The South African wine industry showed incredible growth in 2012, exporting 417-million litres of wine and breaking the previous record of 407-million litres, set in 2008. The Vinum African Chenin Blanc was named one of eight “most delicious” wines by the Wall Street Journal in 2008.(Images: Painted Wolf Wines)MEDIA CONTACTS • Andre Morgenthal Communications manager, WoSA+27 21 883 3860RELATED ARTICLES• SA wine tourism, best in the world• SA wine consumers on the rise• SA winery scoops Chinese deal• SA’s first wine tourism exhibition• Hermanus wine route re-launchedCadine PillayConfidence in South Africa as a top wine-producing country is growing among high-profile international critics, and the country’s wine-making industry is breaking export records and winning global accolades.In the past few weeks, South Africa has been praised by the likes of Neal Martin, who reviews for Robert E Parker’s world-famous The Wine Advocate and who has singled it out as the most exciting New World wine country at the moment, as well as from Stephen Tanzer of the International Wine Cellar. Last year, South Africa’s wine tourism was rated the best-developed in the world by International Wine Review, one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine.In a recent article on Erobertparker.com, Martin praised renegades such as Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst and Chris Mullineux, all winemakers who are shaking things up and injecting a healthy dose of innovation into the South African wine industry.He also highlighted the increasing success of white varieties, such as chenin blanc, and the discernible shift towards purer, more elegant wines.New World winesNew World wines refer to those from countries like South Africa, the US, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They are called this to differentiate them from the wine from traditional sources in Europe, like France.Although South Africa has been producing wine for more than 350 years, it was only after the end of apartheid that its wine industry was able to reconnect with the global sector.South Africa’s main concern for the past two decades has been to reinvent its reputation in the world market. Right now, some in the international community are unaware of the changes that have taken place, and many wine buyers are still under the impression that South African wines were the same as they were in the 1990s. At that time, its wine was unattractively packaged, suffered in quality, and did not stand up well against other New World wines.But now, South Africa’s wines have been recognised as the “best quality budget wines in the world”. It has won awards and high praise, such as the Vinum African Chenin Blanc being named one of eight “most delicious” wines by the Wall Street Journal in 2008.New export recordThe South African wine industry showed incredible growth in 2012, exporting 417-million litres of wine, breaking the previous record of 407-million litres in 2008.The main factors for this were revealed to be favourable exchange rates, a global wine shortage and small harvests in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Together, these led to the 2012 figures showing an optimistic 17% increase over 2011.The top five countries to which South Africa exports wine are the UK, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and the US.According to Wines of South Africa chief executive Su Birch, bulk wines accounted for 59% of the 2012 volumes, something which she said was part of a “growing global trend”.Birch explained that over the past decade, bulk wine exports from the major New World wine-producing countries had risen from around 20% to over half of wine volumes traded, against the background of prolonged recessionary market conditions.While packaged wines generally offered higher returns, local producers had been forced to accept that, to compete globally, they had to provide what the mainstream markets wanted.Although the industry has been under duress caused by the current labour unrest in Western Cape, the country’s wine-producing region, huge steps were taken in 2012 to ensure decent working conditions on all wine-producing farms.Meanwhile, South Africa is expecting its third biggest wine grape harvest ever in 2013.Yvette van der Merwe of the South Africa Wine Industry and Information Systems said the 2013 wine grape crop was likely to amount to over 1.38-million tons, a decrease of 0.8% relative to the 2012 crop, but still potentially South Africa’s third biggest crop ever recorded.
The Gender Based Violence Command Centre has expanded its services to make them accessible to people with disabilities. Blind and deaf people are now able to access counselling, thanks to technological advances.Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini launches the Disability Enhanced System on 2 December 2016 to make the Gender Based Violence Command Centre accessible to people with disabilities. (Image: Department of Social Development, Facebook)Brand South Africa Reporter Technology has helped to improve the Gender Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC). Women and children who are deaf or blind and are being abused now also have access to the system.The Department of Social Development has partnered with cellphone network Vodacom to enable the GBVCC to help disabled people.The centre was opened in 2014; it operates a call centre for people needing counselling, carried out by professional social workers.Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini launched the Disability Enhancement System on 2 December in Pretoria.Watch:“During this month of 16 Days of Activism we continue to hear the voices of women and children but the community of persons living with disabilities continues to be marginalised,” she said. “Initiatives like this aim to respond to that.“If we say we want to protect the rights of persons with disabilities we need to ask ourselves, what provisions have we made to allow persons with disabilities to live a fair life next to those without disabilities.”How it worksThe system uses Skype for people who are deaf, whereby they can communicate with the social workers using sign language.Blind people can use a panic button which has a siren light to contact the centre with a distress message. Police are also able to locate the person in need of help.Dlamini said the Disability Enhanced System had given the department an opportunity to help disabled people, especially deaf and blind women and children.“Gender-based violence among children and women with disabilities is also prevalent because they are part of South African society, which has a huge problem with the scourge of violence against women and children.”The department was committed to the National Development Plan, she said, which held that “we must be committed to sustainable development and end violence against women and girls”.“It remains our responsibility to ensure that women and children with disabilities are not trafficked and exposed to harmful practices,” the minister said.Source: South African Government News Agency read more
