Klawer’s African Ruby Gem

The whole of the country seems to be in the thick of winter and the Olifants River did not escape either. I suspect it is this drop in temperature that has me thinking of warmer times. One such time was just last month at the Good Food and Wine Show in the CTICC. (Some perspective for those of you who have not had the time to read Cecilia‘s earlier posts: Klawer is providing a home for Cecilia, while I make wine at their Trawal premises.)

 For four days, from 26 to 29 May, the who’s who of the culinary world, and to a lesser extent the wine world, invaded Cape Town’s International Convention Centre. Visitors could warm themselves with anything from a spicy schwarma to a sweet jerepigo.

My turn to help Blom, our sales representative, came on the Saturday of the show. We continually poured tasting sips from the time that I arrived around 12 o’clock until I left at 6 pm.

Prior to the show I was involved in one or two debates on whether to participate in shows like these or not. Luckily the wine industry consists of so many different players, that even if some do not see a benefit in attending a specific event, there will be many others who will experience the opposite to be true for their business.  Klawer witnessed an increase in revenue of approximately 20% on last year’s show. If one adds to this that there was no price increase on the wines, I would think it safe to say that the show has been a positive event for the cellar.

Some of the wines that were responsible for this success were the following:

Birdfield Michelle Rose sparkling was a firm favourite despite rumours that the rosé boom of recent years may be a thing of the past.

The lovers of serious red wines were happy to befriend Birdfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, while drinkers looking for a fruit driven, red needed to look no further than Birdfield Shiraz/Merlot 2009.

Birdfield Sauvignon Blanc remains a frequent choice on the white side, with the Viognier satisfying customers looking for something different.

The show stopper, however, were the African Ruby Vermouth. “Ver – what?” I hear you ask. Don’t worry, I am ashamed to admit that I did not know much about Vermouth before my arrival at Klawer 18 months ago. A quick visit to good old Google reveals that it is a fortified wine flavoured with al kinds of ingredients and has been around since the late 1800’s.

Klawer’s African Ruby Vermouth, that had people returning to the stand time and time again, consists of fortified Red Muscadel infused with Rooibos Tea and Buchu. It has become a sure favourite amongst the public, judging by the constant stream of requests during the course of the afternoon. The subtle hints of Rooibos, accompanied by typical muscat aromas and delivered with a firm, sweet-alcohol finish, proved a good way to end this gastronomic excursion.

I left the scene to attend my dad’s birthday party, just as a new African Ruby enthusiast was saying to our General Manager: “You know, this is the best discovery of the day!”

All this talk makes me think it is time to put the African Ruby’s winter warming capabilities to the test on this ice cold June eve…!

Watch the video for a quick look at how Blom engaged with a couple of customers at a very busy CTICC.



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