No Sour Grapes for David Bullard

Neil Pendock December 18, 2008 8

Phone call from David Bullard this morning from Exclusive Books in Hyde Park. He was trying to buy a copy of Sour Grapes for himself as a Christmas stocking filler but although the bookshop says they have a copy, nobody can find it. Nothing on the food and wine shelves so I told him to check out Africana – that’s where the Killarney branch house their copy. Next to Stephen Gray’s biography of Herman Charles Bosman. Or could the Hyde Park copy have been shoplifted? Or was there such a stormloop after this morning’s Radio Sonder Grense panel discussion between wyn kenners Emile Joubert and Melvyn Minnaar on the blind versus sighted wine tasting issues raised in Sour Grapes that Exclusive is sold out? Unlikely…

David Bullard

As the teaser for Freek Robinson’s Praat Saam RSG program noted: “Freek Robinson praat op ‘n ligter trant oor die twiste in die wynbedryf. Ná ‘n onlangse boek van die kenner, Neil Pendock, spat die vonke oor bewerings van bevoordeling in wynproe, snobisme, hoogdrawendheid, klieks, buitensporige pryse en suur druiwe.”

My own contribution was an e-mail (in Afrikaans, nogal) to the studio noting that I had nothing against sighted tastings, per se, just that how could you expect realistic assessments when the people doing the sighted ratings are chairpersons of Backsberg, commercial winemakers reviewing their peers, retailers with stock to sell, etc.

Of course Sour Grapes is about much more than tasting methodologies as people who bother to read the book, rather than ego surfing the index looking for their own moniker, will find out. Some of them even write reviews of the book without bothering to read it. Now that takes real skill.


  1. Mealy Bug December 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm -

    Dearest Neil, (I would suppose that becuase of the radio station reference I should rather salute as such… Liewe Niel)

    I was sadened to learn of my abscence in your latest book. I poured over the pages of the index and found scant mention of my name. And there I thought that I had made my marc (pun intended).

    I do hope that a sequel is in the offing?

    With love and a mysterious sticky residue on your leaf,

    Mealy Bug.

  2. David Bullard December 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm -

    You’ll be pleased to learn Neil that they couldn’t find it on the shelves because it was proudly displayed on the “must buy” section at the front. Anyway….I’ve got my copy and will look forward to Christmas morning when I can unwrap it and start reading. I assume the ST won’t be punting it. When my book came out last year Mondli ordered it to be taken off the review pile with the comment “we don’t review white boy’s books at this paper”. WQhat can he have meant?

  3. Wyn December 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm -

    Hi Neil,
    Congratulations on the book and what an interesting read.
    I’m looking forward to the day that there are no more sighted tastings or seeded players in competition line ups, as is happening at the moment. Africa’s tough country, but why make it tougher for already relatively unknown wineries by lessening there chances of getting a top ten spot by seeding better know producers?
    War is war, but fair is fair. Seems not!?

  4. pondering December 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm -

    I didn’t listen to the RSG radio show, but pondered whether there could be balanced radio if Emile Joubert was involved.
    The same Emile Joubert who appeared on this blog in photos introducing Neil Pendock at his Sour Grapes launch at the Book Lounge in Cape Town.
    If people are going to get their knickers twisted about sighted vs blind tastings, the same should apply to discussions on the matter.

  5. Emile December 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm -

    A debate, Pondering, takes two to tango. One side – that would be I – was asked by the radio station to present a certain viewpoint. A representative from the other other side was asked to present the other, and so it was. Neither of us were requested to go on air singing New Seekers songs, holding hands and to gaze at each others sandals in the pursuit for objectivity. That is not what live radio debates are about. Yes, it is tough out there.

  6. mark norrish December 19, 2008 at 8:16 am -

    Hi Neil and David,
    Certain Ultra Liquors Stores in Gauteng , as well as in other regions stock Sour Grapes as well,

  7. Michael Olivier December 19, 2008 at 8:56 am -

    Do they also stock copies of my book crush 100 South African Wines to drink now Mark? That would be nice if they did!

  8. mark norrish December 19, 2008 at 9:46 am -

    ….would love to stock it Michael,but can only so do if someone contacts me with details…..

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