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MICHAEL GREEN’S WINE NOTES #177 (article first published : 2007-07-1)

Groote Post Vineyards at Darling, about an hour’s drive north of Cape Town, have introduced an elegant and practical innovation to their two flagship wines: a glass stopper instead of the conventional cork or artificial cork.

The stopper is called Vino-Lok and it was first used in Germany. It resembles the usual stopper for a decanter. After the wine is bottled the stopper is inserted, sealed with an aluminium cap to prevent damage and tampering, and then covered with the standard capsule used on almost all wines.

When opening the wine the capsule is removed and the aluminium cap is twisted off. The Vino-Lok stopper can then be clicked off easily and reinserted. It has a ring seal which provides a tight closure and has no effect on taste.

Groote Post experimented with this glass stopper two years ago, using it for a small quantity of wine. Now the cellar is using it for its 2006 Groote Post Chardonnay and its 2006 Groote Post Pinot Noir. These are both wines of high quality, the chardonnay showing lime, citrus and apricot features, and the pinot noir a berry and strawberry character.

These wines retail at about R95 and R105 a bottle respectively.

The glass stopper is more expensive than a cork or a screw cap, and a specially imported bottle is needed for it, but its practical advantages and pleasing appearance may lead to its wider use in the Cape wine industry.

Groote Post is an historic farm which in the modern era has been producing wine for the past eight years and has built up a substantial reputation in that time. Its owners, Peter and Nick Pentz, are prominent conservationists, and the farm is part of the West Coast spring flower route. It is open for wine tasting and sales and for lunch at a restaurant called Hilda’s Kitchen, and it also offers pre-booked game drives. Phone 022 492 2825.

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The liquor industry is doing its bit to help the country in various ways. The French-based international firm Pernod Ricard has used its Jameson Whiskey brand name for a donation of hundreds of trees to help a project called the greening of Soweto. The intention is to beautify this area before the 2010 World Cup and the general objective is to plant more than 300,000 trees in the township by then.

Pernod Ricard South Africa has donated stinkwood, riverbush willow and rhus lancea (karee) trees. Appropriate enough, I suppose, considering that its Jameson whiskey is matured for years in oak casks. – Michael Green




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