News from the world of Cape Wine Masters
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With the new year well on its way, and already in its second month, it is almost hard to believe that the December holidays are long gone.  With the big number of Cape Wine Masters who are winemakers as well, I know that they are already hard at work.  The MCC is already in the making, and the harvest is in full swing. We wish you well and look forward to tasting the fruits of your labour.
We will be welcoming new members into the Institute of Cape Wine Masters on Friday 5th of May 2017 at Van Ryn’s; the AGM will be on Saturday 6th of May, followed by the Gala Dinner (I urge all members to please try their utmost best to attend these events). All of this will be in and around Stellenbosch, and more information will follow shortly.
Conrad Louw
In this issue:
  • A region on the move - Languedoc wines offer the best added value! - Kristina Beuthner CWM
  • Travelling the winelands of Plettenberg Bay with Plett Tourism - Conrad Louw CWM
  • Amazing culinary experience in Oz - Debi van Flymen CWM
  • The mythical GS Cabernet 1966 - Raymond Noppé CWM
  • AOC = AOP
  • Reminder - member publications now available on our website
  • Bits & Pieces
A region on the move: Languedoc wines offer the best added value!
by Kristina Beuthner CWM

What an extraordinary synergy between Tourism and Wine: do you want to travel on the path “Heritage of wine in Languedoc” passing through L’Abbaye de Fontcaude, Saint-Chinian, Cruzy, Quarante and Capestang….or do you prefer “The Heritage of Schist soils”? Both routes are around 40 – 45 km, with suggestions of sites to visit, places to taste wines and where to eat (and I do not mean the Michelin Star restaurants in the area).

Imagine that this is only a tiny insight into the bigger area of the Herault Tourism Board, which again belongs to the bigger region of Languedoc, which stretches from Corbières in the south (bordering on Spain) to the west of the Rhône valley.

If you are a serious wine lover, then you would know about the newer appellations in the Languedoc vineyard area like La Clape (vineyards on the massif near Narbonne), Picpoul de Pinet (vineyards near the oyster beds of the lagoons) and Terrasses du Larzac (higher vineyards in northern area), but for now let’s look at the bigger picture.

To read the full article, please click here:
Travelling the winelands of Plettenberg Bay with Plett Tourism
by Conrad Louw CWM
Early in November 2016, I was invited by Plettenberg Bay Tourism to join them for a two-day ‘media tour’, in order to experience the Plett Winelands in a very special way. I am not sure why I was so lucky to have scored the invite, but I was not going to let go of such an opportunity.  Other than Bramon, I have not really visited any of the wine producers in the area to form an opinion of the wines they make.  The closest I came to that, was to visit the Plett Bubbly & Wine Festival at the Fat Fish Restaurant in George at the end of October.

Early on the Monday morning, we met at the first wine farm, LUKA, where the passionately proud owner Mark Barnard, waited for us.  The other invited guests included Denise Lindley, Vice Principal of the Francois Ferreira Academy, a cookery school in George; Peter Bishop, illustrious wine writer and taster living in the Garden Route area; and several others from diverse backgrounds, such as a photographer representing The Plett/Knysna Herald; an author-cum-barista from Knysna, a dentist and a couple of other wine lovers.

Read the full article by clicking here:
Amazing culinary experience in Oz - hedonism on a higher level
by Debi van Flymen CWM
I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Australia, visiting a number of wine regions and then sail to New Zealand exploring Central Otago, Marlborough, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay by day, returning to the high seas each night. Everything I thought I knew about these regions I learned from textbooks, tastings and second hand accounts. One could liken that to browsing black and white photographs. Visiting in person meant living colour; colourful people, places, wines and experiences. There are so many stories to share, insight gained into the industry as a whole and from every angle – sommeliers and retailers to winemakers and distributors, plus seeing how wine service on a luxury cruise liner is managed and executed.

There are exciting and experimental projects in all regions that parallel our own South African industry and global trends. Few of the wines tasted were jammy or over-extracted. I walked in a number of Australian vineyards that were over 100 years old; was reminded that New Zealand is the newest of new world producers with just 30 years of wine making history. The 25-day antipodean adventure was literally the trip of a lifetime.

Having been a chef and formerly firmly ensconced in the hospitality industry, one of my personal passions is pursuing food and wine pairing experiences. When a number of chef friends in Australia suggested trying Automata and then having wine loving friends and strangers echo that sentiment, I knew this was the indulgent experience and high note on which to end the journey. The spot is located in Sydney’s Chippendale neighbourhood within The Old Clare Hotel. Enlisting a friend to join me was relatively painless. He even made the booking and requisite arrangements as I was mid ocean. All I had to do was show up with a palate ready to indulge. Looking back, this night was one of the highlights of my trip and left me feeling invigorated, excited and inspired.

Read the full article by clicking here:
The mythical GS Cabernet 1966
by Raymond Noppé CWM

Towards the back end of last year I was invited to a very impromptu lunch gathering, with the aim to taste and discuss a few Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the organiser's private collection. Nine like-minded industry professionals gathered around a table at Delheim's Garden Restaurant, with the promise that it would be "nothing scholarly or serious, just a comparative tasting, and some chit chat".

We tasted 9 wines in total, including the likes of South African stalwarts Simonsig, Boekenhoutskloof, Rust & Vrede and Kanonkop, along with an American, a Chilean and a couple of French examples. What was supposed to be "nothing serious" suddenly turned into an occasion of extreme and intense interest and discussion, as the organiser whipped out a bottle of the legendary GS Cabernet 1966!


