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CONGRATS!!

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Congratulations to our friend, Jamie Goode who won “Wine Writer of The Year” at the 2007 Glenfiddich Awards!! Very much deserved, so, well done Sir! The Drinks book of the year award was won by Williamson and Moore’s “Wine Behind the Label”. We were delighted to see a really nice write-up for our Stormhoek Sauvignon Blanc, by Jamie, in the Sunday Express this weekend.

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What we’re up to…

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We’re crazy busy right now! Hugh and Jason get back from Seattle tomorrow after their presentation at Marketsmart 2007. Apparently it all went very well - Hugh even had the audience clapping along to “the Stormhoek song”!

The rest of us are working on “Project UnderSea” - new packaging for our Stormhoek core range. We’re nearly there and we can’t wait to show it to you! It will be on shelf in June/July 2007.

We’ve also got our Couture launch - rose that tastes better over ice, and some new cartoon labels from Hugh.

The last week in May sees us at the LIWSF (London International Wine and Spirits Fair). So, we’re flat out organising & managing some innovative activity for the Fair: “The Smarter Wine Show”- a mini theatre showcasing some of the leaders of the wine industry talking about innovation in today’s changing world - on the big screen and Wine Fair Live (WFL). WFL is a live website that will be shown on a hugh concert screen in the boulevard. It includes a daily wine gossip blog, pre-recorded interviews with some notable figureheads in the industry, live events and naughty goings-on from the night before. We’ll keep you up to date as we go along!

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When famous people come to town

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A couple of weeks ago, Cape Town was stirred by the presence of Laurence Lessig and Jimmy Wales.
They were having dinner at A Touch of Madness and I was invited to come and meet them.
Well, wouldn’t you like to meet the people behind Creative Commons and Wikipedia?
They were deep in conversation with a dozen people at a very crowded table in a packed dining room. All kinds of other celebrities had come to have dinner with Laurence and Jimbo, but who also could not find space at this table. We talked to each other and drank wine.
“Never mind, there’s a cocktail party with a few of the press after this. You can talk to them there.”
The cocktail party was upstairs in a private room at the Armchair Theatre, venue for a big music gig and speeches later.
To get upstairs, you had to pass a security man. I brought a few bottles of wine with me and was allowed in.
Every room upstairs was full of people, face to face, shoulder to shoulder. No sign of Lawrence or Jimbo. I found myself listening to an American accent. Bettina Lessig is a lawyer like her husband. We discussed babies. (She is a new mother and I am a grandfather of a 2 year old, so we are both experts).
I shook hands with Laurence but missed his speech.
I listened to Jimmy talk and was surprised that he sounded just like one of us. This guy has had at least 3 astonishing careers and is just getting started.
I hope that they come back someday. It would be nice to talk to them.

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Do you know his name?

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This little feller (he/she?) spends each winter night alone on the exterior end of this rafter, which helps support the roof of our home.
Every morning, it’s as if he (let’s assume that we’re talking about a male) was never there. After dark, he is back in the same place. It’s clearly home. No nest, no comforts, no companion, no babies. Just shelter from the rain, if and when it comes.
We don’t know where he goes in the daytime. Or indeed, in summer. When he’s gone, the rafter is bare, just like the other rafters.
The rest of us in the house have never seen our fellow resident arrive or leave.
We have only seen him during the last two winters. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t here before that. We probably just never looked up (his rafter is about 4m above the ground), while walking to the car in the dark.
He was found by Kealan (our grandson) last year, looking for geckos with a torch.
I’m sorry about the quality of the picture. Not easy to aim a camera in the dark. And our shy friend doesn’t seem to like torches or camera flashes. They interupt his sleep. He pulls back and tries to make himself smaller. And I don’t want to make him feel like he is unwanted and have to find another home.
Perhaps he sleeps at your place in summer.
Maybe he hunts for his lunch in your garden.
If you can help, Kealan and I would like to know more about Birdie X (or Y).

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We’re Guest Speakers today, at Marketsmart 2007 (AMA)

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Jason and Hugh are in Seattle today at the Bell Harbor International Conference Centre. They’ve been asked to speak at MarketSmart 2007 - a yearly event held by the American Marketing Association. Our topic is “Using Web 2.0 as a Tool for Decommodification” - How does “…a tiny South African winery that nobody had ever heard of” turn into the most talked-about wine brand on the web?

