All eyes on South Africa

FIFA World Cup fever will be building to a crescendo in South Africa over the coming weeks, but the June tournament is also creating a buzz on the country’s stands at this year’s LIWF. With the enormous changes – and challenges – seen in South Africa over the past 15 years or so, the World Cup comes at a time when the nation’s winemakers seem to be more ambitious and creative than ever. There’s a lot to see around the exhibition.

One of the joys of the South African industry is the dynamism of its young buck producers, and the mutual respect shown for the skills of the more established old guard. The LIWF is a terrific place to get to know the best of both.

Wines of South Africa certainly intends its stand to be a celebration of the world’s biggest football extravaganza. It will have huge screens showing an animated film which features a football bouncing through the Cape winelands. Visitors will have a chance to encounter plenty of South African wines’ first team squad, including Ken Forrester, Kanonkop,

a Motte, Springfield and Simonsig, all of which will present their latest releases. The stand will also showcase wines from black-owned companies such as M’Hudi, and following the theme of sustainability – a major driver for the South African wine industry in 2010 – a new seal will be launched at a seminar at 2pm on May 19. Stand I40/I50??New producers and product ranges are an essential part of any LIWF, of course, and an interesting one is The Deep Blue Wine Company, which will be launching a range of wines from around the world with rrps from £6.49-£8.49. Included are wines from Australia, New Zealand and several from South Africa.

The Quiver Tree Chard­onnay 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Pinotage 2008 from Stellen­bosch are joined by new varieties under the Parrotfish label from Olifants River. All can be found on Stratford’s Wine Agencies’ stand N22.

South African distributor and producer DGB will showcase a diverse range of wines. Among the new products are Boschendal Grande Cuvée Brut 2006, a Cap Classique fizz to be presented by winemaker JC Bekker, as well as two new names in the DGB stable: Brampton and the Stonewalker, a Western Cape venture from Franschhoek Cellar. Stand H40 ?There’s a newly accredited Fairtrade winery, Tukulu, on show at stand G35 with Crush Wines, while another Fairtrade producer, Koopmanskloof, will unveil its new single varietal range aimed at the multiples and convenience market on Ehrmanns’ stand J35. In keeping with the generic sustainability theme, Ehrmanns will also host cellar master Berty Jones of another Fairtrade accredited label, Stellar Organics

Winery, which is introducing new packaging across the grocery range, a number of no-added-sulphite wines and Heaven on Earth, being hailed as the world’s only Fairtrade dessert wine. Stands G35 and J35??Those in search of innovative formats should head along to see Roger Harris Wines and Paul Sapin SA launch their latest releases in 18.7cl PET. The Khulu Sky range will be available in this single-serve, 100% recyclable format. Stand I36/I40 ?Kleine Zalze will launch the latest 2009 Zalze releases and show its Foot of Africa range, newly under screwcap and aimed at independent retailers. Owner Kobus Basson and sales and marketing manager Ross Sleet will be in attendance. Stand I40 and I50??The acquisition of Arniston Bay was significant for leading UK brand owner, Percy Fox & Co. It will preview Arniston Bay’s Originals range and World Cup activity, including POS material specifically produced for convenience stores, independents and cash and carries. Nicky Versfeld from the Arniston Bay team will also introduce Welmoed and Kumkani, the brand’s premium ranges. Stand L62??Over on Bibendum’s stand, Graham Beck will debut its new Game Reserve Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, where a proportion of proceeds go towards conservation of a game reserve next to the Robertson-based winery. Stand L30??There’s an intriguing opportunity for Pinotage fans (and maybe sceptics, too) if they visit Spier Wines, which is presenting award-winning back vintages of its Private Collection Pinotage. Spier’s cellar master Frans Smit says: “Pinotage is a great differentiator for South Africa. The wines have evolved over recent years, and we are seeing excellent quality wines coming from a number of producers.” The newly created Spier UK portfolio will be available to taste. Stand N60??Another fantastic tasting opportunity presents itself on the Distell stand. For the first time some of its most acclaimed vintage wines selected for the Nederburg Auction will be presented for daily tasting. Now in its 36th year, the annual auction is a major highlight on the South African wine calendar, with many of the wines made in tiny quantities. Stand J40??Waterkloof is a new Stellenbosch winery with a terrace restaurant offering stunning views over the coast at Somerset West. The views may not quite match up at the LIWF, but Boutinot’s stand will showcase the wines which are made using biodynamic philosophies. Winemaker Werner Engelbrecht will be present. Stand K32??Myliko will unveil two new blends from Bovlei – a Shiraz/Mourvèdre and Zinfandel/Pinotage. It will also showcase three new ranges – the Collection, Reserve and Platinum – from Stellenbosch producer Lyngrove. Stand L10??