Sharrol Mukendi-Klaas wins ASI Gérard Basset Foundation Sommelier Scholarship

Sharrol Mukendi-Klaas wins ASI Gérard Basset Foundation Sommelier Scholarship


We are thrilled to announce that our very own Sharrol Mukendi-Klaas has been awarded the first ASI Gerard Basset-Foundation Sommelier Scholarship.

While Sharrol didn’t have much exposure to wine growing up, she soon found her passion, and today can be found serving wine and making recommendations to patrons at Culture Wine Bar, where she is a sommelier.

The scholarship includes hands-on mentorship, professional training and a guided visit to some of Europe’s most prominent winemaking regions. By the end of the scholarship, Sharrol will be certified as an international sommelier.

We are incredibly proud and can’t wait to witness more of her success!


On Tuesday 4 October, we were awarded the Star Wine List’s Best Medium-Sized List in SA, which recognises establishments with 200 – 600 references on their wine lists.

This was announced at the inaugural South African edition of Star Wine List’s annual global wine awards, which serves to recognise the best wine offerings across the world.

Among the category’s nominees were some of SA’s most prestigious restaurants and hotels, including the Western Cape’s Ellerman House and FYN Restaurant, as well as Gauteng’s Marble Restaurant, Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel and Signature Restaurant. As Chef Matt says, “As the only wine bar on the shortlist, it was an incredible honour to have been nominated among some of the country’s best establishments – many of them SA institutions.

“We have put a great deal of time, love and effort into curating a diverse wine list that we believe showcases an extraordinary variety of fantastic wines from our much-loved local producers, as well as hidden gems, cult classics and more.

“A pivotal part of our offering is the Wanderlist, a collaboration with Radford Dale Imports. This black leather-bound menu features a collection of some of the best wines from around the world – and at very attractive price points.”

We also offer more than 45 wines by the glass, and were a finalist in Star’s By-the-Glass List category.

With an international jury consisting of the likes of Heidi Mäkinen (Master of Wine & President Finnish Sommelier Association), Marc Almert (Best Sommelier in the World 2019), Piotr Pietras (Master Sommelier) and Tawanda Marume (Best Sommelier of Zimbabwe 2020), we are extremely proud to have been recognised by an esteemed panel of global industry leaders.

Of our list, jury member Pietras remarked: “Fantastic wine list with loads of fun and discoveries. Blend of quirky and well-known wines. A lovely representation of local and international producers. Tradition meets the modernity. Well done!”

We would like to extend our congratulations to all of yesterday’s winners, specifically Aubergine which was awarded the Grand Prix title, a category for those with over 600 listings. Says Chef Matt: “Aubergine is one of Cape Town’s longest-standing restaurants renowned for its world-class culinary and wine offering, and it is rewarding to see another chef-owned establishment achieving such recognition.

“The marriage between food and wine is as old as time itself. You cannot separate one from the other, which is why all our offerings housed at our 103 Bree Street destination retain a focus on both.

“Thank you to all the incredible people that have been a part of our journey: our staff, partners, members, wine producers and merchants, and of course, our customers. This win is not just for us, but for the thriving wine culture in SA – what an exciting time to be part of it!”

Alain Graillot Tribute Dinner

Alain Graillot Tribute Tasting and Dinner

Alex Dale, founder of Radford Dale, and Matt Manning, owner of Culture Wine Bar and Grub &​ ​Vine, recently hosted a remarkable tasting and tribute dinner in honour of Alain Graillot, celebrating the life of the much-revered Northern Rhône winemaker who passed away in March this year.

Graillot, a chemical engineer who was bitten by the winemaking bug in his middle years, arrived in Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhône in the mid-1980s. Mentored by his friends who are some of Burgundy’s most prolific winemakers, he went on to become one of the region’s leading producers, elevating Northern Rhône’s reputation across the globe. Dale, who was a long-standing friend of Graillot’s, explains that when he lived in Beaune, Burgundy in his early years, it was rare to find a non-Burgundian label on the wine lists at the local bars and bistros.
“The one exception was the Crozes-Hermitage from this chap named Alain Graillot, which was on all the good lists in Beaune, and was such incredible value. I later started importing wine into South Africa and I set out to meet Alain, as I wanted to add his wine to Radford Dale’s international portfolio. We immediately connected and Alain became a mentor to me, in terms of his ethos, exemplary humility and dedication to the values of simplicity, decency, authenticity — and, of course, unadulterated wine.”
Dale says that Graillot was seen as a pioneer of the time. “Crozes was the ugly-duckling of the Northern Rhône, an appellation not taken particularly seriously. Graillot dedicated himself to making outstanding wines of a calibre many did not believe possible from the appellation.
“He employed whole bunches in his ferments, which went against the style that was popular in the region at the time. This had the result of accentuating the spiciness and peppering the wines with a hint of ‘stalkiness’, which became Graillot’s signature &
The tribute tasting and dinner were centred around the number 25; a figure significant to Dale in that it commemorates the quarter of a century period in which Radford Dale has imported Graillot’s wines into South Africa. The event was by-invitation and limited to 25 Graillot friends and followers, including esteemed local producers such as Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst and Sam O‘Keefe. Twenty-five Alain Graillot wines were made available to guests, including stand-out vintages such as the Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude 2005 and the Crozes-Hermitage 1999.
With arguably the greatest line-up of Graillot’s wines to ever be experienced in one sitting, the tribute included vintages spanning from 1996 – 2019, from Dale’s personal cellar, which were offered to guests without charge in the spirit of Alain’s legendary generosity. The tribute began with an aperitif in Culture Wine Bar, before guests were ushered to Culture’s private members lounge, the Wine Library, which had been set-up into three areas for the event. The first section saw 13 vintages of Crozes-Hermitage from 2019 – 1999 lined up. “It was more a retrospective of Alain’s work than a formal tasting”, explains Dale.“The second section included six vintages of St. Joseph 2009 – 2000, while the final section was dedicated to Graillot’s special cuvée Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude, with six vintages from 2018 to 1999 for guests to experience.”
Following the tasting, guests were seated in Grub &​ ​Vine’s private dining room, the Green Room, to enjoy a five-course menu especially created by Chef Patron Matt Manning, which was designed to fit the crescendo of Graillot’s wines.

