The 2014 Swartland Revolution features in the February issue of Food and Home magazine.
Read all about the wines, parties and meals and get the recipes for some of the best dishes served during the weekend.
Five years old and still going strong... This weekend's fifth edition of the Swartland Revolution confirmed that the region has established itself as a wine (and food and party) force to be reckoned with. Putting into words what the 500 odd involved experienced this weekend is not easy, and I have thus decided to make it a little bit personal. Speaking on behalf of (by now) legends such as the Mullineuxs, Eben, Adi and Callie is too big a responsibility - they have said what they felt needed to be said, and it is up to each of us to take from it what we need... So what you find here is my interpretation of my favourite weekend of the year, in a region where I was born and bred, a region I fled as soon as I could and to which I have very recently returned with much excitement and expectation of even greater things to come. I have grown up with the event, and I stand in awe of what happens in Riebeek on this weekend every year... We had decided to change the format of dinner and lunch a little, we were experimenting and we were ready for change... We were going to sit down, with table cloths and chandeliers on Friday, we would lay down on the grass for a pre packed picnic on Saturday and for the first time we looked outside of France for our opening act... With 3600 glasses packed out and poured, we were ready for Serge Hochar to guide us through his wine. Almost two hours later the crowd still hung on his every word. The man's philosophy, his unique approach, patience and his quirky comments certainly inspired me (and made it clear why he is Adi's idol!).
A few of my favourite quotes: "Wine was created by God to be the link between him and humans..." "I started selling only half of my vintages and aging half in my own cellar" "Taste, don't talk!" "Nature is very worrying for me today... No vintage is the same. Each day I learn and discover more." "When I was a boy I was a philosopher and my philosophy was protect the environment" "I have never understood wine. I still have so much to discover". "Wine touches the whole world." "If you come to my winery I open a bottle of '64 for you" "Take your time, you drink too fast. Enjoy your nose!" "Wines are made to be opened and enjoyed. Tomorrow the wines may not be here or you may not be here" "Wine can lead you to know yourself better..." The lesson here, from a 75 year old who has been making wine for 56 years, was clear. Slow down, give yourself, your life, your wine time and space. Appreciate, enjoy. After the tasting it was time for dinner. This year we had asked revolutionaries to dress it up a bit to fit with our (tongue in cheek) glitzy but a little bit f-ed up Bootleggers Ball theme.
Mama Cucina waiting staff, all dressed up.
Revolutionaries don't pose for pictures.
Smashing Eben's "winery of the year trophy" hand made by the talented Mrs Mullineux.
After the auction DJ Chopper got the crowd dancing (till the cops stopped us, the third time...)
After dinner the bar opened... The extended Badenhorst Family were launching their Caperitif with four unique cocktails. Read more about it all here.
Eventually I believe I might have physically chased people out of the tent in an attempt to evacuate, at around 3am. Now THAT is a good party...
Saturday morning (luckily) came with Babelas Burgers and good coffee from local Beans about Coffee,
before we sat down to 4 wines each from Craig Hawkins and David Sadie.
Moderated by David Clarke this tasting was an excellent look at the young polarity in the region. David (originally from Malmesbury) and Craig (a Sharks fan from Gauteng) both showed great interest in investing in the future of Swartland wines and vines. From planting new vineyards to planning for the years ahead and growing solid relationships with local farmers... these guys get it. David's two wines say it well: Aristargos - meaning to lead by serving people and Elipidios, which means to have hope and expectations for the future! Then there was a beer and Southern Smoke snack break (I can't tell you much about it, during this hour we clear the tables of 3600 glasses, 450 tasting sheets / spittoons / waters, and replace it with new ones, filled with wines, numbered 1-8...) before Expert Opinions.
This year we made our Revolutionary big 5 the Experts with Opinions... Adi, Andrea and Chris, Callie and Eben each picked a wine that has inspired their love (for wine) and winemaking and we tasted it next to one of their own wines. What caught me as significant here was that Chris mentioned that any one of them could have easily picked any of the wines on the table as their inspiration. To see this connection and link between the diverse personalities making such unique wines shows that the Revolution and the region is on the right track. To hear Eben say that he has to continue to drink wines better than his own to grow and evolve shows that the egos are under control. Being reminded of the 5am braai Adi and Eben sometimes shares shows their commitment to the cause and it is always fun to listen to Callie tell a pointless Afrikaans joke...
And then it was time for lunch. With fantastic picnic packs by the Revolutionary Mums, music by our old(!) favourites Die Baardskeerdersbos Orkes and wines by The Swartland Independent... and a lot of people laying around on big blow up pillows and blankets, some until after the sun had set.
