“We are in the entertainment business”, said Mark Norrish of Ultra Liquors at the Cap Classique Conference in Franschhoek this week.
Leading up to the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne festival annually taking place during the first weekend of December, the conference focused on a variety of opportunities and challenges facing the South African sparkling wine industry. From the increasing importance of online sales and social media to retail, restaurants and even the science behind the bubble!
Another interesting topic was addressed by Paul Gerber of the Cap Classique Association. He is busy with research on the influence of cork closures during fermentation on bottle-fermented sparkling wine.
Called Agrafé Tirage Liege, this very traditional closure of the fermenting bottle uses a cork that is almost “stapled” to the bottle to keep the cork from popping out. Rather than the standard crown cap most of us use in the production of MCC, Paul is of the opinion that this traditional cork closure results in better integrated aroma profiles and texture. The first South African sparkling wine that was made using this method is called Le Lude and it will surely make out part of his research. I am quite interested to see the results.
I guess only a few of us really think of the science behind the closure or the bubble when we enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or champagne, but regardless of your reasons, this weekend’s Franschhoek celebration of Cap Classique and Champagne, promises as always, to be a highlight on the social calendar. And to get back to Mr Norrish’s remark on being in the entertainment industry, I think he has it spot on! Although there is much to be excited about when talking about the science behind wine, the terroir, the style, the maturation – in the end, it is all about enjoyment!