Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stunning new wine shop in Paarl

I was invited to a ladies brunch at the 10 Chapters restaurant and wine shop in Paarl on Saturday. What a great discovery!

As a person who is quite passionate about branding, I really appreciate a brand with a great story. And this is the cutest story ever...

10 Chapters is named after the (WOSA) ten terroir regions in South Africa. Each area has its own logo and wine made by 10 Chapters. They have also selected other wines from each area that are sold in the shop. The ten terroirs then each represent a chapter in the 10 Chapters of South African wine.

The interior is beautiful and they serve light meals and tapas and wine per glass (or bottle).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The beauty of simple food and great wine

Yesterday was one of those fabulous Cape Town days where it felt good to be alive. Had a meeting with Cape Royale to finalise the last arrangements for the Women's W(h)ine Night Out* on 24 June and then I was going to head back to Stellenbosch.

Got to the intersection of Green Point main road and Buitengracht, and realised SuBarShi is just round the corner. I pulled in there for a quick bite of sushi... Dragon rolls - my favourite! The chef makes them perfectly, with just the right balance of succulent tuna on the outside and fresh prawn and avo on the inside. Culinary delight. I decided on a Kanu (wooded) Chenin 2007. I'm not really a big fan of Chenin, but I have to say lately I'm quite enjoying some of the wooded ones. We tried Kanu's wooded Chenin at CWA certificate course last year and I remember liking it a lot. The balance of the soft, juicy tuna and crispness of the Chenin worked so well...

Back at home I prepared some lamb shank for friends for dinner. Had to choose a wine to compliment the prepared-with-love-and-lots-of-patience dish served with mediterranean potato mach and a salad of cucumber, mint, yogurt and pomegranate. Then my eye caught my much-loved bottle of Cirrus Syrah 2006 and I just new that would be the perfect match.

Fact: Food prepared with love tastes good.
Fact: Food prepared with love and served with an excellent wine, tastes divine!

*Don't miss out on Van Pepper Wines and Cape Royale Luxury Hotel's exquisite dinner party for women on Wednesday 24 June!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Women buy the most wine

An UK study has found that ladies buy eight out of 10 bottles to drink at home.

Females are now the major buyers of wine, prompting experts to urge wine brands to cater for feminine tastes.

Their love affair with white wine - typified by Bridget Jones’s affection for Chardonnay - has faded. Instead 55 per cent say red is their favourite, followed by 35 per cent who favour white wine and seven per cent rose.

More than half (54 per cent) of the 1,300 British women questioned for Vinexpo said they were not put off by health warnings Some 4,306 women across the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the USA were questioned.

I think that these women wine buying trends also holds true for the South African market. After the easing of wine sale restrictions the general retailers (Checkers, Woolworths, Pick & Pay etc. ) has taken a huge part of the wine sales market. This contributed to the increase in wine buying by women and it will continue to increase in the future.

Source: Daily Express

More articles relating to Women and Wine:

- Women more affected by price of wine than men

- What do women want, wine-wine?

Friday, May 1, 2009

First Wine Trivia Evening a huge success

The stars of the evening: Lovane's Cabernet Franc 2006, Hermanuspietersfontein's Die Martha 2005 and Lovane's Petit Verdot 2006.

On Saturday 25 April Lovane's first Wine Trivia Evening, organised by Van Pepper Wines, was held with Bartho Eksteen from Hermanuspietersfontein.

Philip and Gail Gous from Lovane and Suné and Bartho Eksteen from Hermanuspietersfontein

Guests were treated to a 3-course meal paired with Lovane's and Hermanuspietersfontein's wines. Chef Gail Gous did a great job of pairing Lovane's Cabernet Franc 2006 with Grilled Spicy Vegetable Bruschetta with Rocket & Permasan Shavings; HPF's Die Martha 2005 (great Shiraz and definitely one of my top choices for winter 2009) with Korma Lamb served with rice, cucumber sambals, sweet potatoes & curry beans; and Lovane's Petit Verdot 2006 with Homemade ice-cream served with chocolate sauce and fresh berries.

The Trivia itself consisted of six nailbiting rounds with a strong start from the Zilles. In the end, the winemakers' knowledge contributed to Whine's success and they were crowned the winners on the evening.

The winners of the first Wine Trivia Evening, Whine, fltr: Philip Gous (Lovane), Marcolette van Baaden, Kyle Shimmon, Natalie Nel, Mariska du Preez (Van Pepper Wines), Bartho Eksteen (Hermanuspietersfontein), Van du Preez, Johnny King and Andrew Knight.

