It's a long story, but it has to do with spending several weeks in and around Stellenbosch, talking to food scientists and others involved in the wine industry at Stellenbosch Universitat, going to tasting rooms in and around Stellenbosch, Paarl, Hermanus ... and finally ending in an office at WOSA (Wines of South Africa) to chat about promoting these wonderful wines in the USA.
It's been over a year of frustration now, scouring the racks at Jug Shop, BevMo, Wine Merchant, K&L, Safeway,SaveMart, Whole Foods, World Market etc etc and wondering... where the heck are they? Why is it that we have such anemic selections of South African wines here in California?
I even went so far as to organize a tasting of South African wines at a garden party on Russian Hill in South Africa.... just to see what 80 neighbors could find. The results were pretty darn sad.
Now, if you are any kind of well-rounded wine drinker, you know that these "new world wines made in an old world way" are superb. It might take a while to develop a palate for "Steen" (their word for Chenin Blanc), but there are some darn good Steens available in South Africa.
So how about it? How about putting some promotional oomph into the West Coast? Maybe the recent initiatives by the newly-formed group USAPA will finally get the fires lit here. In a way, it's sad that a second group is emerging to do the job in marketing ZA wines more aggressively to the USA, but, well, finally.... ! !