- Riebeek Kasteel | Photo by Mallix
Chief Winemaker Bruce Jack
A Capetonian whose curiosity and palate has taken him the length and breadth of the globe. Bruce completed his undergrad in Political Science and Literature at UCT and then read his Masters in Literature at St Andrew’s in Scotland. His subsequent winemaking degree came from the Roseworthy Campus at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Bruce is a pioneer, and in many respects a maverick, and what he brings to winemaking is an articulate opinion about his greatest passion.
Food Alchemist & Kitchen Cowboy Peter Goffe-Wood
Peter is on the judging panel for the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants in the World, as well as the Diners Club Wine list of the year. Born in London, he trained in South Africa and returned to work with some of Britain's top chefs in several award-winning London restaurants.
Back in South Africa, he helped to open the La Couronne Hotel & Winery (now Mont Rochelle) in Franschhoek. Conde Nast Traveller named it as one of the fifty most exciting restaurants in the world.
Peter has worked to develop some of the Cape’s best and busiest restaurants, including Blues, 95 Keerom Str, Balducci’s & Salt. GQ magazine took him on as food editor for eight years and he is a regular contributor to Men’s Health. Peter is author of Kitchen Cowboys and Blues Restaurant – the essence of Cape Town.
He featured alongside Ainsley Harriot on BBC Food’s Off the Menu and now appears as a judge on MasterChef SA.
Editor Andrew Arnott
Andrew studied Literature and Sociology at UCT before setting off on a global trek that saw him working under the seas of the Caribbean, on the snow covered slopes of the Canadian Rockies and writing for a variety of financial and travel institutions. Now at home in Cape Town, Andrew’s passions for wine and writing are married on this blog.
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Veraison Road Trip Posted on February 17 2006 by
Early yesterday morning I drove up the N1 from my home in Cape Town turning northwards on the R44 at Wellington, a small town sheltering from the promise of heat in a depression at the foot of the Groenberg mountains.
Beyond Wellington the R44 flings you on to the yellow and ochre swells of the Swartland - the rolling wheat stubble expanse popping a small smile inside your heart. I turn left at the hamlet of Hermon towards my first stop, The Outsider Shiraz Vineyard. Planted in 1976, the grumble of gnarly vines skips over the ridge like a thousand aging heavyweight boxers on the comeback trail.
Every year in this vineyard the same vine colours its precious rubies before all the others. This stage, “veraison”, sees the softening green berries slowly turn to ambitious pink, then red, then purple-black when fully ripe.
I walk through the dried grass between two rows, towards the Riebeek Kasteel mountain into whose wild wrinkles snatchings of morning sun disappear, unable to soften her ancient granite gaze. You always pull your eyes onto the ground in case a puff adder, still too cold from last night's reprieve, can't move away from your intrusion in time.
I am two rows too far down the slope when I spot the battered old vine, colouring up like a grandfather on Viagra and too many glasses of port. I clamber over the low, rusted trellis wires until I am face to face with the beginnings of Vintage 2006. The sight always forces a sigh from me, simultaneously the sound of relief, and the igniting of tingling nerves - those first high-school dance nerves, those on parade, up-to-the eyeballs-in-wonderment nerves, those toes-on-the-precipice, fingertips-on-lips, nerves. It confirms the world is still cranking over the seasons, just. But that old vine also snorts a pugnacious challenge to the tightrope-walking of harvest decisions - picking decisions, whose timing will determine the critical difference between a great wine from an also-ran, and a thriving wine business from failure.
I aim the mystical Subaru east, back to the R44 - The old warhorses of The Outsider Vineyard contained for a second in my rear-view mirror. The buzz has begun.