August is Women's Month and it has been a while since we really celebrated Women at wine.co.za, so I was delighted to find out about a casual gathering arranged by assistant winemaker Georgina Wilkinson from Allée Bleue for 1st August. Off I went and what a pleasure to connect with women of all ages and levels of experience in the world of wine.
Carol Maggs and Georgina and their very bubbly tasting room manager had arranged a lovey platter of goodies accompanied by delicious leek and potato soup to suit all dietary complications and each of us brought a bottle to share. Cindy Eveleigh from Great Domaines introduced us all to the most delicate yet surprisingly tough wine glasses which we enjoyed our wine in. Not often you get to enjoy wines in glasses worth R600+! Thank you Cindy!
It was special to see Dorothee Kirchner from Druk my Niet in Paarl/Wellington, who has been through a seriously traumatic 2.5 years since losing their home and much of their winery in the dreadful January 2017 fires. I was delighted to taste a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon which I discovered was made by the incredibly energetic Janine van Zyl, who not only makes wines from unique parcels from Robertson to Stellenbosch, but also is the brain behind artisanal ice cream called ColdGold. She supplies ice cream(dairy and non-dairy) to many establishment for their pairings. Just making wine and good ice cream is clearly not enough for this energiser bunny, and now she is also the owner and chef at the Delvera Restaurant. We all wondered when she sleeps! If you can find a way to taste her Keldermeisie Cabernet Sauvignon, I am sure you will not be disappointed!
There are a number of women who are studying at the UCT GSB Wine Business Course - with representatives on the night being Natasha Boks and Georgina Wilkinson. This has clearly engendered a sistahood - which is what women need - a space to connect and share. Natasha was the winemaker at Nederburg for 10 years and is now working on exporting wines to Nigeria and other African countries, alongside working with government to ensure transformation really does work in the agricultural and wine world. As Natasha says, 'I am a five-year girl. I need to keep changing and doing new things' Natasha is really committed to ensuring that things work and I have no doubt she will be remembered for making a significant difference in the South African Agricultural world over the next few years.
It seems that Stellenbosch University's Oenology degree attracts more women that Elsenburg (why is this?), and it was good to see the network of female graduates continuing their friendship.
Thanks to Georgina and Carol and the Allée Bleue team for hosting us and look forward to the next women's gathering. We need to do this more.