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Ronwyn Manser of Ice Models celebrates this year’s launch of The Mercury Wine Week, which runs at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World from August 28 to 30. For the first time, visitors will be able to buy a new, two-night combination tickets for R170, to do justice to the wines on offer. Single night entry is R100. Booking is open at Computicket.

THE new harvest has been successfully brought into the cellars with some varietals fermenting in their tanks or barrels and others waiting impatiently to launch on to the shelves – and the KwaZulu-Natal platform for consumers’ demands for these new wines is the annual Mercury Wine Week.

This year’s event celebrates the 35th time the Cape has come to Durban to create a highlight on the social calendar and for the wine enthusiasts seeking new experiences or the latest arrivals from their old favourites. Consider tempting your taste buds by interacting in the build-up online at www.facebook.com/MercuryWineWeek.

Being held at the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World from August 28-30, tickets for the province’s most prestigious wine show went on sale via Computicket from July 25. They will also be available when the doors open at 5:30pm each evening of Wine Week.

Given visitors will have the chance to try around 500 wines from more than 100 exhibitors, an innovative ticketing option allows for a two-night combination pass for only R170. That means there will be plenty of opportunity to wholly savour whites and sparkling wines the first night and tackle the reds, dessert wines or ports the next evening.

Single night entry tickets will also be on sale for R100 each.
South Africa currently ranks eighth in terms of the volumes of wines produced annually, contributing 3,5 percent of global stocks and translating into literally thousands of different bottles on the shelves each year.
Among the 2013 newcomers are Black Pearl Vineyards, Druk My Niet Wine Estate and Waverley Hills, while welcomed back are Buitenverwachting, Bonnievale, Diemersfontein, Fairview, Glen Carlou and Paul Cluver to name a handful.
Black Pearl Vineyards owner Mary-Lou Nash came to wine and South Africa by chance when she dropped in en route home to the US in 1995. She had been on an extended stay in Asia and wanted to view her father’s newly-acquired Paarl farm Rhenosterkop – and now holds a Cape Wine Master qualification as she runs her own boutique-scale winery.
Druk My Niet co-owner Dorothee Kirchner has been trailblazing new wines since the farm was established in 2003 and sees “great new blends” in the style of the T3 – an innovative blend of tannat, tinta amarela and tempranillo – coming to the market.
Another relatively young farm, Waverley Hills Organic Wines already boasts a string of industry recognition for its achievements. For the second successive year, the eco-minded estate has won the Great Wine Capitals Sustainable Tourism Award while the Shiraz 2009 took gold at Veritas 2011 and the Shiraz Mourvèdre Viognier was voted Best Southern Hemisphere Organic Wine at the Bordeaux Challenge International du Vin.
However, as always, The Mercury Wine Week is not only about meeting winemakers, launching new friendships with estates and varietals or finding an alternative to book club nights where you do not even pretend to be reading. Annually, funds raised from this event support The Mercury’s charity, namely The Mercury Hibberdene Children’s Home where thousands of children for generations have escaped their harsh home realities for long-anticipated holidays by the sea.
This year The Mercury has committed R50000 in sponsorship for this worthy cause, raised from the goodwill of patrons relishing an outstanding night’s entertainment while making a contribution towards bringing some rays of sunshine into the lives of deserving children.

Nicola Jenvey