Black Elephant Vintners put wine and song together


WHEN you visit the Black Elephant Vintners (BEV) website, one of the first things you see on the landing page is a line that reads “A Robben Island native, an ex-stockbroker and an elephant walk into a bar …”

And you know immediately this is not your run-of-the-mill wine estate operating from a 17th century Cape Dutch-styled farm. Indeed, the three blokes behind BEV – Kevin Swart (the Black), Raymond Ndlovu (the Elephant) and Jacques Wentzel (the Vintner) describe themselves as “rebels of the vine whose mission it is to bring truth to the wine industry and create experiences that turn convention on its head”.

Left to right: Swart, Ndlovu, Wentzel

By cutting out the stereotypical yadda yadda and pretentiousness of the wine industry and dedicating their raw passion to the craft, these three self-proclaimed misfits have successfully created a unique range of wines with unrivalled character.

More recently, they have entered the canned wine market, releasing a Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé and Pinot Noir in 250ml cans. When asked why cans, in typical rebel style, Swart counters: “Why not? We see this as taking wine where bottles cannot go; picnics, hikes, music festivals, sporting events etc. It is also a completely recyclable, sustainable and vegan friendly product.

“We are very stuck in a narrative that wine comes in a bottle. This has never been the case for beer, gin and soft drinks. It’s a perception. Kodak never though digital photography would take off and Blackberry thought we all wanted keypads on our phones, and we know how those ended,” he adds.

Unique to BEV is its wine and music pairing experience if you visit the Franschhoek farm on a Friday or Saturday morning. Described as very interactive and hosted by one of the owners who shares their journey through the wine world, the dexterously composed music and wine pairing lasts somewhere between two to three hours but can take longer “according to the extent of the conversation”. Intriguingly, a silent disco tasting option is also available.

Some of their suggestions include pairing the popular Two Dogs, a Peacock and a Horse Sauvignon Blanc 2019 with Fun Fun Fun by The Beach Boys; Amazing Grace Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Amazing Grace by Tree63 (Swart’s brother Darryl played drums for Tree63); Rose Rebel goes down very well with I Don’t Like Mondays by The Boomtown Rats; the Nicholas Red blend with Mambo No 5 by Lou Bega; and the limited edition MCC Blanc de Blanc 2013, which they suggest drinking while listening to Queen’s It’s A Kinda Magic.

For those wanting to taste and experience the kinda magic these three rebels are creating there are two events happening soon that wine and music lovers should not miss.

On Saturday, March 28, BEV will host its first Harvest Music & Wine Festival from 11am till 4pm. This laid-back event will feature music by DJ Conrad from Absolute Sound as well as a selection of BEV wines and food from Duncan What the Wok and Craft Oysters & Co and – for the fun of it – an ice-cream truck and a free photo booth for festival-goers to capture it all on camera. Tickets cost R350pp (or R300 per person for a booking of 10 or more) and include a Music & Wine Celebration T-Shirt, a souvenir wine glass and a 250ml can of Black Elephant Vintners wine of your choice. Tickets are available from Quicket and limited to 300 people.

We have a pair of tickets to give away to an Eat Play Drink Cape Town reader. Head on over to the Facebook page to enter.

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