South African Wine: Drink Well Do Good Tour

by Shona Milne on March 5, 2010

isaw1I took part in a South African wine tasting on Wednesday night, hosted by Savour Speciality Foods in Ballard. It was to promote the 2010 Drink Well Do Good wine tour through the International Society of Africans in Wine. The Drink Well Do Good tour hopes to raise $150,000 to develop a training center for South African vintners. The ISAW vision is that through the celebration and appreciation of fine wine, they can uplift and educate, while diminishing poverty and inequality. The ISAW advocates reducing poverty through the business of wine. You can help the cause by attending the fundraiser in Seattle which will be Sunday, April 25th at Chop Suey.

mhudiI did get to try three South African wines. Two were from Seven Sisters. A Chenin Blanc which had balanced acidity and nice minerality. Very food friendly wine on a nice day. The Pinotage/Shiraz took a bit of time to open up but had flavors of earth and blackcurrant and a bit of chocolate on the nose. The Shiraz gave the Pinotage some “leather jacket attitude”.  M’hudi is the only black South African owned winery in South Africa. You will want to look for their Sauvignon Blanc for summer drinking. Very food friendly and high acidity and flavors of tropical fruits.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Sandvig 03.08.10 at 6:01 pm

Hi Shona,

Not to be picky, but M’hudi may be the only BLACK South African owned winery. Most all the wineries are owned by local South African familes – white famileis that have been there for over 3 centuries. We spent Christmass of 2006 in South African and visited many wineries and tasted many wine fines.

While I’m on an international fling, I just came back from China. Ste Michelle had wine on several of the Starwood Hotel properties’ wine list. Most remarkable was the 828 yuan price for a 2004 Canoe Ridge Cabernet. That translates to $120/bottle. Something that I think I paid about $20 bucks for.

Stephen Satterfield 03.24.10 at 1:18 pm

Hey Peter,

Thanks for your comment. That white families have had an integral role in South Africa’s wine industry is certainly not disputed. In fact, the Dutch brought wine to South Africa 350 years ago. The industry itself was built on the backs of black workers. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, M’hudi is the only black family that has acerage under vine, and ISAW is happy to announce that the Seven Sisters have recently purchased a plot of land in Stellenbosch that will soon go under vine.
To be clear, our project is not one that is hung up on black and white, rather we seek opportunities to use this existing industry as a way to advance the skills and economic opportunities for a population that was disenfranchised for centuries.
In fact, some of our closet allies in South Africa are white families who are doing incredibly progressive things both socially and viticulturally. Ultimately, our mission of building sustainable communities through viticulture would not be possible without the success of South African wines in the US (currently a meager .3% of the market share).
Check out some of these excellent wineries

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>