South African Authors Captures Wine - Sense To Win Prestigious International Award

Cape Town, South Africa (PressExposure) April 17, 2007 -- More than 50 centuries ago the art of writing was first invented and great masters like Shakespeare, Mozart and Einstein practised this art with phenomenal success. Two authors, Elmari Swart and Izak Smit, capture the essence of South African wine and travel in their new book and so joined the ranks of writing masters with a superb performance at the Gourmand World Awards.

“Gourmand” originated from 13th century Celtic and today the Gourmand Awards are heralded as the highest accolade in food and wine publication. The concept of the competition was born from French epicurean Edouard Cointreau’s appreciation of gastronomy which enhances the quality of life as well as excellence in the art of writing.

His vision for the awards was to reward and honour those who “cook with words”, to select the best from the gastronomy books produced annually and to further the knowledge of, and respect for, food and wine culture. In its 11 year history, the Gourmand Awards have highlighted international superstar publications including Hugh Johnson’s A Life Uncorked, James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion, and Tom Stevenson’s The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopaedia.

Wine connoisseurs Elmari Swart and Izak Smit shared Cointreau’s vision and his entrepreneurial spirit. Together they identified a need for greater depth in South African wine writing and formed a unique partnership to write The Essential Guide to South African Wines – Terroir and Travel. The input of more than 100 of South Africa’s premier wineries, industry specialists and researchers made this a truly remarkable effort.

The Guide addresses terroir and tourism in a revolutionary way with the new Wine Pockets system. Individual Pockets highlight a specific terroir unit along with local wine styles, providing an overview of the unique qualities of each wine-producing area. Detailed regional, as well as single-day Pocket driving-maps make The Essential Guide easy to use for local and international wine enthusiasts and even include Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates.

Released in August 2006, the publication achieved astounding media success and became an instant best seller. But the authors’ most important achievement was yet to come – On 6 December 2006, The Essential Guide won the coveted title “Best Book on New World Wines - English” at the 2006 Gourmand World Awards. The spotlight focussed on this publication again during April 2007, when the global winners competed in Beijing, China, for the title of “World’s Best”. The Essential Guide won its category to become only the third South African book heralded as “The World’s Best Book on New World Wines”. This places the authors in much esteemed international company, immediately raising the standard for South African writing and wine-making alike.

"South African wines are a success internationally and so are wine books from South Africa,” said Edouard Cointreau, CEO and Chairman of Gourmand, “Wine tourism is quite developed in South Africa, while terroir is still controversial for some. This book is clearly excellent.”

The South African media agrees with Cointreau:

“An essential accompaniment to your Winelands exploration” – Planet Golf “The most complete guide to the Cape Winelands ever” – “A first for the Cape Wine Industry” – Michael Fridjhon (SA’s top wine authority; wine writer and critic) “A valuable contribution to wine tourism. Very good maps. (It will) enhance the Cape winelands experience for every traveller” – Natal Witness

About the authors:

Elmari Swart is an entrepreneur with vision, passion and ability to bring new ideas to life. In her wine career, Elmari combined professional knowledge with extensive local and international travel – to culminate in a Masters degree in Oenology, winemaking ventures in France, Australia and South Africa, as well as publishing in European wine magazines. With a flair for creative expression and an adventurous spirit she started her own publishing business and recently released her maiden vintage Syrah to a 4 star Platter rating.

Izak Smit heads a specialist business consultancy in the South African agricultural sector, focussing on the wine industry. Izak’s experience in financial management and international trade established him as a leader in the analysis and strategic alignment of new agricultural ventures within a globally competitive environment. Izak is a firm advocate of terroir wine. Motivated by “the custodians of our trade, fine wine and the beauty of life”, Elmari and Izak say they are already working on their next innovative concept. Together with specialist photographer, Jaap Scholten, their upcoming projects promise to be more remarkable success stories!

The Essential Guide - Now available from

About Cheviot Publishing

Cheviot Publishing is a boutique publishing house, bringing vital local knowledge to its readers. GPS mapping, in-house studio photography and printing. We specialise in publications on niche subjects such as wine appreciation, terroir or wine origin, tourism in South Africa, etc.
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Press Release Submitted On: April 17, 2007 at 4:14 am
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