In August of 2019 I had the opportunity to travel to the Western Cape of South Africa to visit and learn about several different wine regions and the culture of the area. Our group visited wineries that Jesse Balsimo from Truvino imports into the United States, primarily into the Midwest. On the trip with me was Emily from Libation Project out of Minneapolis and 3 of her retail accounts; Josh Timmerman of France 66, Daniel from Southside Liquor, and Tessa and Nelson Leung from Marrow in Rochester. Below you will find information and many pictures of each region we visited and a little on our side adventures!
Day 2: Benguela Cove and Brew Cru Benguela
Cove Lagoon Wine Estate is nestled in the wine-growing area of Walker Bay, adjacent to the Bot River Lagoon and the shoreline of the South Atlantic Ocean, near the town of Hermanus. This area has a very unique terroir that lends to exceptional wines!
Benguela Cove is part of the Benguela Collection of properties owned and operated by Penny Streeter OBE, a Zimbabwean born, British/South African Entrepreneur, and her family. She has been recognized by 'Management Today' magazine, Top 100 Entrepreneurs: Top woman, and No. 13 overall for two years, 2003, 2004. She has a successful recruitment company in the UK called Ambition 24hours.
Johann Fourie is the winemaker at Benguela Cove. He explained that the location and terroir is so unique that they could produce 340 different Sauvignon Blancs with the variables available to them. There are 5 unique soil types found on the property and it is an extremely tough growing area with the lowest elevation at 2.7m above sea level. Johann is one of the foremost experts on wine making and viticulture in South Africa. Okoboji Wines currently carries the following wines from Benguela Cove: Benguela Cove Cabernet Sauvignon, Benguela Cove Noble Late Harvest, Lighthouse Collection Rose and "Moody Bay" Cabernet and the Benguela Cove "Cuvee 58" MCC.
Brew Cru is a project from Johann Fourie, Bertus Fourie and Jesse Balsimo that focuses on making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in a Burgundian style. We had a wonderful tasting on the rocks by the water after a hike down the coastline. Region; Cape South Coast, District; Walker Bay Okoboji Wines currently carries The Brew Cru Chardonnay and Brew Cru Pinot Noir.
Our introduction to the South African Braii!
We were introduced to the South African Braii on Tuesday night! Here is the definition: Noun. braai (plural braais) (South Africa) A barbecue (grill), especially an open outdoor grill built specically for the purpose of braaing. (chiey South Africa) A social meeting, including the braaing of meat; a cookout. Johann Fourie, Bertus Fourie and our gracious host, Jesse Balsimo prepared the braii and our dinner that evening. There was lots of great food and wonderful camaraderie