Archive for April 2011

What makes red wine red?

April 19, 2011

The most obvious thing about red wine is that it is red. How it got to be red is less obvious.

The juice of most wine grapes is clear, so how does red wine get to be red?  It’s the skin. Part of the red wine-making process is allowing the juice to remain in contact with the grape skins during fermentation. This prolonged contact allows not only colour, but many of the characteristics we associate with red wine to be extracted from the skin. This is responsible for the fundamental character differences between red and white wines.

One of the prominent substances coming from the skin are tannins. In order to mitigate the tannins in young red wines, winemakers blend less tannic varieties, like Merlot, with the higher tannin varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon. The French have been blending wines for hundreds of years. Bordeaux is a magnificent example.



Ingredient in red wine has health benefits

April 18, 2011


An ingredient called resveratrol found in red wine has remarkable health benefits including cancer prevention and protection of the heart and brain from damage, according to the latest research. Low to moderate drinking – especially of red wine – appears to reduce causes of mortality, while too much drinking causes multiple organ damage.

According to professor Lindsay Brown from the University of Queensland: “Reports on the benefits of red wine are almost two centuries old.

“Studies on the actions of resveratrol, one of the active non-alcoholic ingredients, were uncommon until research around 1997 showed prevention of cancers. This led to a dramatic interest in this compound.”

Dr. Brown said that resveratrol reduces age-related diseases such as inflammation, reverses diabetes and obesity and has many more benefits


Alto perfectly paired with pâtés

April 14, 2011

Known for its impressive collection of classically-styled reds, Stellenbosch estate Alto is now offering visitors a delicious combination of its reds, teamed up with home-made pâtés.

Each of the three wines in the range is combined with a pâté of the day. These are served on artisanal 100% rye bread made in the area, all just for R50.

Against the backdrop of dramatic mountain views, visitors can also enjoy red wine sundowners, served with freshly baked white bread, dukkah, pesto and extra virgin olive oil also priced at R50.

The tasting room is open 09h00 – 17h00, Monday – Fridays and 10h00 – 16h00, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.


New selection criteria for Cape Winemakers Guild wines

April 14, 2011


In selection criteria of wines for the annual Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction have been revised to boost creativity and achieve greater diversity of wines crafted exclusively for this Auction.

In terms of the new criteria adopted by the Guild this year, the final selection of the auction line-up will no longer be at the behest of tasting panels alone, but all 43 members will be able to have a wine on auction, provided it is free of technical defects and meets the highest standards of wine health measurement.

“We look forward to creating the most exciting and varied selection of fine wines available on auction by harnessing the exceptional talent of every one of our members to raise the quality and international ranking of South African wines,” says Guild Chairman Louis Strydom, who believes the new selection criteria will encourage members to be bold and to experiment in terms of terroir, cultivar and wine styles.

All wines will still be subjected to tastings by Guild members and chemical and microbiological analysis to ensure they meet the Guild’s high standards; but contrary to previous Auctions, the final decision now lies with the Guild member submitting the wine.

The Guild’s management committee introduced these changes after it appeared that the Auction wine selection process had the unintended consequence of encouraging the production of wines that would please the tasting panel and therefore created an averaging effect to the detriment of more unique and unusual styles.
Recognised as South Africa’s leading auction of rare wines open to the liquor and restaurant trade as well as the general public, the Guild Auction will remain unique in offering small quantities of wine, specially crafted to showcase the potential of South African wines to the trade and private buyer.

The 27th Nedbank CWG Auction will be held at the Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands on Saturday, 1 October 2011.

For further details and to attend the Auction tastings, visit