April is always a welcoming month, not only because the weather is getting warmer, but also because it’s the time for the-much anticipated SPECTACULAR South Africa month-long campaign.

Now in its eighth edition, SPECTACULAR South Africa is a celebration of the country’s Freedom Day on 27 April, when Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president in 1994. Participating F&B outlets, wine retailers and online shops launch their South African wine promotions during the month of April to celebrate the birth of the Rainbow Nation.

South Africa is the oldest wine country in the New World, with 362 years of winemaking history. This year, the industry reaches a few milestones.

First, 2021 is the 50th anniversary of Cap Classique, the South African version of champagne. The wine’s name was derived from the fact that the art of classic winemaking was introduced to the Cape by the French Huguenots, and the first bottle-fermented sparkling wine produced at the Cape was called Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle) by Simonsig in 1971. Cap Classique brands in Hong Kong include Aristea, Bartho Eksteen, Boschendal, Cederberg, Colmant, De Grendel, De Morgenzon, Graham Beck, Ken Forrester, Klein Constantia, Krone, Longridge, Louisvale, Miss Molly, Simonsig, Spier, Stony Brook and Villiera. Expect more to come.

This year also marks the second decade of the launch of the Integrity & Sustainability Seal, the world’s first sustainability seal, a guarantee of environmentally sensitive production that was introduced in 2010. In 2019, 97.3% of the certified wines were qualified to carry the seal. You can trace a wine all the way from the vine to the bottle using the unique number on the seal.

Locally, we finally have our first South African farm-style deli. Chief’s Blend serves biltong and deli sandwiches using 100% South African meat alongside artisan coffee, craft beer and, of course, South African wine. Be sure to visit them for a South African experience in bustling Wanchai.

Although the pandemic is not over, we can still enjoy life with a few precautions. Let’s explore the pairing of various cuisines with South African wine such as Chinese at Nanhai No.1, Shu K and yè shanghai or Michelin-starred Thai cuisine at Aaharn. Chill out at MooFish and Solera in Discovery Bay with sunshine, sea breezes and a glass of South African wine. You can also pick up your favourite or newly discovered South African wine at a retailer near you or buy it online to enjoy with friends.

It’s also the chance to support a good cause while exploring the diversity of South African wine. Online shop MyiCellar has put together three mixed cases of Cap Classique, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, South Africa’s signature grape varieties. Each case consists of six bottles of wine of different styles. For every case of wine sold, $50 will be donated to Cape Flats Development Association. This organisation provides a range of social and development programmes to families living in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town.

But first, drop by Bubble Wonderland, Hong Kong largest sparkling wine pop-up shop at Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay. South Africa is presenting 30 Cap Classiques there. Come taste the wines and test your palate at the Cap Classique Challenge to see if you can identify the champagne.

For the most up-to-date information about the SPECTACULAR South Africa participants, please refer to this website.

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A marketer turned winemaker, I make, promote, judge, write about and drink wine.

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