Give me ten good reasons to visit South Africa (hic!)

Yep, there’s a lot to be said for cookery courses. Heck, there are pages and pages devoted to them here on this site. But, to me, if someone was to offer me a choice between a cookery class and a wine tasting session, it would be the latter every time.

That said, as we approach two decades of democracy in South Africa – twenty years that have seen the country’s wine production increase thirteen-fold from 30 million litres in ’92 to nigh on 400 million today – a chance has come about to visit the massive expo in September, which will hope to see 330 wineries gather in The Cape to showcase their product.

Since the apartheid movement stopped getting its own way, thousands upon thousands of mile of vine have been planted across the country, giving rise to a myriad small wineries from the vineries, as well as the big players that have been around since we discovered what grapes had been invented for.

A little like the European Cup, the last Cape Wine event was staged in 2008 and September this year sees its long awaited return. Many of the young entrepreneurs now hitting the ground running with their product would have missed the 2008 show, which in itself attracted in excess of 300 wineries.

If you fancy a crack at getting down to The Cape and sampling the expected 5,000+ wines (why did an image of Homer Simpson drooling just spring up before my mind’s eye, then?), then there is a showcase event in London next week, which will provide the platform for you to be in with that chance.

If you’re free next Tuesday afternoon, take the tube down to Charing Cross and head for Trafalgar Square – you’re looking for South Africa House, if you’d not already guessed. They’re hosting a ’10 reasons to visit South Africa’ exhibition between 2-5pm. Each of the reasons is a bottle of wine from one of the regions in South Africa and will be represented by the winery that produces the bottle of plonk on show.

The details of the chance-in-a-lifetime trip will be announced around 4pm, with a reception and drinks afterwards, stretching into the early evening until 7.30pm. It is an RSVP event; so if you want to wow your peers at future cookery courses with an in-depth knowledge of the right South African wine to accompany any meal, you can e-mail [email protected] or call 0208-405-6442 for further information. If you want to brush up on this year’s event beforehand, you can read more at www.capewine2012.co.za.

Sadly, I’ll miss this one as I’ll be just a little closer to Africa than any who attend as, early Saturday morn, we head off to Tenerife for our annual pilgrimage. So please, if you attend, grab a little Zinfandel for me and I’ll salut! you from across the way with a Sangria or Estrella Damm. Buenos dias!

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