The life-changing Play Your Part series shares inspiring stories of ordinary South Africans doing extraordinary things.Kabelo Mabalane, Play Your Part ambassador, has been travelling the country meeting South African philanthropists for the PYP TV series. (Image: Brand South Africa)The Play Your Part television series is back! The 26 episode docu-reality series has, since its launch in August 2017, consistently offered viewers an inspirational insight into the world of active citizenship and volunteerism by profiling citizens from across the country who are doing extraordinary things to change people’s lives for the better.Presented by Play Your Part ambassador Kabelo Mabalane, the family show hopes to continue to empower viewers, young and old, to get involved in their individual communities and play their part in uplifting the spirit of South Africa.So far, episodes have featured the likes of Tebogo Ditshego, Mogau Seshoene, Esther Mahlangu, Professor Thabo Msibi, Alan Farber, and Dr Michael Mol, who shared their stories of active citizenship in the areas of literacy, local cuisine, art, education, film production and healthcare.There are still many more stories of inspiration that viewers can look forward to.Be sure to catch Play Your Part every Saturday, at 6pm on SABC 2.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material. read more
Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost had to say:I have been spending a lot of time struggling with this topic of late, especially since just about every one of the more than 1,000 GBA construction details has these call-outs as part of a continuous air barrier: “Continuous bead of sealant” and “Tape all joints, horizontal and vetical.”If you have the time and inclination, I have a blog series on this topic over at the BuildingGreen website.But here are my overall recommendations:Mechanically trap your air barrier, especially at weak points, such as penetrations and margins. This way the chemical adhesion of your barrier is backed up by good old-fashioned physics.Stabilize your air barrier for the long haul by locating it on the interior side of your rigid insulation. If your air barrier sees more steady-state-like conditions (steady temperature, steady relative humidity, no UV exposure, etc.), it will last longer.Locate your air barrier where it can be inspected, repaired, and replaced. What? Isn’t the air barrier on the assembly exterior? And doesn’t this recommendation the recommendation directly above? Yes, and this recommendation is mainly for commercial assemblies that use liquid sealants in cladding designed for exposure and regular inspection (and maybe face-sealed stucco assemblies in dry climates).NOTE: Bill mentioned the use of CertainTeed’s MemBrain as an air barrier. CertainTeed calls MemBrain an “air film” in its product info, and CertainTeed provides detailed instructions for the use of MemBrain as an air barrier. But as far as I know, CertainTeed does not provide the air barrier properties of the material. Sure, any plastic sheeting product — including MemBrain — can be detailed as an interior air barrier system, but MemBrain’s primary function is as a variable-vapor-permeance (“smart”) interior vapor retarder for cold climates, and I wanted to make sure we don’t portray MemBrain as a general-duty air barrier product.P.S. At the Building Science Corporation’s Westford Summer Symposium, it was announced that Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working at the Tremco Air Barrier test lab in Ohio, is testing eight different air barrier systems (including liquid-applied barriers) and is likely to have results around the first of the year. (Think of the promised results as a sort of building science holiday gift). Should the sheathing be glued to the frame?Part of Bill’s plan is to apply a bead of sealant on the studs as each sheet of plywood is put up.“Certainly sealants can fail over time as well,” he says, “but at least it will be sandwiched between fastened pieces of wood, which may support its longevity and will at least prevent it from simply falling off.”But Rooks points out using an adhesive between plywood sheathing and framing is not permitted by code in certain seismic areas, according to an engineer who has worked on a number of high-performance houses.Ron Keagle ponders: What’s the point of that in the first place? “If the point is to accomplish air sealing, why place adhesive on the studs that fall in the field of the plywood?” he asks. “There is no joint there to seal. Adhesive could be used to seal the edge joints that fall on the stud lengthwise. Adhesive there between the plywood and the stud would prevent air from getting to the actual butt joint of the plywood at that location. You would not need any adhesive there where the edges of the plywood butt together.”The real challenge is sealing seams perpendicular to the studs. Keagle is among those who wouldn’t trust tape. Instead, he would seal those seams with a 1/4-in. by 3/4-in. batten pressed into a bead of silicone caulk. How long will building materials really last?One of Bill’s chief concerns is the longevity of the air barrier he creates. “What does seem nuts to be is hoping that adhesive tape will maintain its grip for the hundreds of years I hope this house will stand,” he says.And while GBA senior editor Martin Holladay understands his concerns, he says that most people in Bill’s situation have decided to trust tapes. “I can understand your skepticism concerning the durability of tapes,” he writes. “But frankly, what makes you think that membranes that come in a roll will last 100 years? There are plenty of examples of 30-year-old Tyvek that has disintegrated. When it comes to speculating about which materials will last 100 years, we are all just guessing.”Jin Kazama complains that most manufacturers don’t offer any information on how their products will fare after 20 years, let alone a century. “And since [we] are relying heavily on membranes in our recent buildings and design,” he writes, “it would be nice to know the minimum expected lives of the products.”