The Buyer
All aboard Wines of South Africa and The Buyer’s restaurant safari

All aboard Wines of South Africa and The Buyer’s restaurant safari

It’s not every day you get to be driven around some of London’s finest dining venues in specially hired Land Rovers, meeting different South African winemakers in each restaurant, getting the chance to not only taste their wines, but have them matched with food from that particular outlet. Welcome to The Buyer and Wines of South Africa’s restaurant safari which took a team of restaurateurs, wine merchants and sommeliers on a tasting tour of four London restaurants.

Richard Siddle
11th September 2019by Richard Siddle
posted in People,People: On-Trade,

We are all looking at different ways of hosting a wine tasting, but the panel of buyers and sommeliers that signed up for The Buyer and Wines of South Africa’s restaurant safari certainly got more than a wafer biscuit and a spittoon for their troubles.

When we sent out the invites to the latest The Buyer restaurant tour to the group of leading on-trade buyers, restaurateurs and sommeliers we had to be very careful to get the wording right.

For this was no standard trip around four restaurants giving them the chance to taste different wines produced by top winemakers from South Africa – all paired with that restaurant’s food. This was a “restaurant safari” designed and devised in partnership with Wines of South Africa, as part of its South African Wine Festival, to give our panel of buyers the closest experience they could get to South Africa, without actually going there.

To add flavour and colour to proceedings WOSA even hired safari-style Land Rovers, to take the group from restaurant to restaurant, picking up winemakers and producers as we went.

It all hopefully helped present South Africa and its wines in the way they are supposed to be. To be enjoyed, with a sense of fun, adventure and discovery. Even though a couple of our invited buyers were a little disappointed to find out they were not actually going on a safari in South Africa.

A wine tasting with a difference: 20 winemakers, four restaurants, two Land Rovers and 12 buyers, sommeliers and restaurateurs

Ready and willing

To make The Buyer’s restaurant tours work you need to have wine buyers and sommeliers willing to get into the spirit of things. To be told to sip up, put down their latest canapé and get in the Land Rover to be whisked to our next destination. There is a timetable, after all, to be kept to.

So thanks to our intrepid, and patient group of buyers who included:

  • John Chapman: operations director, Oxford Wine Company
  • Jason Myers: co-founder Grosvenor Pubs, Bacone
  • Dawn Mannis: founder, The Sampler
  • Mattia Scarpazza: head sommelier, Petersham Nurseries
  • Nacho Campo: wine manager,Hawksmoor
  • Sari Rossi: head sommelier, Trinity Restaurant
  • Richard Gladwin: co-founder, Gladwin Brothers Restaurant Group
  • Valentin Radosav: head sommelier, Gymkhana
  • Andrew Rogerson: supervisor sommelier, The Arts Club

Forget Uber. Travelling around London with Wines of South Africa including back left clockwise, Richard Gladwin, John Chapman, Valentin Radosav, and Andrew Rogerson

Working together

It also needs a great partner to bring it all together. Which is where Wines of South Africa surpassed itself with a roll call of top producers waiting, in turn, at each restaurant we visited.

In all the restaurant safari covered four venues featuring a total of 18 winemakers, and 20 wines to taste.

The premise was very simple. All the buyers met at our first venue, M Victoria, to be greeted by our initial group of winemakers, before heading in Land Rovers to stop number two, The Belmond Cadogan hotel, in Chelsea.

Then it was a short hop down the Kings Road to restaurant number three, The Rabbit, part of the Gladwin Restaurant Group, and our third set of winemakers. Before finishing at The Wine Rooms in Kensington for our final group of producers who were then joined, Pied Piper style by all the other winemakers who had followed en route to all meet up at the end.

All ready for the off: Richard Siddle along with Mattia Scarpazza, Dawn Mannis, Sari Rossi and Nacho Campo

The winemakers and wines at each restaurant visited included:

Venue 1

M Victoria

Zig Zag Building, 74 Victoria St, London, SW1E 6SQ


  • Pierre de Klerk from Graham Beck
  • Berenice Barker, international commercial manager from Glen Carlou
  • Elizma Visser from Olifantsburg
  • Anthony Van Schalkwyk from Kleine Zalze
  • Carl van der Merwe from De Morgenzon

The wines

Graham Beck Brut Zero 2012

Varieties: 77% Pinot Noir and 23 % Chardonnay
Region: Western Cape

Winemaker: Pieter Ferreira and Pierre de Klerk
Price (RRP in GBP): £20

Importer: Bibendum

Graham Beck Cuvee Clive 2014

Varieties: 100 % Chardonnay
Region: Western Cape

Winemaker: Pieter Ferreira and Pierre de Klerk
Price (RRP in GBP): £40

Importer: Bibendum

Follow that Land Rover….

Olifantsberg Wines Lark Chenin Blanc 2017

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc

Region: Breedekloof

Winemaker: Elizma Visser

Price (RRP in GBP): £16.99

Importer: Hallgarten & Novum Wines

De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc
Region: Stellenbosch

Winemaker: Carl van der Merwe
Price (RRP in GBP): £21.00 Ex VAT per bottle / RRP £31.25 including VAT

Wholesaler to supply on-trade: Danny Spencer, East St Wines or Phil Weeks, Lea and Sandeman

Importer: Seckford Agencies

The wine safari travelled from Victoria through to Chelsea, the Kings Road, past Kensington Palace and up to the Wine Rooms in Kensington

Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Chenin Blanc 2018

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc

Winemaker: Alastair Rimmer

RRP: £17.60

Importer: Hatch Mansfield

Glen Carlou Collection Chenin Blanc 2018

Varieties: 100% Chenin Blanc

Region: Swartland

Winemaker: Johnnie Calitz
Price (RRP in GBP): £18.50

Importer: K&L Wines & Spirits UK

Mattia Scarpazza of Petersham Nurseries with Dawn Mannis from The Sampler at M Victoria

