The all singing, all dancing media centre at the Solms Delta ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees yesterday confirmed, as one folk singer famously whined in the sixties, “the times they are a changing.” Gone are the earnest wine scribes with bad teeth and worse toes. Hello sexy black chix waving SABC TV News mikes as cultural weapons of the media empowered. Confirming that the new way to sell wine is to make it part of the cultural scene as the old channels run dry faster than an ATM on Cyprus. Platter sales continue to plummet – Vaughan Johnson used to move 2000 through his brave Waterfront emporium. This year he ordered 200 and still has 100 left to shift. Have Diners Club been sold a pup with distemper?
The Oesfees was pumping with people who would not ordinarily be seen dead with a glass of Shiraz, slukking the stuff to the beats of Albert Frost who looks suspiciously like Eben Sadie with a beard. Albert lives in Tulbagh, a short distance from Eben’s hideaway on the Paardeberg. Here he is with Oom Hannes Coetzee who showed him a few moves. All Albert needs is a helium balloon to raise his singing voice two octaves and some work on his ostrich dance (swivel on one foot with Saartjie Baartmans extended).
Once new Solms Delta winemaker Hagen Viljoen gets into his stride, the wine will be even more authentic. A Chenin Blanc to be called Steen – take that, Chenin Blanc Producers’ Association – is in the tank while a Cinsault bubbles away in the barrel. As Mark Solms (below with Richard Astor) noted “we’re radical conservatives.” Heck, he even quoted Jan Smuts to me (“in SA the worst never happens”) which dinged my dong as I’d just finished reading No Outspan by Denys Reitz, the general’s number 2 which is a total masterpiece. Just like the annual Oesfees.
BTW, is the gentleman in the hat at the top of this blog perhaps related to General Smuts? Why does everyone at the Oesfees look like someone else? For example, Mark tells me he’s related to Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, who will soon be promoted to King of the Netherlands. Mark says he will invite him to the Oesfees next year if he gets decent seats for the coronation. Here is Adam Ant.