THE Black Cellar Club (BLACC) will host its first premium wine and spirits festival – BLACC Fest X Langa on November 10 and 11. South Africa’s first township, Langa, was chosen for the occasion and the Guga s’Thebe Arts & Culture Centre makes for the ideal address.
The festival was the next logical step for the club, says co-founder Ian Manley of luxury brand representation company Vula Afrika.
“Aubrey Ngcungama and I began BLACC in September 2016 and came up with BLACC Mondays – when members are introduced to participating wine estates – which have been successful and continue to grow. However, they reach only a small audience so we had to think ‘now what?’. If we are truly going to be a club that’s there to educate the people of South Africa about wines – premium wines specifically – and the respect you have for wine when you’re drinking it, we had to reach a larger audience,” says Manley.
Says Ngcungama: “The essence of BLACC is to bring South African wines to the greater population of African people who have yet to fully embrace the wine industry, while also encouraging the wine industry to embrace this influential demographic. Through the club’s sommeliers and wine stewards, hospitality workforce and influencers, BLACC has journeyed two short years to become known in the country’s corporate boardrooms and beyond.”
BLACC Fest X Langa is a continuation of this message, bringing South Africa’s finest wine estates and distilleries to the people, paving the way for future occasions throughout the country in the near future.
All the stands at the festival have been snapped up and include powerful big brand names, as well as pro bono stands for a new generation of winemakers, including sommeliers at The Test Kitchen and La Colombe Tinashe Nyamudoka and Tongai Joseph Dhafana respectively.
Partners include Distell premium wines and spirits, Bruce Jack Wines, Hartenberg, Holden Manz, Jordan, Steenberg, Villiera, Zandvliet and The South African Brandy Foundation, among others. Musgrave Gin and Graham Beck will be showcasing their products at their own bars, and Peninsula Beverages is on board with all the soft drinks and mixers, as well as a functional furniture installation made from its red Coca Cola crates.
While it’s predominantly a wine and spirits festival, there will be food available to line the tummies for all the drinking – which is encouraged to be responsible, with Uber having added a GPS point at the venue. Local chef Ntlalo Machurende Jordan will have his Jordan’s Ways Of Cooking on site, following several successful events he has hosted this year. Jordan has travelled the world cooking in five-star hotels, and has come home to share his expertise with his people.
Tickets have been capped at 400 to avoid overcrowding although the festival will have to grow in the future to be profitable, with those funds being allocated to a new BLACC Foundation, within the club. The price point of R220 had to be a happy medium to accommodate the premium brands, says Manley.
“It’s a bit nail biting because it’s not only the demographic but science of festivals, in the sense of how do people book? We’ve connected with Quicket but the reality is people in the township don’t use apps for whatever reason.
“So what’s happening is there have been very few ticket sales through Quicket but we’ve done is printed tickets and given them to spazas and restaurants in Langa, which are selling like hot cakes.”
Wine can be intimidating even to those who drink it all the time, so to make the experience less so – and more enjoyable – there will be a team of volunteers to greet guests and take them around the stands to explain more about the wines and spirits. You’ll recognise them by their sexy BLACC leather aprons.
“The people have been calling for a revolution, not just any revolution; they’ve been calling for a wine revolution, where they can experience premium brands in their local communities, being served and being educated about those wines, by the cream of the crop of South Africa’s sommeliers,” says Wanda Guma, brand ambassador for the festival.
“These are people who ply their trade in some of the top hospitality establishments that South Africa has to offer. So, look forward to a weekend of superb wine and spirits, real South African cuisine, intriguing conversations and soulful beats under the bright African sky.”
YOU NEED TO KNOW
BLACC Fest X Langa takes place on November 10 and 11
Opening times: Saturday 11.30 till 6pm, Sunday 11.30 till 5pm
The venue is the Guga S’thebe Arts & Culture Centre, King Langalibalele Street, Langa
Tickets are available via Quicket, http://qkt.io/blacc-fest, and cost R220 a person a day, including a branded glass and 10 tasting vouchers in a hessian bag. No under 18-year olds will be allowed access to the premises
Street food by Jordan’s Way of Cooking and Boulevard 82
Festive beats by the Abavuki Marimba Band, DJ Fosta and DJ Sebs
Follow and join the BLACC Fest X Langa Conversation on Facebook, Instagram (@blacc_2016) and Twitter (@blacc_2016).
- This story first appeared in Weekend Argus on October 27, 2018
- Featured image by Claire Gunn Photography