I have a Calvinist guilt-ethic deeply ingrained: it is slightly immoral to imbibe wine before midday on weekends and before 5pm on weekdays. I call these times ‘wine-o-clock’ and my husband, who is a whisky drinker, calls them ‘for-whom-the-Bell’s-tolls-time’. (Bell’s being a popular brand of Old Scotch Whisky sold here.) So, drinking a fine French Chablis at 9am made me feel a tad delinquent … for all of thirty seconds; until Janice soothed my conscience with her comment that “It’s 12 o clock somewhere in the world”.

Janice had invited me to attend her ‘Uncorked 2 / Part One: Old World Wine ’ course at The Wine School Johannesburg on Saturday morning. An absolute treat if, like me, you are interested in both wines and history. Our group was delightfully well-matched and five hours flew past, with almost too much information to absorb in a sitting. We quaffed while we learned: I didn’t know that Pinotage is the only grape that has its origin in South Africa, all other varietals are grafted from imported vines.

What we drank:
Louis Latour Chablis around R165 p/b
Guigal Cote du Rhone around R125 p/b
Chateau Fourcas Hosten – Listrac – Medoc – R245 p/b
Zonin Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – R58
MARQUES DE RISCAL (RIOJA) Reserva – around R245 p/b

A very amusing anecdote came to the fore, thanks to Janice about the Spanish lisp. Apparently it was an edict issued by one of the Spanish kings who had a lisp and wanted his people to speak like him. I’ve subsequently discovered it’s an urban legend, but I think it’s a lovely story.

Thank you so much, Janice, it was such a treat and I can’t wait for the 24th for the second leg of the course.

Go read these fellow attendees’ blogs for their take on the experience:





  1. That looks so nice! I love a day that’s spent on your hobby. My Sunday was a bit like that: a (much bigger) day on writing and reading in a nearby library. Great fun, such events.

  2. Yeah, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere:
    Interesting though, I was thinking
    the “First Sighting” that you posted
    about the other night was “South African”
    Oh well, my post joking about the FB brand
    hehe, the other night shows how much I know
    about it. Although, I have been known to take a
    Bit of burgundy with beef, and certainly had my Bell
    Tolled on the Scotch a time or two…God Bless You ,

  3. That is one way to kick start your weekend! And what a fabulous time exploring new wines. I’d love to find an informative class to take; mostly I stop in those wine tastings where you really just drink and there’s not much “history” spoken about the wines.

  4. Cin, though my only connections with whisky are that my Dad loved Bells, and my son lives near Campbeltown Loch in Scotland, I loved “wine o’clock”, and the story about a Spanish king’s lisp.
    Thanks for the post.

  5. Pingback: Time IS Relative! « Spirit Lights The Way

  6. Cindy rates as one of my new favourite students. She added a wonderful dimension to the course and as we tasted wines from different countries we mentally paired foods. I look very forward to the sabrage which Cindy will perform on a bottle of champagne at the next lesson.

  7. LOL…dangerous thought there, Janice (12 O’clock somewhere in the world)! We were just chatting yesterday about the lisp story, which I’ve heard from other sources, and thought could be true – but I’ll take it from you if not. Even so, it would be interesting to know why certain Spanish dialects incorporate the “th” sound, while others use the soft “s” (like my Chilean teacher). Perhaps I should look it up 🙂

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