Venue 2

Private dining room at Belmond Cadogan Hotel,

75 Sloane St, Chelsea, London SW1X 9SG


  • Irene Waller from La Bri
  • Carolyn Martin from Creation
  • Simon Back from Backsberg
  • Rikus Neethling from Bizoe

The wines

Creation Wines Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2018

Varieties: 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon
Region: Walker bay, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge

Winemaker: Jean- Claude Martin
Price (RRP in GBP): £17.50

Importer: Bibendum Wine

Creation Wines’ Carolyn Martin on the cool climate wines from the Hemel en Aarde

Bizoe Wines Henrietta White 2016

Varieties: 70% Semillon, 30% Sauvignon blanc

Region: Certified as Western Cape (Semillon – Franschhoek, Sauvignon blanc – Elgin)

Winemaker: Rikus Neethling
Price (RRP in GBP): £15.50 exVAT

Importer: Davys Wine Merchants

La Bri Double Door White 2017

Varieties: 56% Roussanne, 19% Chardonnay, 15% Viognier, 10% Semillon.

Region: Franschhoek

Winemaker: Irene de Fleuriot
Price (RRP in GBP): £17

Importer: PDN Wines

Backsberg Family Reserve White 2018

Varieties: 55% Roussanne, 42% Chardonnay, 3% Viognier

Region: Paarl

Winemaker: Alicia Rechner
Price (RRP in GBP): £24.75

Importer: Ellis Wines

Venue 3

Rabbit Restaurant

172 Kings Road Chelsea, London SW3 4UP

Jo Wehring, head of Wines of South Africa, was the inspiration for the wine safari… in London


  • Jean Naude from Groot Constantia
  • Jasper Wickens from J.C. Wickens Wines
  • Gottfried Mocke from Boekenhoutskloof
  • Ellis Wines representative

The wines

JC Wickens Wines Swerwer Red Blend 2018

Varieties: 53% Cinsault, 35% Grenache, 12% Tinta Barocca

Region: Swartland

Winemaker: Jasper Wickens
Price: £16.50 per bottle

Importer: Gudfish/ Carte Blanche

Jasper Wickens shows his wines to the sommeliers and buyers at Rabbit on the Kings Road

Strandveld Vineyards The Navigator 2015

Varieties: 58% Shiraz, 26% Grenache, 9% Mourvedre, 7% Viognier
Region: Cape South Coast (Elim)

Winemaker: Conrad Vlok
Price (RRP in GBP): £19.95

Importer: Ellis Wines

Bokenhoutskloof Chocolate Block 2018

Varieties: 69% Syrah, 13% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Viognier
Region: Swartland

Winemaker: Marc Kent & Gottfried Mocke
Price (RRP in GBP): £23.00

Importer: New Generation Wines

Trinity Restaurant’s Sari Rossi

Groot Constantia Wine Estate Gouverneurs Reserve 2016

Varieties: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 11% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot Region: Constantia

Winemaker: Boela Gerber
Price (RRP in GBP): £33.99

Importer: Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Venue 4

Kensington Wine Rooms

127-129 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 7LP


  • Alex Milner from Natte Valleij
  • Paul Boutinot from Waterkloof
  • Samantha and Ryan from Terracura
  • Wynand Grobler from De Kleine Wijn Koöp
  • Pete Kelly from DGB
  • Tremayne Smith – Blacksmith Wines

Paul Boutinot takes the buyers through his wines at the Wine Rooms in Kensington

The wines

Old Road Wine Company Pardonnez-Moi Cinsaut 2018

Varieties: 85% Cinsaut, 15% Sangiovese
Region: Paarl & Stellenbosch

Winemaker: Ryan Puttick
Price (RRP in GBP): £9.99

Importer: DGB Europe

The Blacksmith Barebones 2018

Varieties: 100% Cinsault

Region: Paarl

Winemaker: Tremayne Smith
Price (RRP in GBP):

Importer: Carte Blanche Wines

Mattia Scarpazza chats with Tremayne Smith of Blacksmith Wines

Waterkloof Seriously Cool Cinsault 2018

Varieties: 100% Cinsault
Region: Stellenbosch

Winemaker: Nadia Barnard-Langenegger
Price (RRP in GBP): £14.99

Importer: Boutinot

Natte Valleji Cinsault 2017

Varieties: 100% Cinsault
Region: Stellenbosch

Winemaker: Alex Milner
Price (RRP in GBP): £17.99

Importer contact details: Museum Wines

Alex Milner was one of the first winemakers to really take Cinsault seriously in South Africa

Kleine Wijn Koop Ou Treffer 2017

Varieties: 100% Cinsault

Region: Stellenbosch

Winemaker: Wynand Grobler

Price (RRP in GBP): £28

Importer: Graft Wine Company

Terracura Wines Silwervis Cinsault 2017

Varieties: 100% Cinsault

Region: Swartland

Winemaker: Ryan Mostert
Price (RRP in GBP): £35

Importer: Carte Blanche Wines

The restaurant safari tour was part of Wines of South Africa’s South African Wine Festival that ran between September 1 to 7 which included a number of events, tastings and opportunities for winemakers, producers and importers to showcase their wines both to the UK premium on-trade but also direct to consumers.

  • Our thanks to all the restaurants and their teams for helping us put on this restaurant safari tour and for all their expertise and hospitality.
  • We would also like to say thank you to DHL for sponsoring The South African Wine Festivaland to Sensible Wine Services for making sure the wines were in the right restaurant at the right time.
  • There will be a full downloadable report published on The Buyer about the Wines of South Africa Restaurant Safari later.