Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why WMS?

WMS can have many interpretations - Women, Music and Song; or Wine, Music and Song. However, the two titles combined would be better by far. Wine, Women and Song sounds a perfect combination to me. It is also a rhetorical figure of a triad or hendiatris; and opus 333 “Wine, Women and Song”, is a waltz by Johann Strauss II. Now you can drink, sing and dance with the woman (or man) you love…

Wine Marketing is what we do for a living, while wine drinking and appreciation (of wine, the one you’re with, and each small delight) is a highly regarded daily source of joy.

The title (WMS) I owe to the clever idea of Anne-Sophie DUBUS who spent January and February 2007 with FMS Food & Beverages SA as an International Marketing Trainee.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Non, pas du tout! Amehlo est Xhosa pour l’oeil. Et Ingwe est Xhosa pour un guépard. Mais c’est vrai que Ingwe produire les très bonnes vins du Bordeaux. Et c’est vrai l’Amehlo rouge 2003 être en la promotion sélective.

No, not at all! Amehlo is Xhosa for eye. And Ingwe is Xhosa for leopard. But it is true that Ingwe produces very good Bordeaux style wines. And it is true that Amehlo red 2003 is on a selective promotion.

Amehlo red 2003 ****1/2

Bordeaux style blend consisting of mainly cab. sauv. (46%), merlot (25%), malbec (15%), shiraz (10%), and petit verdot, all grown on the farm. Perfumed with irresistible raspberry and cherry, the wine is rich on the palate, with complex flavours of juicy red fruit, spice and chocolate well supported by subtle tannins. Spent 14- 18 months in French oak.

French flavour for Ingwe wines

Staff Reporter Mon, 19 Apr 2004

The Cape now offers a little taste of Bordeaux in the form of two world-class red blends from Ingwe, the wine farm owned by Alain Moueix, a scion of one of the famous French wine region's most important wine families. The new releases, Ingwe’s second red vintage, are the 2002 Ingwe, a typical Bordeaux-style blend and the farm’s flagship wine, and the 2002 Amelho.

Moueix purchased the farm — situated equidistant from Somerset West, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village and the False Bay shoreline — in 1997, attracted to it by his keen and innate sense of terroir. He began a planting programme of noble red varieties after in-depth soil tests had identified the most suitable sites. Plantings, which today cover 29 hectares, were mainly of the classic Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and some Petit Verdot. Shiraz was also planted, as was Sauvignon Blanc, which supplemented the existing vineyards on the farm.

Moueix believes that with the release of Ingwe’s second red vintage, the wines are now starting to show their full potential.

As a son of Bordeaux, Moueix is keen to make wines of fullness, refinement and length. The 2002 Ingwe is a Merlot (52 percent) and Cabernet Sauvignon (48 percent) blend, made in a classic style with refined and elegant tannins. The wine has delicate wood flavours and is suitable for long-term cellaring.

The 2002 Amelho is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (54 percent) with almost equal components of Shiraz and Merlot and a small portion of Malbec. The 2003 vintage saw the Shiraz component reduced, the Malbec increased and a small portion of Petit Verdot introduced. This full-bodied, lightly-wooded wine has a subtle style and is juicy and fruity. It is drinking well now and, owing to its good length, will benefit from cellaring for up to ten years.
From Old World to New World...

Moueix studied agriculture and viticulture at France's Toulouse university followed by a stint studying winemaking in cellars in France and California's Napa Valley. To learn more about the New World wine industry, he spent time in New Zealand at Kumeu River Wines, one of that country's most well-known and highly respected wineries.

A chance meeting in France in 1995 with South African Graham Knox, owner of the then Berg & Brook Winery in Simondium, led Moueix to the Cape, where he collaborated with Knox and gained considerable experience of local wine conditions.

At Ingwe, Moueix found the outstanding natural environment to make a unique South African red blend. True to his Bordeaux roots, Moueix and his team’s primary focus has been on establishing the Ingwe vineyards and maximising their potential for producing the highest quality fruit.

Moueix was joined by viticulturist Francois Baard in 1999, and Elsenburg-trained Ingwe winemaker PJ (Pieter Jacobus) Geyer in time for the 2002 harvest.

