A century ago, Jewish smouse (traders) from the Pale of Settlement rolled out the future to the Boland. Their synagogues, now redeployed as pastel painted museums, still stand as poignant memorials to a hardworking generation who built SA in the days when it was bicycles and not BEE that delivered. After a few generations of gentle urban gentrification, their place has been taken by Chinese merchants and Bruce Lee lookalikes with waving golden cats beckoning profits into Platteland shops stuffed with low price “made in China” treasures.
As Attie Louw, winemaker at Opstal Estate in the Breedekloof, told me last week “wine tasting alone is no longer good enough. You need to/have to offer something extra to most wine tourists these days. The public are spoiled for choice in a wine industry suffocated by competition.”
How many of the hundreds of thousands of annual Asian tourists to the Cape make it past the Sea Palace, Cape Point and the tasting room at Groot Constantia? Dynamic Swartland duo, designer Eugene Nortje and Bonzai boerekosmeister Mynhardt Joubert, have come up with a dynamic solution for embracing Asian tourists and call it dim.sum.vin.
The first one was rolled out to 250 Wellington producers and their guests (above) on the eve of Cape Wine 2012. A trade show whose contemporaneous Vindaba wine tourism expo will go down in the annals as the least written about tourism event in history. On day one, everyone thought Vindaba was a coat-check as there was no signage at all (see below). By banning the public from Cape Wine, WOSA effectively gutted Vindaba and let’s hope exhibitors will send their refund claims to Andre Morgenthal. An urgent enquiry is essential and some well-paid heads need to roll.
By way of pleasant contrast, dim.sum.vin is an exciting alternative to the tired old nostrums of Su & the Sisters that have been tried over the past 12 years and simply don’t work any more, if they ever did. Riebeek Cellars seized the opportunity and hosted two dim sum lunches at Circa Hotel. Easy to find as Bistro Bizerca, WOSA lunchtime HQ, was located on the ground floor. Marketing giant Morné Rall is shown below, in a sensitive shirt.
Dim.sum.vin is an edible example of Yellowism, not to be confused with the graffiti attack on a Mark Rothko painting at the Tate Modern in London yesterday. Future culinary yellowism events include a pop-up dim.sum bar at Food|Wine|Design on the roof of the Hyde Park shopping centre at the end of November.
The last Sunday of September (the day before China’s National Day) saw the old Dutch Reformed church hall in Riebeek Kasteel transformed into a dim sum bar for the day. This blog post is headlined with Stellenboschkloof wine royalty Wendy Appelbaum embracing the Asian dawn with environmentally friendly chopsticks. “We must do it in my barn” enthused Wendy.
A handful of ♥♥♥♥♥ Swartland stunners (from 147 so rated from blind tastings of over 2000 wines) for my upcoming Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide were carefully matched with dim sum made from Swartland ingredients such as the spicy sausages of Anton Espost. With 39 Stellenbosch WO wines on my Oak City ♥♥♥♥♥ hit list, a dim sum dinner in Stellenbosch will have devastating diversity.
One of the Riebeek-Kasteel dim sum diners liked the concept so much, he’s replaying it to 27 Asian restaurateurs later this month. A lunch that doubles as an unbeatable platform for wine marketing, even if the guests require that only white wines be served. If this kind of concept blows up your kimono, drop an e-mail to email@example.com to start the Asian balls rolling.