Other guest speakers include YouTube, Redfin & Zillow, Jones Soda & DECA Students, Digital Kitchen, and “Why Wal-Mart Works”.

As soon as i get some footage, I’ll post it! Can’t wait to see it as i’ve watched these two practise and prepare and it’s been amusing!

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Olly Smith ROCKS at Nandos!

One of my favourite wine writers in the UK is the charismatic Olly Smith http://www.ollysmith.co.uk/. He hosted the launch of Nando’s Wine Festival last night and kept us entertained with amusing stories from his past and his passionate views on what the wine industry should be - less snobby, more fun and more entertaining for consumers. Some of his top comments included, “labels need to reach out and say drink me! I’m better than the dog’s bollocks! (an English term for fantastic)”, “wine tastings should be rock festivals” and a great compliment to Stormhoek, saying “Stormhoek is like Robbie Williams with soul…brilliant and interesting”. We like this guy! Have a look at a snippet from last night.

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Stormhoek in Nando’s Wine Festival

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Nando’s launched its wine festival last night, at its flagship store near Vinopolis, London Bridge. They invited Nick, Chris, Andrew, Rob and I and we invited the delightful Jo Mason, head of WOSA, as our guest. The wine festival started on the 30th April and ends on the 13th May and all you have to do is go into a restaurant, buy 2 glasses and you get the rest of the bottle free! Stormhoek is part of the new wine list, “which reflects Nando’s Portugese and African heritage, as well as being outstanding quality and fantastic value for money”. Their flagship restaurant is very impressive and reflects their vision of really upping their game, to be taken as a serious restaurant chain with the consumer at heart.

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Andre Morgan from Choice FM - Winner of Hugh’s cartoon, with Chris Smith

Hugh drew a fantastic A3 cartoon for the auction and Andrew won a huge hamper of wine, olives & sauces. There are now over 140 Nandos restaurants in the UK and more around the world - Australia, USA etc.

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Tagline Feedback Requested!

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We’re having an internal discussion at Stormhoek, about what the final tagline on the front label of our new “Couture Rose” should be. The main take-out is that we want to communicate in a fun, funky way that this rose tastes BEST with ice (’cos it does!). Expressed in as few words as possible. Here’s our shortlist:

1. Magic over ice
2. So nice with ice
3. Pour over ice
4. Nice over ice
5. Happiest over ice
6. Best over Ice

Some of Hugh’s readers have recommended the following (some of my favourites so far…)

1. Accessorize with Ice
2. Ice. Drink. Repeat
3. Made for Ice
4. Best served over Ice
5. The New Ice Age
6. Twice as nice with Ice

Anybody have any ideas? All opinions and different suggestions gratefully received.

Catherine x

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rosé on ice, anyone?

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Stormhoek has a new wine out. From wine.co.za:

South African brand Stormhoek this week announced the imminent release of a concept wine in the UK named Couture – a Rosé made by Stormhoek winemaker Graham Knox, in a style intended to be consumed with ice.

[...] Knox credits his wife Dianne for the idea: “I’ve watched my wife drink Rosé for years and the one thing she’s always complained about, was that it tasted watered down when she put ice in it, so I made Couture especially for her!”

“The ongoing popularity of Rosé, the success of Magners Cider ‘over ice’ and a survey we conducted in South Africa, gave us the idea to take Graham’s ‘secret’ and develop it,” says Jason Korman, CEO of Stormhoek Vineyards. “You can serve it many different ways, on ice and even as a mixer - we see it as part of a trend where Rosé can be consumed like a cocktail, making it an even more sophisticated drink.”

What’s interesting to me is, this is the first wine that I am aware of that has been specifically made to taste better with ice. That’s the secret sauce. That, and the fact that Graham Knox, our head winemaker likes to tinker around.

Ice? In wine??!! The purists will all be having heart attacks, of course. Whatever. We just wanted to do something fun and sexy. Conventional wine brands are generally neither. So we had to ditch convention.

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Our Hope…and Our Home…

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Every now and again a short video comes out with visuals and words that touch your soul… The beauty of South Africa never escapes me…

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