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Butler Training Wine Class

By Butler Academy




During the first 2 weeks of Butler training we focus on extensive practical skills; pouring wine, carrying trays and setting the stage… We would like to share some of the information we learn at Butler School with you!


South African wine cultivars:


In keeping with the spirit of renewal in the South African wine industry, in recent years over 40% of the vineyards have been replanted as the industry has realigned its product to compete globally, moving from volume production to noble cultivars and quality wines. South African vineyards have been dominated by white grape varieties but the trend now is towards a more market-driven balance between white and red.



Noble varieties which have been cultivated increasingly in the past few years include Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, which produce top-class white wines, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. A significant proportion of our red wine vineyards are currently very young – 52% are under 10 years old.



Some of our oldest grape varieties (also called cultivars) date back to ancient times and were developed from wild vines. The original wild vine belongs to the genus Vitis and it is generally accepted that it was cultivated for the first time in Asia Minor, south of the Caspian and Black seas. All the wine grape varieties cultivated in South Africa, which were originally imported from Europe, belong to the species Vitis vinifera. Unfortunately the roots of European vines are susceptible to an insect disease called phylloxera and, in order to avoid it, they are often grafted onto American rootstock which is largely resistant to the insect.



A vine yields its first crop after three years and is fully productive after five. On average, the South African vineyard is replaced after 25 years but this depends on factors such as the area in which it is situated and how heavily it has yielded. Generally, its lifespan may be anything between 15 and 30 years although vines as old as 100 years still in production can be found.



The vine is a remarkable plant which lends itself to selection, propagation and grafting factors which make possible a continuous improvement in both plant and quality. Although most of the vine varieties cultivated here today were originally imported, up to now six local crossings have been released. The best known of these is a red variety, Pinotage, a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Hermitage (Cinsaut), which is cultivated locally on a fairly large scale.



The Worcester Region has the most vineyard plantings (19% of all vines), followed by Paarl and Stellenbosch (17%), Robertson (14%), Malmesbury (12 %), Olifants River (9%), Orange River (9%) and Little Karoo (3%).



The Worcester Region also produces the most wine (24%), followed by Olifants River (17%), Robertson (14%), Paarl and Orange River (12%), Stellenbosch and Malmesbury (9%), and Little Karoo (3%).



wine south africa


4 Responses

  1. Ingrid says:

    Dear Butler Academy – Thank you! I love South African wine. I am on your website everyday part of my morning routine!

    Keep up this fine fine butler school!


  2. shahrokh says:

    wine training class was is very important for a butler to have a good knowledge of wine and we got it yesterday.for me as head butler it was an excellent day because all butlers do the best for me . thank you butlers and thank you SABA

  3. Rika says:

    What an eye openening and insightful morning at Simonsig Estate! From the history, the family history, the process of wine making as well as Methode Cup Classique. Personally, the art of wine making, presentation and appreciation came to light once again! Denzil,thank you so much for sharing your insight and passion with us, we were so privileged to your treatment.

    SABA Student
    Oct 2013

  4. Dallas says:

    What an excellent day out!

    Soon to qualify as Sommelier, Denzel of Simonsig Wine Estate had us all enthralled by his knowledge of wine and the estate during our tour and tasting.

    The SABA class of October 2013 , comprising of 18 students accompanied by our Principal Mr Cross and lecturer Mr West and of course our very own Papparazzi, Mr Coetzer, enjoyed a wonderfully insightful tour conducted by Denzel.

    The Estate is steeped in history and has a reputation for being world leaders in their craft, winning multiple awards at every showing.

    Once our tour was concluded we were shown to the loft tasting room, which was beautifully set up for us for the main event of “The Tasting”

    The tasting of three Me’thode Cap Classique Bottles,namely
    Kaapse Vonkel Brut
    Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose’
    Cuve’e Royale

    All paired for the first time with desert. Yes, this became our morning tea and a
    wonderful one at that.

    Denzel has incredible knowledge but at the same time making us all feel comfortable enough to express our thoughts on bouquet or the nose of the wine as well as allowing us to express our own experience of the tastes we relate to during the pairing. We then had White and Red wines from the estate and you get to appreciate the full and diverse range of this estate.

    Simonsig was the first wine estate in South Africa to introduce Me’thode Cap Classique in 1971 using three grape varieties in “Kaapse Vonkel’, namely
    Pinot Noir – 50% Chardonnay – 46% and Pinot Meunier – 4%
    The result, Pure Joy and is still loved and enjoyed by people all over the world today.

    I can highly recommend this experience to anyone that a passion for wine and a love of fine dinning in a gorgeous setting.

    Thank You SABA and Simonsig for the Excellent Day Out!

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