Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dear Mark

I hope you don't mind me being so casual, but you don't strike me as a formal sort of bloke. I just wanted to say thanks for an amazing "jol" on Saturday.

I have been to a few harvest festivals lately and can honestly say yours stood out. I was under the impression that South African wine farms were highly mechanized, as I am yet to see anybody other than farm management at these so called harvest festivals. Your obviously do things differently. Either way it was great to meet the people that do all the hard and sometimes dirty work. Your team certainly seemed like a happy bunch, dancing, laughing and celebrating life. I actually learnt a few new dance moves, to be honest I never new any before Saturday. I also got a few marriage proposals so I may just be moving onto the farm, but looking at your staff housing it certainly would be a great move as your digs are way better than mine.

I know that it was an Oesfees, but being a wine farm I was surprised to find that there wasn't a more formal wine element to festivities. No spittoons, no swirling, sipping, smelling? Shock horror. I even noticed people putting ice into plastic wine glasses, surely a first for a wine festival? I must say I took a liking to your Cape Jazz Shiraz, I wasn't the only one, it seemed to add a more rhythmical step to most dance moves. Heck you could be on to something: wine and music pairing...I even tried some of the lovely traditional Cape food, boboties, samoosas and a lekker breyani. If there is any left, could I pop around for leftovers?

Your line up of bands, dancers, singers, rappers and graphitti artists certainly proved better value than the R1000 I paid for my U2 ticket. I may not be ready for the ArtScape just yet, but I certainly learnt a few things and found my rich South African heritage on the daans floor of Solms Delta. I believe there is this group called WOSA, they market SA wine overseas or something like that. They like to promote SA as the floral capital of the world, and somehow tie this in with wine...maybe you should invite them to next years Oesfees.
The best thing about the Oesfees? I have 365 days to practice my riel dans.



Dear Dionysus

I hope you don't mind me writing straight back like this but you don't strike me like a formal sort of god. Hang, you and I even share a few vices. I am truly delighted to hear that you attended our Oesfees, especially in view of the fact that it was not really laid on for Gods, as you noticed. Yes, I have heard that WOSA markets the Cape's biodiversity overseas. Please do feel free to bring them along next year. I would love to introduce them to another aspect of our diversity. On Saturday the thought even occurred to me that this human aspect might be more important than the floral one, but I was a little tipsy at the time and can become sentimental. I guess international consumers(like many of your fellow Gods) have never heard of South African farm workers. Anyway, thanks for your kind remarks, sorry about the ice, and good luck with the Riel dancing.

With all good wishes,
Solms Delta


  1. Nicely written Dion. Makes me regret not going through.

  2. Dear Dion,

    I also attended the Oesfees and I concur, the experience was an abstract piece of artistry. Solms Delta, in more way's than one is actually the best wine estate in the country, quite possibly in the world.

    It's the first time that I've heard of the wine gods after runnning into this post on facebook, well... I'm a member of the WINECOPS: (Wine Connoisseurs On Point Society), sommelier @ Wijnhuis (Stellenbosch)and co-own an African cuisine restaurant and pub that aims to allow the pairing of supalitive wines with North-West-East&South African cuisine. My opening was just a day after the Oesfees, on the 27th March 2011. 300+ people showed up and celebrated until the wee hours of the morning, finishing every drop of wine, spirits, beers and ciders I had stocked up. In short, it was a huge success! If this, in any way interests you, I'd like you to come through and have a look. Until then... may the gods continue to thrive! :-)I'll be waiting @:
    (+27) 076 758 9908
    Michael Gabagas

    African Lounge

  3. Hi Michael

    It may seem a stretch of the imagination but Saturday at Solms Delta filled me as a Saffa with the same pride as when Nelson Mandela was released from prison...when we all voted for the first time in 1994...and when SA won the rugby World Cup in 1995. As a sommelier you would know what terroir is, that odd French concept of place. Well we in SA have more than that...and I think I felt that on Saturday. We have people and the spirit of people. If we can somehow bottle that then world wine domination is our future. And I think this is where Mark Solms and the people of Solms Delta are smart. Business is about people. African Lounge doesnt buy wine from Solms Delta, Michael buys wine from Mark. Solms Detla is people centric business: the names of the wines, the history, the culture and the Oesfees. Everything tells a story about people. Solms Delta is so much more than just a business.

    I would love to check your spot out it sounds great. As long as you have cold Chenin I am there!


  4. A cool post dear brother-in-wine. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Dusan aka @StefanLuka on twitter