Says Dale of Manning, “Matt manages to balance his immense culinary talent with an appreciation of great wines; something which seems to be the factor that sets apart the best chefs of the world. He has an uncanny ability to bring out the best in a wine, with his elegant yet hearty dishes that compliment rather than dominate or distract — providing an experience that gives the food and wine equal billing.”


Both Culture Wine Bar and Grub & Vine are located at 103 Bree Street, the heart and unofficial culinary capital of the Mother City. Dale adds that he selected the venue with the unique and intimate spaces in mind, which would help create the ambience he sought and were suited to the evening’s journey.


“Culture Wine Bar’s standing as the centre of the South African wine industry in Cape Town is completely warranted. It carries the most innovative list of contemporary local producers as well as the most comprehensive collection of imported wines in the country today. It’s the sort of place in which Alain would have felt very at home — and indeed where his wines continue to reside.
“Nothing short of a remarkable send-off would do Alain justice,” adds Dale. Concludes Manning, “It was a privilege to host this tribute tasting and dinner together with Radford Dale. The evening, designed by Alex Dale in his friend’s honour, embodied the
love and respect for a great man and legendary winemaker.

“The extraordinary line-up of wines and intimate nature of the occasion is very much in harmony with what we set out to deliver to our patrons: creating beautiful experiences that allow people to celebrate life — over great food and exceptional wine, of course.”


This week we have chosen the Alheit Cartology as our Wine of The Week, which means you can enjoy this bad boy by the glass all week long!



A collaboration between renowned Chef Matt Manning of Grub & Vine and industry veteran Chris Groenewald, the wine list boasts wines from Burgundy to Bot River with over 80 bottles on the list. About 20 wines by the glass that can change daily or hourly depending on demand, and they have a great list of bottles with very limited production.

Local orange wines and Pet-Nat’s like the Usana ‘Luck of the Gambler’ Pinot Gris 2018 and Bosman Methode Ancestrale stand tall on the list next to wines from the Jura and even vintage Champagne, Marguet Pere et Fils ‘Bouzy’ Grand Cru 2014.

The wine list is broken down by the “Fresh & Smashable,” like the famous Costa del Swart Fauxjolais by The Wine Thief. Then, when you are looking to really nerd out, you can check out the “For the Geeks” section, where you can find some Grenache Gris from FRAM wines and Momento. If you are looking for the classics, “Good Old Proper Juice” has you covered with the Alheit Vineyards Cartology and, of course, the coveted Sadie Family Wines Palladius. If you want to venture outside of South Africa, “All around the World” offers wines from France, New Zealand, and Italy.

By Erica Taylor

Read more via Star Wine List


Culture Wine Bar’s The Wanderlist: Around the World in a Glass

A taste of the good stuff sans the snobbery

With current restrictions on globe-trotting, Culture Wine Bar, together with its partner-in-wine Radford Dale, is offering patrons the opportunity to travel the world… through a wineglass.

So, what is The Wanderlist?

It’s a curated collection of more than 100 premium imported wines, presented in a state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled unit that dominates the entire wall behind Culture’s bar counter.

Owner Matt Manning explains the concept: “The pandemic has hampered our ability to travel internationally, and I believe there is a growing desire to relive the memories from our past travels and experience the world, in some or other way, shape or form.

“Together with Radford Dale, we are excited to be able to offer bar-goers the opportunity to enjoy some incredible wines from around the globe, which they can benchmark against the fabulous South African wines that they will already find on our menu.”

The collection of over 100 wines hails from Burgundy and the Rhône valley to California, Marlborough and many more “far-flung locations that will capture the imaginations of adventurous wine-lovers”.

Read More via The Inside Guide