Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Wine and women go with most things, in most circumstances and almost at any time - preferably just the two of you. When you include the movies, it becomes a date.

Sofia Coppola has won fame as director, producer and screenwriter, mostly for LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003) with Bill Murray (Bob Harris) and Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte) for which she won an Oscar for best original screenplay. Sofia is of course the daughter of film director and wine producer, Francis Ford Coppola. Taking this further, she created a range of SOFIA sparkling wines, which also contains a striking pink single-serve mini can.

Now, producing a film (a romantic-comedy) set in the wine industry is an entirely different matter.

You can take A WALK IN THE CLOUDS (1995) with Keanu Reeves (Paul Sutton) and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón (Victoria Arago), escaping on a nostalgic dream at The Clouds, the wine farm of the Arago family.

Ending A GOOD YEAR (2006) in Provençe, such as in the story with Russell Crowe (Max Skinner) and Marion Cotillard (Fanny Chenal), is certainly a much better option than drifting SIDEWAYS (2004) with Paul Giamatti (Miles Raymond) and Thomas Haden Church (Jack) in the Napa wine counties. Apart from two entirely different styles of romantic comedy, it displays the French and American lifestyles in the winelands and their different attitudes toward wine, women and love.
SIDEWAYS is the more critically acclaimed movie, however much you like the French ambiance.
This created a major cult following for Pinot Noir in the States. So, is it something to be exploited?

Since both France (but seen from an English point of view) and the US have had their version of wine and women amongst the vineyards, what about the rest of the wine producing countries? Here we already have an old world versus new world approach.

Have there been any other movies made with the winelands as a backdrop? More importantly, are they any good?

NEW BEGINNINGS WINES trade mark gets new custodian

The New Beginnings Wines trade mark has been taken under custodianship by FMS Food & Beverages SA, a trading house exporting some of South Africa’s iconic brands since 2000.

In accordance with an agreement signed on 26 August 2009 FMS SA receives exclusive rights on all exports of the NBW brand name. FMS SA has agreed to pay New Beginnings (owner of the NBW trade mark) royalties on all sales.

The aim of FMS SA is to expand the NBW brand name with integrity so as to assure the New Beginnings Farming Association a perennial and increasing source of regular income.

New Beginnings rose to fame when they became the first Black Economic Empowerment company in the wine industry in 1996 after a grant of land by Alan Nelson, owner of Nelson Estate. New Beginnings produced a Pinotage and a Cabernet Sauvignon in 2003 and a Chardonnay in 2006. The last stock of this Pinotage was sold in 2008 by FMS SA to Masuda Co. Ltd, an importer in Japan. It is mainly thanks to this company’s insistence on supporting the New Beginnings labourers plus the efficiency and vision of FMS SA that has enabled it to revitalise the New Beginnings brand name.

Once the New Beginnings labourers have re-nurtured their vineyards (2 ha Chardonnay, 3 ha Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 ha Pinotage, and 2 ha Shiraz) in Paarl the grapes will be vinified by a well-renowned cellar in Paarl. An additional 3 ha is being prepared for a white cultivar, which will be determined after tests with the aid of WIETA (Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association) and WIDA (Wine Industry Development Association).

The vision of FMS SA is to extend the NBW product range, to develop the NBW client base, and to enhance the quality and the professional image of NBW. With the focus of FMS SA only on wine exports, NBW will form an integral part of its portfolio.

FMS SA has been involved in marketing New Beginnings Wines since 2002. It exports high profile brands such as Eikendal, Groot Constantia, Helder Crest and Van Loveren to select markets, including high achieving boutique wine cellars such as Annex Kloof Wines, Bizoe Wines and Domaine Grier from France. FMS SA is a company with a level 4 Black Economic Empowerment listing.

The New Beginnings brand will be market driven and aim for medium to premium level wines while retaining excellent price to quality ratios. Wines from other empowerment projects will also be considered for inclusion under the New Beginnings label, should NBW not grow its own.

A 3-star Pinotage 2009 has been selected for bottling from Azania Wines, the private label division of Robertson Winery. This, including a 3-star Chardonnay 2009, has just been approved by our client in Japan, Masuda Co. Ltd. The Pinotage 2009 has been bottled on 14 September 2009.