Video: making wine and visiting vineyards at Kanonkop

Really enjoyed visiting Kanonokop last week. I shot a film of the very traditional winemaking that takes place here, as well as looking at the old Pinotage vineyards.


Lunch with some interesting back-vintage South African wines

Higgo Jacobs, Richard Kershaw, Tim Atkin, Monty Waldin and Robin von Holdt

Some notes from the Top 100 South African Wines judges’ welcome lunch last Sunday, here at Rodwell House, St James.

It was a relaxed affair and Robin brought out quite a few older vintages of some rather good South African wines. A good start […]

More Top 100 judging

St James

Yesterday was another glorious day, most of which was spent judging wines.

This year’s Top 100 South African Wines has seen a higher standard of entries than last year. In part, this reflects the fast pace of change here: South African wines are getting better each year at the top end.

But it probably also […]

A day of firsts

Today was a day of firsts.

At 7 am, before the judging of the Top 100, Duncan Savage took three of us out for our first experience of surfing.

We went to Muizenberg beach, which is a great place to learn. The white sharks can be a problem, but as long as they don’t nibble you, it’s […]

The Top 100 South African Wines, day 1

The view from Rodwell House, St James

A busy day here in St James, judging the Top 100 South African Wines competition.

I was judging with Greg Sherwood and Duncan Savage. It was a really fun day. Lots of good wines, and we’re looking forward to trying more over the next couple of days. Time for […]

South Africa, day 3

Simon and Murray Barlow, Rustenberg

So the third and final day of my Stellenbosch visit. Next, I’m off to St James.

And it was another great day. First up, Rustenberg with Simon and Murray Barlow. A superbly consistent range of beautifully judged wines. New Ida’s Red is amazing value, and will be in the UK soon.

South Africa, day 2

Neil Ellis

Some great visits today. All in beautiful sunshine. Once again, pictures will have to suffice. Words will come later. The day began with a visit to Neil Ellis’ new cellar door. I like his wines a lot: they emphasize freshness and focus. I really liked his Pinotage, which was quite Burgundian. And he’s […]

In South Africa, day 1


Tired, now, after a great first day in South Africa. I landed this morning, had a quick refresh, then hit the road. Too tired to do proper write-ups now, so a few pictures will have to do.

Christiaan and his worm farm

First visit, the fabulous Waterkloof, with Werner Engelbrecht and farm manager Christiaan Loots. […]

A lovely, affordable Hunter Semillon

Very nice wine, this. Hunter Valley Semillon is a unique style of wine. Pale, fresh, light in youth, yet ages brilliantly. And it comes from a very warm wine region. A vinous paradox. This is a good one at a nice price, ready to drink now.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bottle-Aged Semillon 2006 Hunter Valley, Australia
10.5% […]

Managing a wine retail brand: comparing Majestic and Berry Bros & Rudd

Yesterday I was contacted by a brand consultant who is doing some work for a wine merchant. He wanted to pick my brains. The conversation got me thinking about brand management, and specifically the management of a wine retail brand.

Two of the strongest wine retailer ‘brands’ in the UK are Majestic and Berry Bros & […]