20 years ago: Wine magazine – April 2000

By , 2 April 2020



Some insight into SA wine’s recent history – this from the April 2000 issue of Wine Magazine:


The prize of a magnum of Dom Pérignon from Moët  & Chandon (then worth R1 400) for best letter to the editor went to Peter Gorst-Allman of Pretoria on the topic of the Cape Blend – extract as follows:

“Whether we need to go as far as planting vineyards of Mourvedre, Camenere, etc is a moot point. To search for a Cape Blend, available only in several decades, by planting numerous lesser know varietals… strikes me as economic suicide. Rather live with what we have, experiment with different blends, incorporating Pinotage, judge these at competitions and determine what the market will adopt.”


Three Paarl cellars – Fairview, Backsberg and Villiera (the latter subsequently Stellenbosch) were singled out as labels of choice by the British Labour Party on the strength of these wineries’ efforts to “uplift historically-disadvantaged communities”.


Durbanville Wine Route billed as an “Unsung Hero”.

Top ratings

New releases
Four and a Half Stars
Wide River Reserve NLH 1999 (made from Riesling by Robertson Co-op) – price: R25 (375ml)

Category tasting – Cabernet Sauvignon
1997 was up for review, a vintage marked by cool weather and intermittent downpours and hence viticulturally challenging. The panel felt that there was a “cavernous gap between the too-early picked and the optimally ripe wines”.

Four and a Half Stars
Knorhoek 1997 – price: R35
Thelema 1997 – price: R60

Four Stars
L’Avenir 1997 – price: R45
Rustenberg Peter Barlow 1997 – price: R95
Le Riche Reserve 1997 – price: R90
Saxenburg Private Collection 1997 – price: R120
Beyerskloof 1997 – price: R65
Signal Hill 1997 – price: R32
Fleur du Cap 1997 – price: R38
Goede Hoop 1997 – price: R27.50

Panel: Tony Mossop (chair), Allan Mullins, Christine Rudman, Sue van Wyk, Philip van Zyl

Restaurant reviews

La Masseria, Stellenbosch
Cento, Kensington, Johannesburg
The Famous Butchers Grill, Cape Town
La Campagnola, Bryanston, Johannesburg
Langoustine-by-the-Sea, Durban North


Full page, double-spread ads for Land Rover Vogue, BMW M5, Jetmaster New Gas Fires, Standard Bank Relationship Manager, Toyota Land Cruiser 100 V8, MasterCard Cape Gourmet Festival, Alfa Romeo GTV

Full page ads for Laborie, Sanlam Personal Portfolios, Moby Dick Rum, Jaguar, Nissan Patrol, Pongrácz


2 comment(s)

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    Tierseun | 3 April 2020

    Some useless information and back-of-the-envelope economics:

    Thelema now retails for R300 – a 5x increase at 8.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

    Peter Barlow now R550 – a 5.7x increase at 9.2% CAGR.

    CPIX for the period was around 5.7% per annum.

    ZAR / USD in April 2000 was around R6.55 and just prior to this Covid / downgrade crash was around R15.70 – a devaluation of 4.5% per annum.

    So wine farms increase their prices at higher than inflation, but many of their inputs are priced in USD so that eats away at those increases. So even though R550 a bottle sounds a lot now, relative to what you paid in the year 2000 it’s actually very much on par. Great deal for the consumer, terrible economics for the producer.

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