I was delighted this week when La Motte’s signature red wine, the 2011 Hanneli R was acknowledged as one of the Top 5 Luxury Red Wines in South Africa! It really is a pleasure when the dedication and commitment with which a product has been crafted, are rewarded. Recently, I was also part of a conversation about how internationally, there is a reawakening of excellence in craftsmanship.
Think about the craftsmanship that went into the Ballon Bleu de Cartier Floral-Marquetry Parrot watch! Perhaps you have seen one of the beautiful videos produced by The Balvenie Scottish Whisky featuring internationally renowned chef, Michel Roux Jnr. in search of exceptional craftsmanship?
I love that there are still that exceptional focus on quality. Small quantities, hand-crafted with pride and care. That is also what we do with our Hanneli R wines.
But in today’s world with economic challenges, poverty, crime… should one not feel guilty about indulging in such things? In spending time and money and so much passion on a watch, a knife, a bottle of wine?
I thought about this quite a bit, but I think these things do not necessarily play in the same field. Of course, we need to be mindful and involved with upliftment and job creation, etc., but I can never negate keeping up standards, focusing on quality and celebrating excellence.
In fact, I think we have much to learn from this. We consume so easily and quickly within our commercial environment and it is only when we have to save some money to afford a watch or a knife or a bottle of wine, that we really appreciate its value. Then we want to hear the story about how it has been made, why its producers are so proud of it and place such a value on it.
But moving away from the ethics, in today’s world, can people still afford these luxury items?
I spent this week in Johannesburg. And while my love for this city and its infectious energy is no secret, this time, it was the aspiration of people living here that caught my attention.
As one of the “top 3” economic hubs in Africa, together with Kinshasa and Lagos, Johannesburg is where it is happening. It therefore also makes sense that BBC reports: “According to a report by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth, Johannesburg alone…is home to 23,400 millionaires.” [Millionaires in this study are defined as people with net assets worth at least $1m (£650,000)].
That explains why luxury brands, especially in Gauteng, still survive despite economic difficulties and even South Africa’s challenge to stay out of “junk status“!
But this also says something about the dream. Yes, the dream of owning a luxury car or living in a wealthy neighbourhood might seem trivial and materialistic, but when it inspires people to do their best and allow others to practice their craft, there is something comforting in the fact that the quest for luxury, might protect quality and excellence.