Some of the country’s best craft wine and gin – made by female wine and spirit makers – will be showcased at the Cradle of Food & Wine Festival, which takes place this Saturday (August 19) in celebration of Women’s Month. This not-to-be-missed event, which is open to the whole family, is being held at the beautiful Cradle Boutique Hotel in the Cradle of Humankind, in conjunction with leading Johannesburg wine outlet, Wine Menu run by Corlien Morris.
Present at the Cradle of Food and Wine Festival will be winemakers Callan Williams – who will showcase her lauded handcrafted wine brand The Garajeest; Catherine Marshall (Catherine Marshall Wines, Elgin) and Carla Pauw from Stellenbosch who will show both her Saltare wines and olive oils. Premium wines on show include those made by Swartland’s Huis van Chevallerie (winemaker Christa von La Chevallerie) and Kloovenburg (winemaker Jolandie Fouché); Wellington’s Bosman Family Vineyard (winemaker Corlea Fourie); Franschhoek’s La Bri (winemaker Irene Waller); Greyton’s Lismore (owner and winemaker Samantha O’Keefe) and Waterkloof wine estate in Somerset West (Nadia Barnard).
Those attending will also get to meet gin-makers Shanna-Rae Wilby from Time Anchor Distillery (who will present her new Mirari blue gin), and Glyn French, who makes Flowstone in the Magaliesberg area, and taste their product via a myriad of gin cocktails.
As a bonus, the Cradle of Food and Wine Festival will also showcase olive oils from Saltare, Kloovenburg and Namaqua Olives, all made by women. Entry into the festival costs R75 a person (over 18s only permitted).
Some of the festival’s wine and gin-makers discuss themselves and their product:
CALLAN WILLIAMS (The Garajeest)
What are some of the wines you will be presenting and what would they pair well with? The Garajeest Bruce Cabernet Franc and The Garajeest Jim Semillon. They go well with good music, delicious food and great friends and family.
How did you spend Women’s Day? Drinking wine, of course.
How difficult is it as a woman wine maker in what is a male dominated industry? Women can do anything they set their minds to. Being underestimated is just an advantage.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men? A feminine flair as well as strong and determined wines that don’t back down!
CARLA PAUW (Saltare)
Talk about one of the wines you will be presenting? The Saltare MCC Brut Reserve reminds me the most of French Champagne: it spends three years on the lees, it has that typical white flower aroma, with brioche and biscuit flavours and a very fine mousse. It is a food wine which pairs well with a remarkably wide range of flavours – seafood, roast vegetables, curries, salads, chicken, pork and pastas.
How did you spend Women’s Day? I presented a (very successful) wine tasting at one of my favourite Cape Town wine shops.
How difficult is it as a woman wine maker in what is a male dominated industry?
Recognition as a good wine maker might take a bit longer to achieve but when it comes the differences decrease.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men? Wine making is very intuitive and sensory and women can bring something uniquely feminine to the process.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the seasonal variation of my work: there are many facets to the journey of having your own wine business. It is an ongoing learning process which keeps me humble and inspired.
GLYN FRENCH (Flowstone Gin)
Tell us about one of your gins and what you would suggest drinking with it? Our Bushwillow is a crowd favourite and mine as well. Its unique, woody flavours really evoke the spirit of the bush. It is wonderful with a braai, and works well with curries.
How did you spend Women’s Day? We’re a small distillery but we’re onto something special here so I was working most of the day but I did finish it off with a sundowner G ‘n T.
How difficult is it as a woman gin maker in what is a male dominated industry? I have seen that initial surprise when people find out I’m the distiller but, I think that’s just because not many women are doing this. It comes down to how passionate you are about it and how much work you are willing to put in. After that the gin speaks for itself.
Do women bring a different touch to gin making than men? I think what makes a gin, or any other drink for that matter, good is the inspiration behind it and the flavour palette you draw from. It’s the person making it that really counts.
IRENE WALLER (La Bri)
Talk about one of the wines you will be presenting and what would it pair well with? La Bri Syrah, a co-fermentation of Syrah and Viognier is my passion – I love the voluptuousness that viognier adds to the palate and the perfume, violets, liquorice and spice it adds to the nose. A gorgeous match with rich game meats and venison as well as dark chocolate mint dessert.
How difficult is it as a woman wine maker in what is a male dominated industry? I was fortunate in that I started my wine career in Australia where I learnt to “toughen up”’ and cope in a man’s world. I now work in the Franschhoek wine valley where I am supported by my fellow male colleagues. And look around – there are lot more female winemakers out there today showing their worth.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men? I think we take a softer approach to wine – resulting in wines that are more elegant.
NADIA BARNARD (Waterkloof)
Talk about one of the wines you will be presenting and what would it pair well with? The Circle of Life White 2013 is our white blend. This unique wine received 5 stars in John Platter. I am extremely proud of it – it is elegant with such a great balance. It will pair well with a variety of different dishes especially a fresh crab salad.
How did you spend Women’s Day? To be honest I swapped the day out with the Friday to take a long weekend and went to Stilbaai to compete in the Vintners Classic surf competition!
How difficult is it as a woman wine maker in what is a male dominated industry?
It’s what you make of it and how your attitude is. If you go around thinking that you are inferior then you will be seen as that. If you have a positive attitude and give the job your all, you will succeed.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men? Yes, for sure! I believe that women do have the ability to produce elegant wines.
SHANNA-RAE WILBY (Time Anchor Distillery)
Talk about one of the gins you will be presenting and what would you drink with it? We will be presenting our new Mirari blue gin, which is infused with a blue pea flower, when you add tonic to the gin in turns a lovely light shade of pink. It pairs beautifully with dark chocolate glace ginger pieces.
How did you spend Women’s Day? I spent the day with Charlotte, our column pot still, distilling our new gin!
How difficult is it as a woman wine maker in what is a male dominated industry? There are definite challenges, it takes a lot of effort to be taken seriously within the industry.
Do women bring a different touch to winemaking than men? A few studies have proved that women have a better sense of taste then men, and I think because of this we are able to identify a lot of the nuances within the gins we make that help balance the botanicals.
Following the tastings, guests will have the option of purchasing a picnic hamper (booking essential and bring your own blanket) or to pre-book a lunch at the Cradle Boutique Hotel restaurant where they can choose from the a-la-carte menu. All wines at the tasting event will be on offer to purchase and drink with lunch or the picnic as well as to take home. Wine Menu will deliver purchased wines for a small additional fee.
Live music, provided by Indie folk rock band, The Motherland, will add to the relaxed atmosphere. Families who attend the Cradle of Food and Wine Festival will be able to taste the wines while their children can take part in the Cradle Explorers Club which will have trained guides to take them on a two-hour nature walks. The cost is R80 per child for the trail and includes a picnic box lunch.
Numbers are limited so booking is essential. Tickets for the wine and gin tasting only can be purchased from webtickets at R75pp for over 18s. Go to https://www.webtickets.co.za/events/festival/cradle-of-food-and-wine-festival/1472755106