A great time was had by all, and we are looking forward to the next Trivia Evening on Saturday 30 May with Alto's winemaker, Schalk van der Westhuizen.
For more information, visit the Van Pepper website.

To order some of Bartho's award winning wines, visit the HPF Wine Shop.
For more photos of the evening, visit the Facebook photo album

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good intentions

As with all great intentions, writing this blog has become somewhat secondary to everything else that's going on at the Van Pepper HQ.

So, time for a quick update...

Van Pepper Wines has the great privilege of organising Lovane's Wine Trivia Evenings starting 25 April 2009. Our winemaker/ trivia-master is none other than Mr Sauvignon Blanc himself, Hermanuspieterfontein's Bartho Eksteen. To say that I'm excited about this event is the understatement of the year. Can't wait. Love Bartho, love his wife (who I was priviledge to have dinner with on a recent trip to the city of whales), and love love love his wine!
Die Martha 2005 will be paired on the evening with Gail Gous's cuisine. We still have places available, but book soon to avoid disappointment!

Women of Wines is doing so well. We're fully booked for the next event at Asara, no quicker than 24 hours after the invites were sent out! The women of wines were treating to a stunning night at Villiera, with Celesté and Marí spoiling us with culinary delights. We're looking forward to an extra-ordinary night at Asara on the 30th of April!!

I was also very fortunate to attend the Lagnes (improv comedy) and Gourmet Burger evening at Alto recently. The guys of Lagnes are a scream! Haven't laughed so much in ages. Got re-acquianted with an old friend of mine as well, she goes by the name of Rouge. And this foxy lady is a bargain at R55 a bottle!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter ( would know I declared my undying love to Rust & Vrede's restaurant a while ago. Christo and Nick treated us to an unforgettable evening. The food and wines were exquisite, and the company, as always, fa-bu-lous!. If you have something special to celebrate, do yourself a favour, do it in style, and do it at Rust & Vrede!

Events to look forward to this month:
- Jazz it up at Jordan
- Wines of Hermanus and the Overberg Region Wine Festival

Mariska's list of wines to buy for Autumn
- Kaapzicht Shiraz 2005
- Villiera Chenin Blanc 2007
- Asara Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Sunday, March 15, 2009

VPW organises Wine Trivia Evenings at Lovane

Van Pepper Wines is organising the first Wine Trivia evening at Lovane Boutique Wine Estate on Saturday 25 April 2009 with Hermanuspietersfontein winemaker, Bartho Eksteen.

Lovane Boutique Hotel’s Wine Trivia Evening will test your knowledge about wine and provide the perfect opportunity to relax with friends and family. The guest winemaker will be the quizmaster for the evening and hand out prizes after each round. Guests will participate in teams of 6, but individual players are also welcome!

The cost of R175 includes a three-course meal, a glass of wine per course, entry fee for the trivia, and lots of prizes!

The Sage of Sauvignon Blanc, winemaker Bartho Eksteen from
Hermanuspietersfontein Wynkelder , has been toiling in the cool climate Walker Bay winemaking region since 1993. Here he focuses passionately on further building on Sauvignon blanc’s reputation as the flagship South Africa varietal.

Wine Trivia evenings will take place at Lovane Boutique Wine Estate on the last Saturday of every month. Lovane is one of the smallest wine estates near Stellenbosch. The estate has a 4-star guest house, restaurant and conference facilities.

Van Pepper Wines is a wine marketing company that specializes in wine tastings, events and wine-based experiences.

Contact Mariska du Preez on 082 564 7714,, or visit Van Pepper’s website:

Event: Van Pepper Wine Trivia Evenings {Quizmaster: Bartho Eksteen HPF}
Venue: Lovane Boutique Wine Estate
Date: Saturday 25 April 2009 at 19h00
Cost: R175 per person
More information: Mariska du Preez 082 564 7714

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Van Pepper Honey at Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market

Van Pepper Wines' honey will be on sale at the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market on Saturday 7 March 2009!!

We are truly excited to have a stall at the market. Please come say hi to Mariska and Erina, and sample some of our delicious honey (made by happy bees!)

Products on offer:
* Orange Blossom Honey
* Fynbos Honey
* Honey with pistachio, cashew, macadamia, and pecan nuts (absolutely yummy!!)
* Honey colouring pictures for the kids!