Thursday, June 30, 2016

Destination Durbanville - a food and wine fair for the travel industry

Durbanville is one of our favourite wine producing areas. It is only 30 minutes from central Cape Town and has great wine producers. We were asked to attend this fair last week and, on arrival, were given a map of the valley with a star next to the name of the farm we would be visiting first. It turned out that we would not be visiting the farm, but a stall in the hall at Cassia restaurant on Nitida. It turned out to be an information day with each farm having a stand with representatives who could tell us what the farm has to offer. Afterwards, there was a bar, with a red and white wine from each farm to taste and some snacks
An early start at 10 am with fruit kebabs, coffee and rusks. We had been offered transport, but only from Canal Walk, and, as we live in Sea Point, we went under our own steam. Canal Walk is almost the same distance from us as Durbanville
Fruit kebabs for breakfast
Bran rusks
Opening speeches started with Angela Fourie, Durbanville's PRO
Liezel van der Westhuizen was MC for the day
The audience standing for the speeches. Lynne did eventually manage to find a chair on the De Grendel stand. Some of us cannot stand for a long time
Grant Newton, marketing manager of Groot Constantia, is also a member of the Cape Tourism board and spoke on their behalf
Then Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate
Then a presentation from one of the sponsors, Yoco, who have a new credit card machine
This is where we started. Everyone had a different starting point. You had to stay on your designated stand until they rang a bell, then you could move, which seemed to happen every 10 minutes. It did not take that long to find out what was on offer, so people just started moving in their own time
We thought it rather strange that the farms were not allowed to give tastings of their wines, as many of the invited guests were not wine media, but travel and hospitality operators not all of whom were acquainted with Durbanville. And it might have encouraged people to stay longer at each stand. Two, Diemersdal and Nitida, did have one wine each. Some farms, sadly, had untrained staff who had very little to tell us about their special attractions. We were just given some leaflets on some of them and not all were able to give prices. There were some promotional gifts like key rings and coasters. We wondered what their brief was. And are tasting room staff the right people to promote the farms' features? Some farms did shine and had lots of interesting information, given by people who knew their business
John started at Signal Gun, was given leaflets and moved quickly to Diemersdal where he tasted their Grüner Veltliner. Lynne chatted to Bennie Howard CWM on Meerendal, had a small sample of butternut soup from Carlucci’s restaurant there and admired Bennie’s mountain bike; they have an MTB route on the farm
Cassia Restaurant had this lovely sample of their food on the Nitida stand which John managed to taste, smoked salmon on a beetroot rösti. Lynne wasn’t that lucky
Cassia Restaurant owner Warren Swaffield with Inga Rix of Nitida. Nitida was one of the stars and their winemaker, Danie Keulder, was there with Inga to speak to the guests
A question for Karin de Villiers, owner of Klein Roosboom
There was a raffle for the Pebbles Project for R10 a ticket. Karen Alterthum of Volunteers Direct received her prize of a R800 De Grendel gift voucher from Douglas Swanson, De Grendel's tasting facility manager
Maryna Strachan with Grant Newton
An potential customer for the Yoco card machine 
The lovely girls on the Durbanville Hills stand were very welcoming and were well-informed
Finally, time to taste some wine and we started with the local Bubbles
The snacks
Small quiches
One of the stars of the fair was Etienne le Roux, cellar door manager at Bloemendal, assisted by Michelle Moller
They had their new labels on show and we tasted the Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc at the bar. It has always been a great wine. We wait with bated breath to hear what is going to happen at the Restaurant at the top of their hill as the lease of the current occupier is up. A great site which needs a good operator
Flatbread stuffed with butternut? Not sure, we didn't taste.. There was not much to eat if you were Banting
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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