Till next year... I hope you also left exhausted yet satisfied and inspired. The 2015 edition will be on the weekend of 6/7 November and ticket sales will be announced as soon as we have decided. Give us a break, please ;) Yours in Swartland gees Helena All pictures (c) Maree Louw.
Food menus / Tasting sheets coming soon.
We did it! Everyone survived the 5th Swartland Revolution, no one got arrested and only a few people got tackled to the ground... First things first, this is a THANK YOU blog post on behalf of everyone. Putting on a world class event like we just did this weekend takes a LOT of planning and hard work and there are a few people and businesses we need to thank from the bottom of our big hearts! In no particular order except how I think of it, let's put our hand together for: AA Badenhorst Family Wines, Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines, Porseleinberg, Sadie Family Wines - guys and girls you are a true inspiration. Your wines, personalities, financial input, creativity and dedication is what makes this all happen and what keeps people coming back, satisfied. Ann and Darielle - DnA events. Ladies, your work is incredible and the way you handle pressure and moments when things go a little bit off track is unbelievable! Cornelia Badenhorst and Judy Graaff of De Liefde, with the help of Hendrik Coetzee makes sure that every meal and break in the programme looks good and has some unique Swartland style. It is appreciated and admired. Coenie and Johan and their whole Mama Cucina Team - you cooked for days, set places for hours and still made us pizzas on Saturday night and fed people lunch on Sunday. Your food is world class and your presence in the valley is a blessing. Judy Badenhorst, Ena Louw, Suzie Sadie and Anita Rock - The Revolutionary Moms - just wow. It might have taken a while to get everyone their lunch pack on Saturday, but some things are worth waiting for and patience was after all a theme of the weekend. Serge Hochar, David Sadie, Craig Hawkins, David Clarke, Tim James - thank you for your insightful and inspirational seminars and wines. Nothing moderate about any of it and from the feedback people appreciated and enjoyed every single tasting. A great balance of fun and facts. DJ Chopper - we have always had a good party on the Friday night but this year raised the roof. Thanks for the tunes, my feet are still sore... Lars Lyndgaard Schmidt, Kyle Dunn and the Malmesbury men who came to play barmen - die Caperitif het geloop. The cocktails added a new dimension to the experience and the product is amazing. I was still making people concoctions with whatever was still in stock long after the bar had closed, a big hit even if i was cursed for my heavy hand the next morning. Wicket Treats and Beans about Coffee - thanks for breakfast, what would we do without you? Callie and Craig - The Southern Smoke is flippen fantastic and your smoked snacks saved some lives. Devils Peak and Riebeek River Breweries - thanks for all the beer!! To all our venues, The Royal Hotel (G&T bars were fantastic), Riebeek Laerskool (as well as the hostel where all the food was prepared and where some tired guest laid their heavy heads down) thank you for having us. Maree Louw, Natural Light Photography - we look forward to your fantastic photos. Jo Middleton of Two Design in Franschhoek (yes..!) for all the amazing posters, logos, programmes, tasting sheets, mailers and more. Your designs play a huge part in making this thing what it is! The Swartland Independent Producers for bringing your wines to lunch. You guys are the future! Die Baardskeerdersbos Orkes - altyd lekker. Jurgen and Jasper for the after party. Great bad ideas as always... To every local who got excited and every out of towner and foreigner who flocked to our beautiful valley to make this event the stunning celebration that it is / was. To every guest and attendee who jumped in to help pack, pour, carry and serve... It would not be the same without you. I am inspired (how many times can you use that word in one post!?) and honored to be a part of this and I look forward to doing it all again next year. Book 6/7 November 2015 into your diaries! A recap of the weekend coming here soon, I just await some pictures from Maree. Thank you, dankie, cheers! Helena The marketing and media revolutionary. Think I missed anyone? Please shout, three coffees in and I am still struggling with this Monday morning.
So... by now you know that this year's Expert Opinion Tasting will see our "founding revolutionary wineries" each pour one wine of their own, next to a wine that has inspired them and their wine making...
But... can you pair the inspirational wine with the revolutionary?
Adi / Andrea and Chris / Callie / Eben will respectively bring you one of the wines below, but who picked what?
a. 1972 Vergenoegd Cabernet Sauvignon
b. 2000 Château Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape
c. 2011 Domaine Gauby Muntada
d. 2006 Domaine De Montbourgeau Vin Jaune L’etoile