Podcast Tasting: The Fledge Riesling 2018

Fledge Riesling pix

Though Riesling is not a common varietal in SA, our tasting team decided to tackle The Fledge & Co Jikken Bareru 2018 Riesling, a small-production wine from the Cape Winelands.

Cape Wine Master and Grape Slave Debi van Flymen and Manmetdiepan Michael Olivier shared their expertise with a guest panel of economist Chris Hart, Malcolm MacDonald from Clientele and branding consultant Jeremy Sampson, while John Fraser smiled and sipped, purring gently.

Click below to give it a listen…..

What’s the beef about bacon?

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Coming to an outlet near you?

By John Fraser

Thank you, Burger King, for having saved my bacon.

For some time I have been grumbling that the Halaal designation of this burger chain, which I regard as far superior to its fast-food rivals, has meant no bacon in the burgers.

This is annoying to those of us who believe that no religious group should dictate what, where or when we eat.

So bravo to BK for announcing that bacon will be introduced in some of their SA restaurants.

They will also be making an effort to expand their Halaal offerings.

Don’t get me wrong.  If someone wishes to avoid bacon on the basis of some archaic religious dietary laws which were adopted by ignorant middle-eastern nomads many centuries before the hamburger came into being, then I am happy to let this happen.

As long this absurd rationing is not imposed on me.

Meanwhile, one development which I find bizarre and ludicrous is the decision that in future BK won’t call its hamburgers ’hamburgers’.

Nope, they will now be called burgers – on the outrageous grounds that they contain no ham.

That may be true, but shepherd’s pie contains no shepherd (I hope).  Ratatouille contains no rat.  Toad in the hole is toad-free.  And don’t get me started on cumquats.

To try to lean so far backwards in attempting to avoid offence that you could win a limbo competition….seems bizarre.

I think the only thing that will calm my frazzled nerves is a good hamburger.  With extra bacon.

This may condemn me to damnation, but at least this condemned man’s last meal will be bloody delicious.

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Auto sector continues to enjoy Patel’s patronage

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Ebrahim Patel

By John Fraser

Minister Ebrahim Patel has nailed his colours to the mast in supporting the SA auto sector and has promised a deeper partnership.

He made his remarks to a recent conference on the auto industry and innovation, which was held at Kyalami and hosted by the auto manufacturers’ association NAAMSA.

The conference was warned that there is a rapid change in the industry, brought on by leaps in technology, but there remains a lot of uncertainty.

Patel, who heads the recently enlarged Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, spoke of “a shift to a different gear in engagement with industry.”

He said technology will reshape how cars are produced, how cars are powered, how cars are driven, how cars are owned, and how cars are connected.

Government recently endorsed a Masterplan to chart the development of the auto industry, with key aims of doubling production and boosting local content to 60%.

“We require a flexible Masterplan, with agile manufacturers, workers who can continuously reskill,” he said.  “7% of SA’s GDP is contributed by the auto industry.”

Areas where there will be a deeper partnership between government and the auto sector should include growing new markets, especially in Africa, with the new continental free trade area (AfCFTA) being the “biggest game-changer.”

Turning to innovation, Patel spoke of rapid developments in batteries and other advances.

“This is quite a profound shift from the internal combustion engine to vehicle electronics”, he suggested.

He spoke of this transition to electric vehicles as a major opportunity for SA, and he said manufacturers must not wait for a consumer market to grow before moving to electric vehicle production in SA, as the export market is growing fast.

As part of the government’s support for the auto sector, it is planning an auto-suppliers’ Special Economic Zone in Tshwane.

One of the architects of the auto masterplan, Douglas Comrie of B&M Analysts, said this is the most significant manufacturing sector in SA, and the stakes are quite high.

He said there is twice as much investment by the big car makers in electrification and shared vehicles as is going into actual manufacturing.

He said future changes are daunting, and we must evaluate what is within our control.

SA still needs an institution to coordinate, monitor and evaluate support for the auto sector, but we have yet to see significant progress on this.

There is tremendous uncertainty over technology and skills development.

The head of Toyota in SA Andrew Kirby, who is also the President of Naamsa, said the industry’s 6.9% share of GDP is significant.

He stressed the need to support local suppliers, including smaller firms, and to bring in the latest technologies.

“The auto industry developed a five-year business plan to 2023 on volume, investment, local content, transformation, and to deal with technology,” he said.

“Last year we made 610 000 units; current plans are to rise to 800 00 units – a significant increase.”

In the next few years, local content will increase from 39% to 42%, resulting in R12.6bn in additional value produced in SA.

An extra 16 000 jobs will be created, mostly in the component sector.  With a multiplier effect, this rises to 46 000.

There will be new investment by manufacturers of R40bn in the next 5 years, some of which will be used to develop black-owned components firms.

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Wine tasting: De Wetshof Naissance CS 2017

Sipping, slurping and spitting away, we launch another ZA Confidential wine tasting podcast, with the 2017 De Wetshof Naissance Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gastronome and glugging guru Michael Olivier introduces the Cape Red to Clientele’s Malcolm MacDonald, brander Jeremy Sampson, economist Chris Hart and Cape Wine Master Debi van Flymen from Grapeslave.

Then the panel has a chat on the wonders of wine tourism.

Click below to take a listen….

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Do also check out http://www.michaelolivier.com