NEIGH! Neigh! The countdown to The Mercury Wine Week 2016 has begun with KwaZulu-Natal’s premier wine show opening its doors in a mere 50 days – and returning to its roots in relocating back to Greyville Convention Centre in the rooms the inaugural event was held in 1979.
That means another year has passed; the cellar purchases from the last fun-filled evening have been drunk and the new vintages are making their appearances on the bottle store shelves – and on the exhibitors’ tables eagerly awaiting patron experimentation.

Founded within the historically acclaimed and renowned Greyville Race Course, the Greyville Convention Centre is an events venue par excellence. It is synonymous with style and for being home to the annual Durban July races, having hosted Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as numerous global and local dignitaries.
This year’s Mercury Wine Week, being held from August 24 to 26, promises to match the stately elegance of the new – and yet old – venue. An estimated 60 of the Cape’s premium wineries, as well as local eateries catering for that balance in the food and wine pairing experience, will descend on Durban to offer wine lovers an insight into this season’s releases.
It is also the ideal opportunity for everyone to expand on the wine knowledge gained last year by challenging the winemakers while trying out the new labels seen but not yet purchased.
It is a chance for everyone wanting to learn about wine culture to dip their toes into the water in an informative and fun fashion.

An exciting benefit for the trade this year is a specific trade event. The doors will open 90 minutes early on the first evening specifically to allow Durban’s wine trade unfettered access to the wine farms and visa versa – an uncluttered time to discuss business and taste new offerings before the hall fills with members of the public and the wineries are rushed off their feet bringing their outstanding products to a different market.
Anyone wanting information can contact Camilla Railton on camilla@conker.co.za.
Returning to this year’s event is the highly-popular Wine Theatre experience – daily sessions where different winemakers have a dedicated platform before private audiences in an intimate and information-rich setting. Entry to the theatre is included in the ticket price, but each session is limited on a first-come, first-served basis to 30 people – and the topics are guaranteed to add another dimension to the wine-tasting experience and knowledge sharing.
However, drinking and driving can never be condoned, which is why The Mercury Wine Week has renewed its long-standing agreement with BuDDys Designated Drivers to be on call during the festivities. This way patrons can indulge in the thrilling wine experiences and still get home legally, safely and without risking either their own life or those of fellow Durbanites.
Also, beyond the frivolity and wine experimentation, The Mercury Wine Week has always had at its heart raising funds for The Mercury Hibberdene Children’s Holiday Home. Situated on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, this project provides underprivileged, often orphaned, children with the experience of a seaside holiday.
A significant amount of the money raised annually is donated to the project to ensure these children can frolic in the waves, build sand-castles and be enriched by memories of a holiday because members of the public enjoyed an evening of wine-tasting.

Tickets cost R120 per person if purchased in advance by iTickets (opening July 25) or R140 at the door. Show times are Wednesday to Friday 5:30 to 8:30pm.

Nicola Jenvey