to the 2023 return season. To avoid disappointment, fans are encouraged to book sooner rather than later. Tickets on sale at


Belinda Davids, a RiSA chart-topping artist who has performed alongside the likes of Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole and Monica and featured on Fox TV’s ‘Showtime at the Apollo’, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and BBC1 TV’s ‘Even Better Than the Real Thing’ will be performing a very special return season including additional songs from the Whitney Houston repertoire.  The state-of-the-art sound, lighting, vision and theatrical effects together with mesmerising vocals by Belinda Davids brings Whitney Houston’s musical legacy to life. 


The Greatest Love of all is an acclaimed tribute show described as “mind-blowingly spot on”.  Critics and fans the world over hail this show an “entertainment spectacle”. Broadway World says that Davids is a star in her own right; “she commands the stage and fills the space with her presence.”


The vocal prowess of Belinda Davids continues to wow audiences across the world including the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and of course South Africa.  “The high demand for tickets for last year’s season was phenomenal. As soon as the shows sold out we were inundated with requests from fans were asking for a return season,” says Xoliswa Nduneni -Ngema, Chief Executive Officer at Joburg City Theatres.  “Belinda Davids will be back and we are privileged to host her return to the Joburg Theatre.”


The two-hour production will fill you with joy, nostalgia and wonderment as it takes you on a heartfelt journey through Houston’s greatest hits including ‘I Will Always Love You, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody, ‘How Will I Know’, ‘One Moment in Time’, ‘I Have Nothing’, ‘Run to You’, ‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All’, ‘Greatest Love of All’, ‘I’m Every Woman’, ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘Exhale (Shoop Shoop)’, ‘Million Dollar Bill’ and more.


Belinda Davids was recently invited to audition at the Got Talent All-Stars competition held in Spain earlier this month. Featuring acts from shows such as America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent, Belinda’s “Golden Buzzer” moment is available on YouTube @gottalentespana or the website

Belinda Davids in The Greatest Love of All continues to wow audiences in the across the globe as it gathers glowing reviews worldwide. Don’t miss The Greatest Love of All at Joburg Theatre. It’s a hot, hot ticket! Book now, #TGLOA  (*This production is not associated with the Estate of Whitney Houston).

Wednesday 3 May 2023


The highly anticipated South African Cheese Festival is back in Stellenbosch this year with new dates and new owners. Sandringham Estate will play host to the outdoor culinary event from Friday 22 to Monday 25 September 2023, over the Heritage Day long weekend.  The new festival owners, a consortium of private investors and the DGTL Marketing Group, have revamped the popular event to celebrate all things cheese, wine, and entertainment for the whole family over four days.

The SA Cheese Festival has been a long-standing tradition in the Cape Winelands since 2002 and has established itself as South Africa's only cheese-focused event. To take it to the next level, the new owners bring extensive experience in organising, marketing, and presenting lifestyle events across the country. They have breathed new life into the SA Cheese Festival, and visitors can expect a sensational experience.



The festival will kick off with B2B-focused sessions on Friday 22 September, to facilitate trade between exhibitors and buyers from major retail outlets. The festival will then officially open on Friday evening with a music festival. From Saturday 23 to Monday 25 September, the long weekend welcomes public visitors with over 150 exhibitors showcasing the best cheese offerings, along with other food options and multiple wine and craft beer vendors.


Leading local artists will provide live music, while improved kids' entertainment facilities and carnival-style theme park activities will keep the entire family entertained. One new addition to the SA Cheese Festival will be the availability of hospitality options for partners and sponsors. Private or shared hospitality suites with dedicated facilities and unique experiences will be on offer, tailored to the needs of the sponsors.



Jacques Fourie, representing the new owners, stated, "We are delighted to confirm the 2023 event and excited to work with all exhibitors and partners to ensure the continued success of this important event on the Western Cape events calendar. The 2023 event effectively becomes the 20th edition of the SA Cheese Festival, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to COVID, and a scaled-down event took place last year. It now possesses all the ingredients necessary to become a flagship event on the culinary calendar in South Africa."


