There is less than a week until the champagne corks pop and the drinks begin to flow at this year’s Mercury Wine Week.
Now in its 34th year and the largest wine show in the province, The Mercury Wine Week has become a platform for new releases and different blends while broadening the knowledge and appeal of wine among local consumers.
Being held at the Suncoast in Durban for the sixth year, tickets cost R100 a person via Computicket or at the door for the three-hour spectacular on August 15-17.
Some gems likely to be among the 80 exhibitors and hundreds of wines are Beyerskloof, Buitenverwachting and Domaine Grier.
Beyerskloof’s Pinotage Reserve 2008 won four and a half stars in this year’s Platter’s Wine Guide, while the Diesel Pinotage 2008 was a stand-out, five-star wine (but not likely to be on show as this one, honouring Beyers Truter’s dog Diesel, carries a huge price tag).
Buitenverwachting last year brought a 20-year-old sauvignon blanc that had those who were lucky enough to taste it in raptures, so visiting that stand may come with another surprise.
Domaine Grier is the long-realised dream for the Villiera Wines owners, the Grier family, to own vineyards in southern France.
Between tasting wines, visitors can also taste top-quality mineral water. Each table will be equipped with water supplied by NatureZone, a Midlands-based company from Caversham Valley that started life in 2000 as an outlet for its mineral water. Owner Peter Foulis was digging a well for his Inverness Farm, but after reaching 145m still had not found water reserves.
This was a blessing as the resultant water infill consists of natural mineral water that has filtered through 145m of mineral-rich shale and trace elements. Today the company bottles its water “as nature intended… pure and pristine”.
NatureZone is the only African company producing ionised, alkaline water, something that emerged from extensive studies into the healing effects of water. Endorsed by sportsmen, the vitamin-rich fitness water is also diabetic-friendly, containing no preservatives or glucose.
Foulis said the company was working towards securing its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points accreditation, while the farm already abided by the Fair Trade principles, going to substantial lengths to ensure healthy and sustainable principles were applied across the business.
But The Mercury Wine Week is not only about having fun. It is a key initiative in raising funds for The Mercury Hibberdene Children’s Holiday Home that gives underprivileged, often orphaned children a seaside holiday.
Begun for orphans from World War I, today the home still rings with children’s laughter and bears the sand brought in from the beach because people bought tickets to The Mercury Wine Week.