A new home (or none) for Top 100?

A minor bit of news: Looks like the Top 100 SA Wines competition might have to find a new home-base – if, that is, Robin von Holdt succeeds in selling his luxury St James guest-house, Rodwell House. I’m told by someone who apparently peruses such lists that it’s offered in last Friday’s Business Day Homefinder for R23 million. The wine competition (one of the smallest around: last year it chose 100 out of fewer than 400 wines entered, and happily declared them the country’s best) does not seem to be included in the price. (It’s not clear, if it were, whether that would be seen by prospective buyers as an advantage or a liability, of course.)

The viability of Top 100 as a money-spinner for Mr von Holdt has surely depended to some extent on having Rodwell House as its home – it provides a venue for the competition and its awards ceremony, and somewhere smart for the judges to stay. Such logistical necessities can be very pricey, and the competition has not managed to attract a real sponsor. Rodwell House also gives space to its owner’s excellent cellar of local and international wines.

Of course, it’s quite possible that Mr Von Holdt is planning on buying somewhere even more suitable for his competition business – the Grande Roche for example. If he bought that, it wouldmean the Trophy Wine Show, rather, looking for a new home!

Regrettably my relations with Mr von H are such that I don’t feel able to ask him the reasons for his selling Rodwell House, or what effect the sale is likely to have on his little wine competition. But I’d be delighted to carry that story. Meanwhile, if you are alerted by the present story, and decide to contact Mr von H with a view to buying his little seaside place, do mention my name.


By the way, while we’re sort-of on the topic of wine assessments: Platter 2013 (which tastes –sighted – 10 or 15 times as many wines as the Top 100 does blind, so it’s no wonder that the latter advertises its book with the slogan “flatter than a Platter”), Platter 2013 is just about on its way to the printer. A local printer this time, rather than the Singaporean one used in recent years, which has given the meticulous Platter editor, Philip van Zyl, a little more time in which to be meticulous. So within a day or two, he’ll be emerging from his Somerset West fastness, where he’s been working non-stop for the past three months, limbs atrophied, blinking at the natural light, and no doubt in need of a five-star dop.

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