Aug 16 2011
A quiet storm is brewing before this FridayΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s three-way intervarsity wine-tasting between the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Rhodes on the Backsberg Estate in Simondium. Stellenbosch, victorious in the past two Vino Varsities, face a two-pronged onslaught from on-form UCT and enthusiastic first-time participants, Rhodes from Grahamstown.
Vino Varsity 2011 will see the three teams fight it out during an intense set of challenges which include a general knowledge section, a physical and gruelling wine tasting and an energy sapping debate.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║We desperately want to be the first university to take this title three times in a row,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Neil Bent, captain of the Stellenbosch Barriques. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║If we do it, it will not only mean a lot to StellenboschΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s reputation as a hub of vinous excellence, but our rigorous training over the past few months would have paid-off, proving pride is something you have to work hard for.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Bent knows, however that Stellenbosch has its work cut-out. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║UCT has been drinking from the runners-up mug for two straight years and they are not happy,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Bent. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║And with their rugby team taking the honours in the Varsity Cup earlier this year, they are set to upset the cart. We know we are up against it.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Doug Hoernie, captain of the Ikeys Crushers, says Stellenbosch has a reason to be concerned. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Our victorious rugby team has certainly motivated us to believe in ourselves,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ he says. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Training has been intense, but our major emphasis has been on strategy. We pored over video material of our performances over the last few years and have accepted our limitations and embraced the stupid mistakes we made. Our tasting has just not been up to scratch, so we hired a few technical experts to help us. Everyone trains hard Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ we believe we just trained smarter.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Both captains agree that the Rhodes Malolactics are dangerous due to their being the unknown factor.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Stellenbosch and UCT have an idea of what to expect from each other. But with this being RhodesΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s first venture into Vino Varsity, who knows what they are going to throw at us,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Hoernie.
Rhodes skipper Carina Truyts is keeping her corkscrew close to her chest and would not indulge the other two teams as to what the ladies from Grahamstown may have in store for them.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║General knowledge and debate, well, it could go anyway on the day,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Truyts. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║But the tasting session is where the real decider is going to come in. Just be prepared for fresh, un-jaded palates is all IΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗m going to say.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
According to Simon Back, Backsberg marketing manager, Vino Varsity was conceived to generate a greater enthusiasm for the wine culture among students at all South African universities.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║UCT and Stellenbosch have always been known for their enthusiastic wine societies due to these universitiesΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ close proximity to the traditional winelands,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Back. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║But by having Rhodes here this year and Wits a previous competitor, Vino Varsity is highlighting the excitement wine generates among students throughout the country. With this annual event we hope to bring the industry and future consumers a step closer to one another through a bit of fun, a heap of action and Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ of course Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ a glass or two of great wine.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