25 years ago, Juliet Cullinan, who at that time was working as a freelance wine writer, managed to persuade 20 of South Africa’s top wine makers to take a stand at a wine show that she was putting together at the Inanda Club.
She believed that there was a market for exclusive boutique wines from smaller, high quality Cape wineries that would appeal to a high-end niche market. More importantly she wanted to provide a forum for interaction between wine lovers and talented cellar masters.
Cullinan’s pioneering concept was a resounding success, and Cullinan, since then, has staged an annual show. Unlike wine shows that followed her concept, on a much larger scale, she has chosen to keep her show fairly small, choosing up-market and more intimate environments where people can meet and sample the best new wines.
Each winery featured in the superior Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival – a vitrine of the Cape’s finest cellars – is handpicked for its quality and distinction. By showcasing small, exclusive boutique wineries, she provides a forum for interaction between wine lovers and talented cellar masters.
Since its inception, the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival, which takes place on the 12th& 13th May, has witnessed a dramatic growth in the wine industry. From a couple of dozen Western Cape wine farms there are now almost 1000 wine producing farms. Since 1990 entire new wine growing areas have opened up in South Africa with winemakers offering an ever-changing and increasingly wide range of cultivars.
One thing has not changed however – Cullinan has stuck to her formula of exclusivity and this year, will host around 50 of the country’s top wine makers.
Standard Bank took on the sponsorship of the event fifteen years ago. Cullinan’s unique, exceptional, distinctive, exclusive, established high end wine market was a good match for the bank’s high value corporate and investment banking client base. “I am grateful for Standard Bank’s support for the art of winemaking,” she said.
After many years and different venues, the festival is returning to the Inanda Club and will enjoy the newly refurbished Polo Lounge. “I am so excited to be back at the Inanda Club. This elegant venue which overlooks the polo field is looking spectacular. It is fitting that the event has returned to the place it was first launched,” she said.
Again Makro will be the festival’s retail partner with their Sip & Shop. Festival goers will be able to buy wines at discounted prices on the night.
Cullinan has fond memories of her first show. “I remember the late Ross Gower doing flick flacks at the event which was also supported by Giles Webb of Thelema, Lowell Jooste from Klein Constantia and by Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson. I had to laugh because at the end of an intense couple of days the winemakers, after they had packed up their stands, decided what they really needed was a nice cold beer.”
DATE: 12th & 13th May 2015
(NEW!) VENUE: The Polo Room, Inanda Club, 1 Forrest Road, Inanda, Sandton
TIME: 17:30 – 21:00
COST: R250 celebratory ticket if booked online by 10th May; R280 thereafter and at the door
(Purchased tickets include a complimentary light meal prepared by By Word of Mouth.)
Tickets available through www.webtickets.