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The Masters of the Universe (Guest Post)

(images: eyesonafrica.ne, shebeenpub.com, news.aunz.yimg.com, experienceholidays.co.uk)

Following is guest post from Henré Rossouw. Henré is the social media strategist and blog author of WineCountry.co.za, an umbrella wine, food and lifestyle portal dedicated to the Paarl Wine Region. Paarl’s rich history, quality wines and breathtaking scenery makes it one of the wine landmarks of South Africa.

The Masters of the Universe

From sunny South Africa, the country that brought you Pinotage, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, Oscar winning performances by the monstrous Charlize Theron and talented Gavin Hood, sporting icons such as Gary Player and Ernie Els and now, the US Masters Champion of 2008, Trevor Immelman, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of Joe’s readers.

While Joe and his wife care for the most precious little thing on earth, he has granted me the opportunity to grace you with some wine flavoured news from my country.

Of course, very few articles about South Africa these days make it past the first couple of paragraphs without mentioning the unfortunate stain that Apartheid left on our page and the impact it had on our people, our economy and also our wine industry...

Since that fateful day in 1994 when the barriers of Aparthied had been torn down, our country went from strength to strength. I also can’t help but contribute our country’s rise to stature to our Rugby World Cup winning team that beat the New Zealand All Blacks on the 14th of June, 1995 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Due to an unfortunate incident prior to the final, it was almost seen as a touch from God that Chester Williams (born in my hometown Paarl) became only the second “player of colour” to don the Springbok jersey. Chester today is still seen as an icon to just about every rugby fan in South Africa.

Since 1994, the wine industry in South Africa boomed once again. For a country with a 350 year old wine history, the end of apartheid signified the beginning of New World penetration. Despite global recession, our international exports in 2001 have increased a massive 17.1% from the previous year.

While South Africa’s industry is very small, ranking in at only 16th with about 1.5% of global plantings it is our production and quality that sees us at 7th position, accounting for 3% of the world's wine.

"Since 1994, the wine industry in South Africa boomed once again. For a country with a 350 year old wine history, the end of apartheid signified the beginning of New World penetration."

Of course, it is our signature red grape, Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (grown under the name of Hermitage in South Africa) that distinguishes us from other wine producing countries.

Pinotage, a portmanteau of Pinot Noir and Hermitage, was first created by a South African Viticulture professor, Abraham Izak Perold in 1925 and received its first recognition in 1959 when it became champion at the Cape Wine Show.

Fast forward a couple of years, the birth of the Internet as it is known today, and a new trend in Internet usage - loosely termed as social media - and it was a winery from my neighbouring town, Wellington, that revolutionised the South African wine industry.

By employing blogging (this thing you’re reading here) as sole marketing tactic, Stormhoek Wines received international acclaim for groundbreaking marketing innovation!

They offered a free bottle of Stormhoek wine for each person commenting on their blog and also published a renowned UK liquor store’s discount voucher on their blog.

The rest, as they say, is history. A little closer to my home, it is the Paarl Wine Region which we thought could do with some much needed exposure. Nestled between the historic wine landmarks of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, it is widely known in local circles that Paarl, with its 105 wineries, produces some of the finest quality wines in South Africa.

The WineCountry website and blog pays tribute to this place I call home and we’re looking forward to playing host to more international visitors exploring the beauty of the Cape Winelands.

Till next time!

- The Plonk signing off.


www.ifoods.tv said...

Hi there

I just stumbled accross your blog through stumbleupon and love the clean design and the photos. I already have about 20 blogs in my RSS so don't normally stop and read them as already have more than i can read but the design here caught my eye! I started off as a blogger myself a year ago and like your blog always wanted to keep it fresh and clean and easy to read. I have started my own site for food bloggers, chefs and foodies in general to meet and share photos called www.ifoods.tv and would love to see some of your photos there. I set it up because I was frustrated that not enough people were seeing what I thought was my excellent blog and I afelt that every blogger in the world probably thought the same! It is basically a platform for bloggers to show off their photos and meet other foodies. Keep up the good work on the blog, have added you to make it 21 food blogs no! Cheers!

nipsum said...

Excuse me for my long silence.
My best regards in the future.

Joe Roberts said...

Hey Private Chef - thanks!

www.ifoods.tv looks very cool, by the way! I will sign up this week...


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