According to Fourie, the new owners also have plans to bring the SA Cheese Festival to Johannesburg and KwaZulu Natal as early as 2024, which will undoubtedly increase the value for existing partners and exhibitors.


“The SA Cheese Festival is a remarkable experience for food lovers and connoisseurs,” Fourie said. “With an array of culinary vendors, local wines, craft beers, gin, live music, and entertaining foodie shows, there's something for everyone at this festival. The delicious cheese varieties and artisanal products available for tasting and purchase will tantalise your taste buds, and the vibrant atmosphere will leave you with unforgettable memories. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or simply curious to try new flavours, the 2023 SA Cheese Festival is an event not to be missed!”



Further announcements will be made regarding ticket prices and hospitality offerings in the coming weeks, with tickets expected to go on sale during June 2023, limited to 10 000 visitors per day. Follow the SA Cheese Festival on social media Facebook @SACheeseFestival, Instagram & Twitter @SACheeseFest. #SACheeseFest and #CheeseLovers and keep an eye on the festival website at  

Tuesday 25 April 2023


Nederburg’s chief takeouts of vintage 2023 are wines with outstanding flavour, high acids and lower than average alcohol levels, according to cellar-master Samuel Viljoen. He was speaking after the final leg of the harvest, just ahead of the Easter break. 


“Generally cooler temperatures in the lead up to harvest ensured slow and steady flavour development with good concentration and good acids. Notwithstanding a few very hot but short spells during February and March, the days weren’t overwhelmingly hot. A steep drop in night temperatures also helped.  


“These sympathetic climatic conditions, together with the impact of regenerative farming measures that are helping to make for more climate-resilient vines, and our careful canopy management all contributed to well-ripened fruit at lower sugar levels. We were able to pick at around 23° Balling, with alcohol levels down by 0,5% to 1% in some instances,” he confirmed. 


Isabel Teubes, who is Nederburg’s viticulturist, said crop levels were slightly down on last year. “This is consistent with the experience of most growers across the Cape this vintage. Overall, a 6% decline is being expected, compared with last year’s intake. Our crop size was pretty much in line with that.” 


Good December rains had helped to ameliorate the impact of a dry winter and spring, she said. “This was especially helpful for our dryland vineyards, keeping the vines in excellent shape right up until picking. Rains again in March helped the later-ripening reds. By then of course, the whites had all been harvested but in the main, the reds still on the vine benefitted from the good moisture levels in the soils. 


“There’s general agreement within the industry that this year’s fruit has been of excellent quality. For us, it’s been pretty much a Goldilocks vintage with phenolic ripening at lower sugars, acid levels just right and beautiful, vibrant flavours. As far as the reds are concerned, the strong contrast in day and night temperatures was a boon for colour intensity, along with small berry size which created a positive skin to fruit ratio. Tannins were also perfectly ripe.” 


Teubes said growers who were not reliant on irrigation, had had to work very nimbly around the challenges brought on by loadshedding. “They had to contend with constant interruptions to irrigation schedules, but farmers are nothing if not resourceful. Fortunately, the cellar wasn’t impacted, thanks to the installation of solar panels and generators.” 


Viljoen added that “the slower, consistent ripening meant grapes were coming in at a steady pace, rather than in fits and starts, and that made things easier to handle logistically. We were grateful for having access to power in the cellars. Without it, controlling ferments would have been extremely difficult. 


“Whole-bunch and submerged cap fermentation are giving our reds vibrant fruits and beautifully supple tannins. We’re expecting outstanding, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon wines. I can say the same for our other reds too, some of which will feature solo and others in our Cab-based blends. 


“Our whites, especially the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, are showing beautifully with remarkable purity of fruit. 


“All round, we are very excited about vintage 2023.”