Some more information regarding the proposed new “Perdeberg Ward” I reported about in my last posting. I asked Hugo van der Merwe, secretary to the Wine and Spirit Board to explain what was going on, and he very courteously (as always!) did so.
It’s now clear that (this is no surprise) the application has come from Perdeberg Winery, which draws a lot of grapes from the large slightly undulating flatland between the Perdeberg and Paarlberg in the Paarl region. The WSB was apparently well aware of objections to the proposed name, from producers in Voor-Paardeberg and the Perdeberg area of the Swartland. The Board’s Demarcation Committee agreed that “although the area concerned merits demarcation the area cannot traditionally lay claim to the name Perdeberg”.
They informed Perdeberg Winery about this and suggested applying under a different name. Well, it seems that the powers that be at Perdeberg Winery were not impressed and insisted that their application should go ahead. So, says Mr vdM: “The Management Committee decided to proceed with the publication [of the proposal in the Government Gazette] to give producers/interested parties the opportunity to officially lodge their objections.”
Interested parties are already lodging their objections. It is pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain (except for Perdeberg Winery management, who can surely muster at least half a brain between them) that the objections will be deemed sufficient to block the proposal. It’s difficult to believe that this proposal will go ahead. Perdeberg Winery will look as stupid as an extinct quagga, and more stubborn, and will have to think of a new name for their ward.
Interestingly, the last time I mentioned Perdeberg in connection with the Wine of Origin Scheme, they didn’t look too respectable either (in my opinion). In 2011 I wrote about the extraordinary situation whereby Perdeberg Riesling, whose totally legal label claims that it is WO Paarl, is actually made from grapes grown in Durbanville. That is, the label contains what any normal person would consider a direct lie about the the origins of the grapes that produced it. And yet it is perfectly legal and proper, and there are other labels – possibly many of them – conveying similar untruths to wine-buyers.
See here if you want more about that sorry story, which is one in which the Wine and Spirit Board is totally complicit, I’m afraid – it’s the main reason for which I have less respect than I’d like to for the Board. And see here for the follow up, reporting how the Board investigated the situation and decided to do nothing about changing it, because those involved in this legal bit of fraudulence wanted it to continue. (To quote what I wrote there: “45 farms are involved in this misrepresentation. In the 2010 harvest, more than 17 million kilos of grapes were allowed to have winelabels tell lies about their origins; that is, 1.38% of total production.”)
So you, and the Board, will have to forgive me for my occasional scepticism about the Board’s total devotion to the integrity of the Wine of Origin scheme. I’m pleased, however, that they seem to be, according to their own account anyway, on the right side with regard to the Perdeberg Ward situation. Let’s hope it all comes right and we can all just sneer merrily at Perdeberg Winery’s defeat.