“Of course it is important for building materials to last 50 or 100 years,” Holladay replies. “For those of us who want to be assured of 50-year or 100-year performance, the most certain way to proceed is to use materials that were used 50 or 100 years ago — and which have proved themselves to be long-lasting. Anyone who uses newly developed materials is taking a calculated risk.” Consider a liquid-applied WRB or high-quality tapeIf Bill doesn’t trust tapes to go the distance, suggests Albert Rooks, use a liquid-applied WRB at the sheathing layer. Specifically, he points Bill toward FastFlash, a product made by Prosoco. Rooks says that was used in a Seattle Passivhaus project described in a 2011 GBA blog by Richard Defendorf. RELATED ARTICLES Green Basics: Air BarriersBackyard Tape TestForget About Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!Housewrap in a Can: Liquid-Applied WRBsAirtight Wall and Roof SheathingQuestions and Answers About Air BarriersAir-Sealing Tapes and Gaskets Bill L. is planning a high-performance house in Massachusetts and is wrestling with options for the air barrier, that all-important building detail that enhances both energy efficiency and building durability.Above-grade walls will consist of a 2×4 structural frame sheathed in 1/2-inch plywood, followed by I-joists packed with cellulose insulation, another layer of 1/2-inch plywood, a corrugated plastic product to provide an air space, and fiber-cement siding. The primary air-barrier plane will be at the plywood over the 2×4 studs.“I don’t trust tapes or caulking to last long-term,” Bill writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor, “and stapling a sheet material over everything seems a lot less labor-intensive than priming the plywood and taping or caulking all of the joints. It also seems considerably less expensive than Zip sheathing.”Although Bill had considered using CertainTeed’s MemBrain, it’s proving hard to get where he lives, and he’s not convinced it will be durable enough.Where does this leave him? That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. “The approach is not inexpensive, but the quality is exceptionally high,” says Rooks. “We sell it at The Small Planet Workshop, but I’m sure you can find a supplier in your local market at Prosoco’s website.”But in the end, Rooks adds later, “good quality tape is still (in my opinion) the simplest ‘go to’ material for turning sheathing into an air barrier.”“I would advise against re-inventing the wheel,” he says. “A lot of really earnest and passionate people have been working on the ‘quality and longevity of air barriers’ issue for a long time and have developed good results.”Good quality tapes, he says, are made by Siga, Pro Clima, and 3M.“Tape gets a bad rap from the products that were never intended to be used as an air barrier,” Rooks says. “As most of us know, solvent-based adhesives loose their flexibility over time and the tape will fail because the backing material comes off. The acrylic adhesives don’t contain any VOCs to off-gas, and that’s why they remain flexible and don’t appear to fail in the 20+ years being used as air barrier tape so far. For longevity, I think they (tapes) have as good chance as any of the other methods, are simple to apply, and therefore are cost-effective.” read more
Amid the BJP’s ongoing tussle with decades-old ally Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) has fielded its own candidates in at least three constituencies in the State where the BJP, its ally, has already announced candidates.The 81-member Jharkhand Assembly is set to go for a five-phase election from November 30 to December 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.AJSU, the ruling NDA constituent, named 12 of its candidates on Monday and said that the final list of the candidates will be announced on Tuesday for the upcoming State Assembly elections.Party spokesperson Deosharan Bhagat said, “Party supremo Sudesh Mahto will contest from Silli, Sunita Chaudhary, wife of Giridih MP Chandraprakash Chaudhary, will contest from Ramgarh; MLA from Husainabad Kushwaha Sheopujan Mehta to contest from the same seat, Lambodar Mahto to be the party candidate from Gomia, Roshanlal Chaudhary, former AJSU Party candidate from Barkagaon to contest from the same seat.”Sahis will contest from Jugsalai seat, Manoj Chandra from Simaria, Sadanand Mahto from Sindari and Ramlal Munda will be the candidate from Chakradharpur, Mr. Bhagat added.On the other hand, the BJP has also announced its candidates for Simaria, Chakardharpur and Sindri in its first list of 52 candidates on Sunday. The party has decided to field Chief Minister Raghuvar Das from Jamshedpur East.In a move to settle the alliance, AJSU president Sudesh Mahto had met BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Sunday. Mr. Mahto had informed Mr. Shah on the party’s point of view. “Not only seat sharing, there are some issues which need to be addressed. We have shared our point of view with the BJP president” Mr. Mahto after the meeting.The BJP is likely to come out with its second list of the candidates on Tuesday. In the first list, the party had preferred to avoid on disputed seats with AJSU. With the announcement of its candidates by the AJSU, BJP is likely to field its candidates from Chandankyrai and LOhardagga.“Now there is least chance of alliance with AJSU. The State and central leadership are now not in contact with AJSU. Party may announce second list by Tuesday evening” a BJP source told IANS.November 13 is the last day for filing nominations for the first phase of polling in Jharkhand election. read more