In addition to the red blends, the Ingwe label also produces a Sauvignon Blanc, which will next year be replaced by a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend.

The 2002 Ingwe retails at approximately R115 (including VAT), while the Amelho retails at approximately R75 (including VAT).

Thursday, March 13, 2008


A small output of high quality wine, or a river of low quality wine? What are the South African farmers to do? Make some more good wine I hope. Insipid wine does not just leave a bad taste in the mouth; it is also difficult to continuously get rid of at a decent price.

The next step is finding a proper way of telling the emerging middle class (Black Diamonds) about it. Yes, exports are all well and good, especially with the current rate of exchange, but it is always better to have a strong home base.

With all the international awards that the local wine industry is raking in, there certainly is a lot of talent around (not just winemakers, but also viticulturists and marketers), plus some terroirs that have achieved prime stature, even if not situated in France.

It seems quite straightforward to me that if you produce a superior wine, there will be sufficient buyers wanting to enjoy it. The proviso is to put it into a bottle with a label that is comparable to that quality. Then of course, you need to spread the word by means of advertising, publicity, tastings plus perhaps introductory or promotional offers to get the consumer to believe your message and wanting to share your history. As in all things, balance remains the key.

Everyone enjoys excellent quality, loves a good story, and most people are prepared to pay handsomely to enjoy greatness and share the status that such a label accompany.


A French proverb states that “The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations.” A tempting thought from the world’s biggest producer. Perhaps that is why their local consumption has been falling year after year and was (2nd after Luxembourg) at 48.5 litres per person per year in 2005. It must be added that Champagne and Cognac is enjoying unprecedented growth and success. After 10 years at the number one spot as exporter in terms of volume and value, Italy (1st) and Spain (2nd) have overtaken France in terms of volume during 2007.

Apart from offering their bad wine to unwanted family and friends, it has also been poured into the Gironde, Bordeaux in the distant past. Nowadays the farmers at least earn Euros by converting wine into fuel.

South Africa also has had some strange uses for its bad wine, such as providing it as rations to the farm labourers - the ‘dop’ system. Thankfully that practice has been stopped. Another option, earning the wineries income, was to pack it into foil bags and selling these ‘papsakke’ into the retail trade. Fortunately this has also been banned (18 September 2007). Our SA consumption figures have always been very low and declining (7.4L per person in 2005 from a high of 9.8L in 1997). But I am not so sure if any of these two practices have contributed to that low rate. Unlike France, South Africa’s wine exports by volume have been increasing at ±10% since 1995, reaching 20%+ during 2001 and 2002, but dipping to just over 5% growth in 2005.

Now let’s talk of good wine. You drink it of course, but there is much more to it than that. Len Evans, an Australian winemaker and critic, said, “Wine is not meant to be enjoyed for its own sake; it is the key to love and laughter with friends, to the enjoyment of food, beauty, humour, art and music. Its rewards are far beyond its cost.” Wine critic Jancis Robinson MW from the UK had this to say in 1997: “Wine is emphatically not a serious subject. Wine is one of life’s perks, an indulgence, a mood lifter, a social mixer.” Closer to home Bruce Jack of Flagstone once noted this on the making of wine, “We can drink in the wonder of it and share the majesty of it all.” And on selling wine Phillipe Wagenfuhrer, chef patron of Roots Restaurant had the following to say: “Ultimately, wine is about conviviality, about sharing, about recognising special moments. It’s not only about profitability.”

So there you have it all - a quick world tour on the use of wine. My view is that a good wine deserves to be shared, to be lingered over, to form a part of those special moments of your life, but also as a pick-me-up and perhaps as a pick-up! Indeed, why not?

Sources: Cape Wine Academy ‘Introduction to South African Wine’, WinesCape Issue 8 2006, John Platter South African Wines 2007, WINE magazine June 2007, WINE magazine August 2007, Wine Tourism News September 2007, E-lettre Nº 263 du 28 août 2007, The Andros Boutique Hotel.

Anton Blignault is CEO of FMS Food & Beverages SA, an international trading house focusing on the export of wines. Consulting services include setting up or updating restaurant wine lists, and organizing corporate or private wine-tasting functions.