A special, limited-edition memorial magnum of South African favourite Chateau Libertas is being released as a tribute to Duimpie (Francis […]
Solutions for and action on environmental sustainability are the only options left, as time is running out and there is no Plan B with which to tackle the tremendous pressure on the world’s resources. Speaking at the Cape Wine 2022 showcase in Cape Town, António Amorim, president of Portuguese cork company Amorim, the largest suppliers of cork stoppers to the global wine industry, said that in 18 years’ time – 2050 – the world population is set to reach 9.8 billion people. “There is simply no more time for making big plans on the quest to a sustainable planet,” he said. “There is only one solution left and that is for each one of us to take action.”
Amorim was one of the keynote speakers at the opening of this year’s Cape Wine which saw wine buyers, media representatives and members of the hospitality industry from around the world descend on the Cape Town Convention Centre for a three-day exposure to the South African world, with the event’s theme of Sustainability 360.
According to Amorim, it is imperative that action towards a more sustainable future includes selective consumption that takes cognisance of the need to foster habits aimed at demanding and offering a lower carbon footprint from suppliers of products and services.
“Additionally, we must invest in a carbon sink so that Carbon Net Zero is achieved worldwide by 2050,” he said. “The wine industry is the only branded agricultural product in the world, its uniqueness lying in the underscoring of the uniqueness of each wine’s point of origin, as well as full traceability along the supply chain. It is here where wine producers have reached consensus, becoming increasingly aware of their role in mitigating carbon emissions, ensuring dignified livelihoods for wineland communities and their future generations.”
Amorim emphasised South Africa’s example for the world in terms of its sustainability credentials. “You have here the partnership between Cape wine farms and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a collaboration that is one of its kind in the world. This sees farmers committing to the practical conservation of thousands of hectares of the magnificent Cape Floral Kingdom and its biodiversity. This WWF Biodiversity Champions initiative, together with the industry’s Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) system, shows South African producers’ commitment to sustainability through which the country can lead and differentiate in the world of wine.”
Amorim said that the most important event on global wine industry sustainability, the Porto Protocol in 2019, illustrated four areas needing addressing due to the extent of their carbon emissions: Vineyard management (34% of carbon emissions), winery (15%), packaging (38%) and transport (13%).
In terms of packaging – the highest carbon emitter – the Porto Protocol presented innovative research on the carbon-capturing abilities of cork. “Each ton of cork harvested retains 73 tons of CO₂ – one cork-stopper, thus, captures nearly 400 grams of CO₂, off-setting the 450 grams’ emissions generated through the production of an average 750ml glass bottle,” he said. “Therefore, using cork instead of a screwcap can improve the carbon foot-print of a glass bottle by 30%.”
Amorim said that the company had committed to planting 1,5m cork oak trees over the next five years on 4 000ha of land owned by Amorim, greening Mediterranean regions that are on the brink of desertification.
“Cork is not only a great closure allowing wine to evolve, but it adds a premium image to the product which, together with its negative carbon footprint, provides the bottle of wine with a better life-circle assessment,” he said.
“Wine producers from all over the world share certain non-negotiable values – expression of geographical identity, recognition of culture and provenance and sharing of exciting difference. To this we must add that the wine world of grape-growers, winemakers, distributors, retailers and consumers share the conviction that sustainability is one of the main priorities embedded in the supply chain.”
Amorim said he knows many individual wine companies and relevant players in the world of wine. “But I do not identify any country that is tackling this topic in a unified manner,” he said. “South Africa could truly lead and show leadership in a combined effort, putting your incredible wine industry ahead of the pack.”
Domaine des Dieux, the boutique Cap Classique specialist from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge appellation near Hermanus etched its name in the annals of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge by winning the show’s trophy for Best Producer for the third time in eight years. At the 21st Amorim Cap Classique Challenge held on 22 September at Tintswalo Atlantic in Cape Town, Domaine des Dieux Claudia Brut Cap Classique 2016 was named best wine overall out of the 126 entries to this year’s competition.
Domaine des Dieux also won the competition’s Best Producer award in 2014 and 2018.
The competition is exclusively committed to honouring the country’s leading Cap Classique wines, having been held under the guidance of the Cap Classique Producers Association and sponsored by international cork company Amorim since 2002.
Besides its Best Producer Trophy, Domaine des Dieux won two gold medals, also for its Claudia Brut. The 2015 vintage took gold in the Brut section of the competition, while Claudia Brut 2008 won gold in the Extended Aging Class for wines of eight years or older.
Claudia is a blend of the two classic Cap Classique varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Domaine des Dieux’s overall winning Cap Classique topped the competition’s category for Brut wines. The trophy for Best Blanc de Blancs went to Constantia Uitsig MCC 2018, while Plettenberg Bay stalwart Newstead took the top prize in the Extended Aging class for its Blanc de Blancs 2015. Simonsig Estate from Stellenbosch won two classes taking Best Rosé with the Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose 2020 as well as Best Nectar for its Vonkel Satin Nectar Rose 2020.
Joaquim Sá, MD of Amorim Cork South Africa and a founder of the Cap Classique Challenge, says that Domaine des Dieux’s showing at this year’s event underscores the competition’s importance in recognising consistently excellent Cap Classique producers.
“It is always exciting to see new and unknown wineries performing at this Cap Classique competition, but the barometer of consistent excellence, such as shown by Domaine des Dieux in winning Best Producer three times in eight years, is one on which an image and reputation of greatness is built,” he says.
“Image and reputation in the crafting of Cap Classique has laid the foundation for this wonderful South African category which can compete with some of the finest bottle-fermented sparkling wines from any country in the world. As sponsors and co-founders of the Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, we feel honoured to have been a part of the tremendous inroads Cap Classique has made over the past two decades.”
Sá says Cap Classique is one of the most popular premium wine categories in South Africa with annual sales nipping at 11m bottles a year. “The popularity of Cap Classique can be ascribed to product excellence and diversity, as well as innovative marketing from producers portraying their wines as an integral part of a fashionable lifestyle. This combination of wine quality and vivid, fresh marketing makes Cap Classique the exciting and leading category it is.”
At this year’s Amorim Cap Classique Challenge the Frans Malan Legacy Trophy was awarded to Jeff Grier who as proprietor and winemaker of Villiera played a major role in developing and expanding the Cap Classique category.
This judging panel for the 2022 Amorim Challenge was convened by Heidi Duminy, Cape Wine Master. Assisting her were wine educator Cathy Marston, winemakers Morgan Steyn (De Grendel), Johan Fourie (Benguela Cove) and Nathan Valentine (Villiera) and wine service ambassador Spencer Fondaumiere. Tarryn Vincent from Reciprocal was an associate judge.
October 2022 is a month for which the South African wine industry – and the rest of the wine world […]