Bells & Whistles is a monthly newsletter which aims to give a voice to the Asara team, and to celebrate good news in our own quirky way. At Asara we regard our staff as our biggest asset, and each department has wonderful stories to tell and many achievements to share and celebrate. So please enjoy this edition, and please remember to share your stories and ideas with us.
Asara was deeply saddened by the sudden passing of rugby hero and our dear friend and Brand Ambassador, Chester Williams. Chester first became famous as a member of the 1995 World Cup winning rugby team and last year he gave a fascinating talk at the Asara staff day about that experience, and the role that perseverance and teamwork had played in his journey to sporting greatness, as well as describing the development of his close friendship with Nelson Mandela.
Chester served as an Asara Brand Ambassador in South Africa and Japan, and was involved with wine presentations and meetings with tour groups and overseas visitors. He interacted with members of the Asara staff at all levels over the past four years and will be sorely missed by the entire Asara family. In late August Chester was at Asara to celebrate the launch of an exciting new venture, Chester’s Lager and IPA. It was a fabulous evening with family and friends and Chester was, as so often, in ebullient spirits.
Asara Estate Manager Pete Gottgens spoke at Chester’s funeral and expressed our great sense of loss and our pride at Asara’s association with Chester. Mr Gottgens says: “ It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a friend of Chester’s. He added immeasurable value to the Asara brand over the last three years, especially in Japan where he is an iconic figure, and where Asara wine sales are at an all-time high. We will continue our close relationship with the Williams family for a long time to come."
Asara’s Vineyard Collection Cape Fusion 2016 won the top award in South Africa for Cape blends, the Perold Absa Cape Blend competition in late August.
This award continues an astonishing run of success for Cape Fusion. The 2015 vintage was awarded a Double Platinum Award / Top 100 status at the 2018 National Wine Challenge / Top 100 SA Wines, and received gold medals at no less than five prestigious international wine competitions. The recently released 2016 vintage was already awarded a gold medal pre-release at last year’s Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Asara was honoured to receive this prestigious accolade which is focused on South Africa’s unique varietal Pinotage and which reflects a fantastic team effort - from the expertise of our vineyard team to the artistry in the cellar. Cape Fusion not only offers consistent award-winning quality but also always punches well above its weight in terms of value for money.
Asara held a successful dinner on behalf of Wines of South Africa and the South African Chenin Blanc Association in September to introduce a range of local Chenin Blanc wines to a group of Canadian wine writers and journalists on a tour of the Cape Winelands. South Africa is increasingly gaining a reputation as a producer of high-quality Chenin Blancs in a wide variety of styles, and Chenin plays an important part in the Asara range of wines.
The dinner was hosted by Janette van Lill of the Asara winemaking team and the tastings included a pair of innovative new Chenin Blancs from Asara.
The motto of the Asara events team is “nothing is impossible,” and the team - led by Heidi Truter and Christine Goslett - enjoys every opportunity to use its collective talents and experience to create memorable bespoke events that range from weddings, conferences and dinners to celebrations of all types and sizes.
The estate offers many venues for exciting events from dinners in the vineyards and barrel cellar, to braais with spectacular views, to a marquee on the Ballroom lawn, to stylish Raphael’s and the Belvedere room, amongst others. For weddings it is an added convenience to have the Asara team on hand to coordinate the occasion, or to work with the bride’s wedding coordinator.
But whatever the occasion, Asara’s events team always brings a touch of flair and creativity that reflects the client’s own ideas and wishes, and that focuses on the creation of great memories.
Asara’s three Private Hotel School bursary student chefs have distinguished themselves by being chosen as a team to represent the school at the prestigious 'One&Only Reaching for Young Stars' chef competition for 2019. Head chef will be Oigen Kaptein assisted by Sihle Nhlapo, while Marius Meyer will be in charge of the desserts.
The initial stages of the competition began in early August and the final cook-off will take place at the end of September. Well done guys - and good luck!
Asara’s home grown soccer star Marelize Williams has returned from the Gothia Cup Youth Soccer Tournament in Gothika, Sweden where she played for her school team The Stellenzicht Falcons.
“It was an amazing experience,” says Marelize. “We had a tough time on the pitch but I really learned a lot. Thank you to Asara and everyone who helped me to go to Sweden.”
A warm welcome to new Asara team members:
Clinton Stewart - Reception
Mable Ncube - Chef de Partie
Loverly Tubajiki - Breakfast Waitress
Briton Moyo - F&B Manager
Harden Murimo - F&B Manager
Pius Mutikani - Porter
Albert van der Loo - Sous Chef
Hein du Plessis - Warehouse Manager
Filicia Mouries - Breakfast Manager
Wellington Muzondo - F &B Manager
With spring in the air, kitchen garden consultant Sue Torrance was recently back at the estate to assist Head Gardener Tommy Williams and his team with a spring clean, some new plantings - including lettuces, tomatoes, onions, spring onions, radishes and leeks - and to apply the home-made compost that has done so much to improve the soil quality and garden produce. Sue and Tommy have exciting plans for the kitchen garden this summer, and we look forward to seeing them unfold.
Congratulations to our very own Sansibar Manager, Thierry Lubala, who was invited to be one of the judges at this year’s South African Craft Gin Awards. The honour is well-deserved as Thierry has a sophisticated gin palate and an amazing knowledge of the over 500 local and imported gins available at Sansibar. He also has an uncanny ability to recommend the perfect gin or cocktail for each Sansibar guest - as many have enjoyed discovering!
The farm team completed the final stages of pruning before spring in early September when rising temperatures caused bud break to begin. It won’t be long before tiny bunches of grapes appear on the new vines heralding the birth of a new vintage of Asara wines! Winter 2019 was a good one with persistent cold keeping the vines in a healthy state of dormancy, and the best rains in recent years. Water levels in vineyard soils have been fully replenished and dam levels are substantially up over last year.
Asara's Head Baker Rafieq Jacobs and Sous Chef and pastry maestro Naasir Ortell pride themselves on an old-school artisinal approach to their craft that, they maintain, makes all the difference to the quality and flavour of their delicious products. The duo is responsible for making a wide range of breads, scones, cakes and pastries for Asara's breakfast spread, restaurants, and deli. They also cater for functions and special occasions and orders for outside customers lucky enough to have discovered their talents.
Artisan baking, they say, is a handson approach that requires patience (it takes a day and a half to produce a ciabatta!), attention to detail, technique and a bit of creative flair. Above all, say Naasir and Rafieq, the key to being a true artisanal baker is passion and a love for what you do.
In addition you will receive a complimentary 3 glass wine tasting (per person) as well as a 2 pack box (per room) of Asara Wine Estate’s unique Red & White Cabernet for you to enjoy at your leisure. Please use Promo Code DIRECT to apply the discount.
Your booking must be received via email to our reservations team - firstname.lastname@example.org - or by phone on s+27 21 888 8000.
Terms & Conditions:
Only applicable to Best Available / BAR Rates
Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or other rate type
Only applicable to reservations received via email or phone
Not applicable via any other method of booking
The Hotel has the right to refuse this discount Regret existing bookings cannot be changed.