South African Winemakers, and their Team Mascot, WINO the RHINO, Sell-out a very successful first UK tour

Posted on 10 June 2013 under PIWOSA News

Fifteen farm owners and winemakers, who form the Premium Independent Wineries of South Africa (PIWOSA), descended on the UK last week to raise the profile of high quality wines being produced in South Africa today. Taking part in 14 sell out events over the course of the week, they were joined at every stop by team mascot, ‘WINO the RHINO’.

WINO the Rhino

The week began with a consumer tasting in Hove on Monday 3rd June in the glorious surroundings of ‘All Saints Church’. Over 240 guests attended the event to taste more than 45 wines and meet the winemakers behind them. This event was followed the same evening by ‘Braai- ton’ which gave local press and trade the chance to enjoy a traditional South African ‘Braai’ experience alongside some of the fabulous wines from the PIWOSA producers. Although a bit chillier than South Africa, guests made the most of the outdoor experience, taking their chance to meet PIWOSA team mascot ‘Wino the Rhino’ and climb aboard in some cases.

The next day, Tuesday 4th June, saw the winemakers head to the Antique Wine Company and W Hotel in Soho, for a series of blind comparative tastings of ‘South African Stars versus French Classics’. Three separate events were attended by sommeliers, press and consumers who were invited to try and identify highly regarded Northern Hemisphere wines placed in five flights of South African wines hailing from PIWOSA producers (Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rhone Blends and Varietals, Bordeaux Blends and varietals). The exercise was intended to demonstrate the comparable quality, and comparable but distinctive styles of wines emerging from the Cape. The prize at each event was an all expenses paid trip to South Africa for the guest who managed to correctly pick out all five Northern Hemisphere wines – however no-one managed this feat correctly. The day closed with three wine dinners hosted by the Wine Chap, High Timber and Vivat Bacchus.

On Wednesday 5th June, the winemakers gathered at the impressive Blue Fin building, home of IPC media and Decanter magazine for a sold-out event. Hosted by Decanter magazine and SA Wines Online, 240 consumers and 50 trade and press attended a tasting, followed by an informal dinner held outdoors on the Blue Fin terrace for trade and press after the event.

The final day of activity, Thursday 6th June, was the principal press tasting attended by over 70 press and trade. This ‘Wine Safari’ tasting took place across two venues with the producers showing two whites each at the Groucho Club, before heading to Quo Vadis just down the road to showcase two reds. A lively dinner at Quo Vadis for the press and trade followed. The atmosphere was incredible and saw all guests signing WINO the Rhino, before she was sent on a tour of major London sites including South Africa House, Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral, Abbey Road and Buckingham Palace before taking up residence at city restaurant, High Timber, where many of the wines are available.

All in all it was a very successful week for the fifteen PIWOSA producers who made the long trip over to the UK. Over a series of four days, they took part in fourteen events which were attended by over 700 guests with a genuine interest in the great quality of wines currently being produced in the Cape. With a very positive first week of activities under their belts, PIWOSA look forward to further programs in the future to help raise the profile of quality South African wine internationally.