Harlem Vintage Heads to South Africa

With World Cup 2010 so close, Harlem Vintage turns its eye toward the nation hosting the event: South Africa. Since wine is their thing (it is a wine store after all), and South Africa is “one of the most attractive emerging wine regions in the world today,” according to Wine Spectator, Harlem Vintage will be taking a trip to South Africa. Well, not literally, but if you stop by any time within the next week, you will feel like you’ve stepped right into Jo’Berg.

A couple of facts you might not have known: South Africa has been producing wine for over 350 years – since part of Bordeaux was still covered with swamps. The lead single varietals are Syrah and Chenin Blanc. Fifty percent of the world’s planting of Chenin Blanc are in South Africa. And, there is no wine region in the world that has undergone such an intense transformation in the past 15 years than South Africa.

It all starts Friday night (May 7th), as they taste fair trade wines from Douglas Green Winery. Douglas Green is a member of the International Fair Trade Program, which is a global initiative encouraging Third World producers of wine and other agricultural products to commit to improving the lives of the people involved at all levels of the production process. The tasting will take place from 5 – 8 PM.

Saturday (May 8th), from 4 – 7 PM, they will be tasting wines from Heritage Link Brands, owned by Harvard Business School grads Selena and Khary Cuffe. Heritage Link serves as the official importer for the South African Black Vintners’ Alliance. This tasting (which I definitely want to attend) will include wines from unique grapes that I’ve never even heard of: such as Bukettrube. This one’s going to be fun!

Monday (May 10th) brings South African Woman Winemaker of the Year Award winner, Ntsiki Biyela. She will be discussing and offering tastings of wines from Stellakaya. The event goes from 5 – 8 PM.

They wrap things up on Friday (May 14th) with a tasting from Indaba, which one can always find in my wine rack. I love it. I did not know this, but proceeds from Indaba wine sales fund the Indaba Scholarship that educates black South Africans for careers in viticulture.

Additionally, they will be sampling wines from the Cape Classics portfolio and introducing the new Jam Jar Sangria, just in time for the summer.

Harlem Vintage has continually worked hard to introduce Harlem to new wines and different tastes. They have also been very supportive of Black-owned and female-owned wineries. If you have a chance this week, definitely stop by and try one (or all) of the options from South Africa.