| SA Wine Ratings, News, Opinion & Analysis

In praise of market fragmentation

One of the most important reasons I love wine is that, like popular music, it defies consolidation as an industry. If buying toothpaste comes down to a choice between Aquafresh, Colgate and maybe one or two others, the same is emphatically not the case when it comes to wine – over 7 000 current-release wines [...]

October 6, 2015
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Tim James: Looking at natural winemaking and “natural sweet” wines

Statistics can be most revealing, of course – but can need interrogating or supplementing if they are to lead one towards a correct understanding. Sometimes it starts the other way round, and statistics must be ransacked to find support for something already known (or suspected). That’s how the little investigative adventure I’m reporting on began [...]

October 5, 2015
by Tim James
with 1 Comment

Tim James: What’s really happening in Cape wine these days?

In the latest post on, Tim James accuses two important critics, namely Michael Fridjhon and James Molesworth of “misunderstanding Cape wine.” Fridjhon gets taken to task for referring to the Zoo Biscuits collective (incorporating Alheit Vineyards, Thorne & Daughte et al.) as the “lunatic fringe” whereas James “can’t see them as bizarre in any [...]

October 2, 2015
by Christian
with 6 Comments

Tim James: A visit to Spioenkop

Koen Roose led me to a hilltop on his Spioenkop estate in Elgin. All around the vines were thrusting forth little fistfuls of bright green into the spring sunshine, but the wind was gusting mightily – Koen says it seldom ceases here, just changes direction occasionally to bring rain, instead of cool air from the [...]

September 28, 2015
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Michael Fridjhon: SA’s white blends are great but do they sell?

If you put a bunch of South African wine geeks in a room and leave them to talk about what’s on their collective mind, sometime quite soon, alongside discussion about the Swartland, natural ferments and the unsung heroes of the revolution, the issue of Cape white blends will get an airing. Typically there will be [...]

September 23, 2015
by Michael Fridjhon
with 3 Comments

South Africa’s top six “iconic wine farms”

During a conversation over lunch yesterday, a winelands property agent asked me which South African wine farms I considered to be “iconic”. In 2011, self-made billionaire Zdenek Bakala and business associate Charles Harman acquired Klein Constantia for a reported R200 million and I guess the agent was asking what other properties would warrant that sort [...]

September 21, 2015
by Christian
with 9 Comments

Tim James: What makes a good tasting note?

Some years ago I had an enjoyable email correspondence with a Californian named Ian Joseph who objected (unfairly, of course!) to a tasting note of mine as “bulls**t”. We had a good-humoured interchange (see here ), which he trumpingly concluded with an enviable wine description from Russell Crowe in A Good Year: “Bouquet of a [...]

September 21, 2015
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Tim James: Against silly wine names

Has anyone else noticed the rash of silly phrases being given as names to wines? Blankbottle’s “Confessions of a White Glove Chaser” (a cabernet) is one of the most egregious examples. Sadly, I suspect we’re just at the beginning of a bizarre, artificial and irritating trend. In dear old classic Europe, the largest word on [...]

September 14, 2015
by Christian
with 8 Comments
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Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 and now lives on in digital form as We cover everything to do with South African wine.
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