Talking Wine

by Angie Tieling, June 25 2009

Human LIama Trophy

We decided to introduce a touch of levity into proceedings during the 2009 Open Day. Obviously, one of the more unusual elements of being in the wine industry is the fact that not all of the wine that passes your lips on a day to day basis actually ends up in your stomach. If you swallowed
everything that you looked at in the barrel shed and blending room, well, you wouldn't be able to walk in a straight line past lunchtime.

It is the practice of constant assessment and comparison as winemakerthat necessitates the need for spitting. You need to see, taste and observe how your wines are maturing to guage what changes, if any, are necessary at various stages of the process. In order not to get wine all over your clothes (and into the recepticle that is usually provided), it is a skill that one needs to practice. Most winemakers take great pride in their spitting prowess. The best spitters can create a stream of pure , unadulterated perfection, arcing their mouthful in perfect form and landing it gently in the desired place. They make it look easy, but as anyone who has tried will tell you, for the unpracticed it can simply be a messy, embarassing disaster.

So we thought of the idea to start up the Human Llama Trophy for the best spitter at our Open Day. We'll do the same every year from here on. For this year we used water, which is more difficult to control as it doesn't have the viscosity of wine. In years to come we will likely move into wine and also make it a bigger, more hyped event. We had a lot of fun with it this year in a very informal, laid back way, and it was great to see everyone getting into the spirit of the moment.

We had a stand out winner. Oelof de Meyer had either been spending a lot of time in the shower practicing, or he is a total natural. Either way, he killed the competition on the day and won six bottles of Dombeya Wines for his trouble.

We're looking forward to seeing Oelof back next year to defend his title

Click here to go to Dombeya Wines website.