My heart literally skipped a beat, and with sweaty palms I lifted the glass to my nose, anticipating not only to taste history, but to become part of it. Could this be real? An opportunity to taste the ghost, the phantom, the mythical and legendary GS Cab? The tension and excitement around the table was palpable. Stories were shared about the origin of the wine, questions were asked whether George Spies really made it and very scholarly opinions were laid on the table as to how it managed to age so gracefully. Whatever the amount of mysticism that will always surround this wine, one thing is sure - it truly is South Africa's first 'perfect wine'.

Here are my tasting notes:
Almost non-existent colour gradation is testament to its staying power, with a ruby youthfulness around the edges still evident. Intense and layered aromas of Rooibos and mint, all intertwined with subtle savoury nuances. The texture is simply sublime - such fine and filigree tannins, but immensely powerful at the same time, and coated with pin-point fruit definition. Black fruits and herbs aplenty on the generous and lengthy finish. 50 years of heaven!!

A sincere thanks to Emile Joubert for sharing his private collection with us, and also to fellow guests Joaquim Sa, Christian Eedes, Fiona McDonald, Reg Holder, Guy Webber, Samarie Smith and Francois-Jacques Malan for contributing to an unforgettable wine experience!

More interesting facts and articles about this wine can be read here:

** On their most recent list of older vintage collectables, Wine Cellar in Cape Town shows that they still have 2 bottles left in stock, selling at R20 000 each.

The French government, not too long ago, officially announced that the long standing AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) system for wine is being replaced by a new quality ladder, with the top step being a AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protégée).

The AOP concept is supposed to be adopted by all EU countries over the next few years. So, we may be talking about the Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) possibly becoming a Denominazione di Origine Protettivo (DOP).

For France, the complete wine quality classification ladder was first put in place in 1937 with the adoption of the AOC and Vin de Table (VdT - "table wine") steps. That is, the "quality" and "table" wine steps.

In 1954 the Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) step was added to the system as a step to classify land being considered for promotion to (then) AOC status.

In 1976 the Vin de Pays (VdP) step was added as a "superior table wine" that could better compete with varietal-labelled wines in countries like the US.

So, the quality ladder in France, until last year, was:
  • Appellation d'Origine contrôlée (AOC - top step)
  • Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS)
  • Vin de Pays (VdP)
  • Vin de Table (VdT)
The new quality ladder is:
  • Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP - top step)
  • Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS)
  • Indication Geographique Protegée (IGP - replacing VdP)
  • Vin de Table (VdT)
However, it will be a couple of years before you see many labels with the new AOP designation. For wines that have many years of life you will continue to see the AOC statement for decades to come.

Article courtesy of the International Wine & Spirits Guild's website:
Reminder - member publications now available on our website
At the Institute’s AGM in May 2016 it was agreed that we should create an archive of the written contributions that members have made to the wine industry. This should go as far back as possible and as far as possible be kept up to date. This would be a visible testimony to the role of our members.
It involves collecting material that members have written for newspapers, magazines, books or websites and includes articles, opinion pieces and reviews. The submissions would be stored electronically and linked to the ICWM website so that researches or students could have access to them.

Quite a few members have responded to the request to send us their publications, which are now available to view on our website at the following link:

We invite all members to please send any related material to so that we can upload it onto our website.
Bits & Pieces
Shortly after the publication of our previous newsletter, we received the notice of resignation from one of the ICWM's longest standing members, Dick Davidson CWM. He qualified in 1991 and wrote his dissertation on the Alsace wine region in France. We would like to make use of this opportunity to thank Dick for all his contributions over the years, and wish him all the best for the future! 
In our previous edition, we mentioned that Clive Torr CWM resigned from the ICWM. The Institute would like to apologise sincerely for this mistake - Clive did not resign, and we are glad that he is still part of the family!

Editor for Mastercopy
There is a vacant position for the Editor of the Mastercopy.  This is a vital extension for the Institute of Cape Wine Masters, not only to us as a group, but also to the outside public.
This person will be responsible to gather and collate information and articles from other members of the Institute and publish the Mastercopy twice yearly, or more if there is enough information forthcoming.
Any person interested please contact Conrad Louw on 0833261844 or email him at
Jeff Grier CWM was very active as a wine judge during the following events last year:

Terroir awards held on Elsenburg from 6th July to 8th July 2016
Veritas Awards held at Nederburg (Cap Classique Category) on 8th Sept 2016
Cap Classique Challenge held at Nederburg on 19/20th July 2016

He was also the Chairman of the Technical Committee for the Chenin Blanc Challenge.
Kristina Beuthner CWM was a judge at last year's prestigious IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Challenge), as part of the category "South African Wines". The judging took place in July at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl.
Dr. Andy Roediger CWM was involved with the following wine competitions during 2016:
  • He judged at Michelangelo (brandy panel), IWSC, Veritas (Shiraz), Young Wine Show (final selection) and Shiraz panel. 
  • Andy has also been the Chairperson of the Shiraz SA judging for the past 3 years.
Some wise words from Andy on judging:
“The question arises how do you select a panel and what is your aim?  We have decided that an international judge lends weight, so we have had Cathy van Zyl MW, or Remington Norman MW.  Then we always want someone from retail who can add the consumerism point of view.  A sommelier to add diversity and to round it off, a winemaker or a person from the Cape Winemakers Guild (Francois Naudé), and then someone with a lot of experience like Charles Hopkins.  I think I am added for international experience.”
That's it for this edition!

Please remember to send us any information about your wine travels, judging experiences or other related articles so that we can publish it on our website and in future Mastercopies. All info can be send to our Communications Officer, Raymond, at

We hope to see most of you at the AGM weekend in May, and trust that this year will be filled with many happy wine memories!

Institute of Cape Wine Masters

** In the absence of an editor we would like to apologise for any errors which might have occurred **
Copyright © 2017 Institute of Cape Wine Masters, All rights reserved.

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