GRAPE TO GLASS ~ Distell Inter Hotel Challenge 2022

August, one of our winter months with cold crisp days in the Mother City of Cape Town, is quite an ideal time for our annual Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Grape to Glass programme, which takes place in the winelands and held online for our Wine Stewards in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. During the programme they meet the winemakers and distillers, are introduced to choice wines and warming spirits. Our superb brandies and whiskies have travelled the world with their excellence, renowned for their quality and both proudly South African garnering many prestigious awards.

Nederburg is the loveliest venue for our Cape based wine stewards an auspicious start to a spring of learning. Velvety green lawns and tranquility in this exquisite part of our Winelands. Nederburg has a great tradition and we know a glorious future.

Accomplished Winemaker Pieter Badenhorst of Nederburg, a huge imposing estate in Paarl with wide international recognition, has a most distinctive way of mentoring instilling the power of positive thinking, coming across as a passionate advocate for our much lauded wines of the Cape.

At impressive Durbanville Hills – a study in nature and wine with all enveloping views and where memorable wine tastings are de rigueur.

Winemakers Kobus Gerber and Wilhelm Coetzee
Cellar Master Martin Moore (below)

The Grape to Glass is a very special time when our wine stewards are introduced to the many facets of wine and how to appreciate it. Most important is that they learn that appreciation and how to make an informed choice. That wine is to be enjoyed not only in its own right, but as important an accompaniment to excellent cuisine, making the marriage of food and wine a pleasure to savour.

Marlene Bester Master Distiller superbly fills her role for our world class award winning Van Ryn’s Brandy made in the Van Ryn’s Distillery in Stellenbosch. There was huge appreciation for giving of her treasured knowledge and valuable time to our Wine Stewards, Waiters and Concierges. All of whom need a better understanding of the vital role that the winelands play in tourism. A visit that should be on many a bucket list.

On tour at Van Ryn’s Distillery, Stellenbosch, what a special day it was as we were delighted to greet Distinguished award-winning Master Distiller Andy Watts who joined us from his James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, home of South Africa’s finest whiskies, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and Three Ships Whisky that have swept the boards and had huge recognition worldwide.

Avid appreciation for the subtle notes by Wine Steward Candidate Hendrick Mabengo with Mentor Ndaba Dube F&B Ops Director, The President Hotel who sets a fine example year after year.


Across the board; Chefs, Pastry Chefs, Baristas, Wine Stewards, Waiters and Bakers ready to give of their best. A toast at JC Le Roux during the excellent lunch at one of the really top restaurants in Stellenbosch for the coming brilliant summer season.

Queen Victoria Hotel & Manor House Team and their impeccably dressed candidates, ready to represent at the Cook-Off and Service Presentation in October.

Winemakers Ulrich Hohns of JC Le Roux and Matthys Botes of Pongrácz. Consistent skill has gone into the making of these heritage bubbles which are among the most popular in the country and often a first choice for family celebrations.

Sommelier Jean Vincent Ridon of Sommeliers Academy has all the knowledge at his fingertips and imparts it with typical French élan and elegance!

Both the Cape Wine Academy and the Sommeliers Academy are admirable institutions represented by excellent lecturers; Sandy Harper, Wanda Cronje, Chris de Klerk and Jean Vincent Ridon. The Grape to Glass is where they are able to share the history and background to the study of wines and most important the understanding of what excellent and polished service means.

The Cape Wine Academy and Riedel Africa graced the day increasing the skills and knowledge of our wine heritage! The Cape Wine Academy is a most impressive establishment giving the key to wine education for over four most successful decades. This year Principal Heidi Duminy has provided stepping stones to over 70 candidates with winning bursaries.

Once step further is of course to drink fine wine from a fine glass and Riedel glassware lecturers; Kerry Sutherland at Nederburg, Matthew Draper at Beverly Hills and Charmaine Cockhead at The Swiss Hotel School provided that valuable background so knowledgeably and with such elegance. The clear understanding of the role that a delicate crystal glass does to enhance the enjoyment of the wine and how important it is to experience the different styles of wines in appropriate glasses.

To truly experience the charm and warm hospitality of the Cape, enjoy a day of discovery of our unequalled winelands.

#Distell #InterHotelChallenge2022 #Showcook

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