I never need an excuse to make the trip to the Cape Winelands, but when Tokara announced that they were offering a double whammy – the launch of their annual ‘Wine Made Art’ selections and the release of their new vintages – I hot-footed it up the Helshoogte Pass.
As you can tell from the sculptures in the garden and Deli, Tokara owners GT and Anne-Marie Ferreira are passionate about art. And wine (obviously). So they came upon the idea of encouraging artists to create masterpieces painted with the noble grape. I’d never been to the exhibition before but it was fascinating. This year the Ferreiras chose the theme of 2014 World Design Capital Cape Town and challenged 45 students from the Marié Stander School of Art to capture the essence of the city using Tokara Shiraz 2011 as their medium.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. Dipping paintbrushes directly into the wine apparently produces a rather pale lilac grey. So the students – under the guidance of the experienced Stander, who’s been involved with Wine Made Art for several years – use an old Voortrekker trick for making ink. Reducing the Shiraz by boiling it with an old rusty nail and some protea leaves results in a richer, burgundy colour.
Twenty of the best paintings are displayed. My favourite is Francia Morris’ Beacon of Hope. The little girl is holding the Robben Island lighthouse and, if you look carefully at the top of her dress, you’ll see the profile of Table Mountain. Beside the painting is a short explanation by the artist: the silhouette of Table Mountain that Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates saw from Robben Island was their beacon of hope.
It’s a thought-provoking exhibition, made even more enjoyable by the opportunity to sample the new Tokara Director’s Reserve wines, Reserve collection and Limited Release wines – and of course their yummy olive oils.
Tokara winemaker Miles Mossop’s motto is inspired by Robert Mondavi’s quote, ‘Making good wine is a skill. Making great wine is an art.’
I’ll add to that, ‘…and great wine makes for great art.’
Where Tokara, R310 (Helshoogte Pass), Between Stellenbosch & Franschhoek
Trading hours Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm, weekends 10 am – 3 pm
Contact +27 21 808 5900, www.tokara.co.za
Featured image Designing a better future – Liezl Beukes
Photography Mark Lester