The Big Bottle Festival

Sat Aug 22, 15:00 - Sat Aug 22, 20:00
Cape Town Club
Opulence, celebration and extravagance.  These are all synonymous with the annual Big Bottle Festival, South Africa’s super-sized and grandest wine tasting extravaganza being held on Saturday, 22 August 2015 at the Cape Town Club from 15h00 until 20h00.

Please note the walk-about ticket includes all your food and wine for the day.

Unique in concept and execution, the festival brings together South Africa’s foremost winemakers and chefs’ de cuisine, creating a different approach to wine and culinary pairings. All wines are poured from big bottles during the walkabout tasting whilst offering guests the opportunity to sample canapés and small dishes prepared by fervent chefs.

The line-up of producers for this year's festival will include Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Raats Family, Boekenhoutskloof, Keermont and De Trafford whilst the Chef lineup boasts names such as Rudi Liebenberg, Shyam Longani, Chris Harbeck, Garth Almazan and Christina Semczyszyn.

This year first time we will offer master classes presented by proprietors, winemakers and sommeliers:
  • A vertical tasting of Hamilton Russel Vineyards 
  • Matured white wine presented by Eben Sadie
  • MCC and Champagner presented by Le Lude winemaker Paul Gerber
  • Cape Winemakers Guild: Auction wines from magnums in retro-perspective
Big bottle's Italian dinner:

When I see big format bottles, I don’t think of points and stars, I think of joi de vivre, lingering memories, the aromas, textures and flavours that only ageing in large format can deliver, perfectly paired with lovingly prepared meals.. Moments shared with friends and fellow gastronomes over laughter and admiration for old favourites and new discoveries.. 

The tasting will be followed by a 4-course dinner, prepared by Alfred Venter, accompanied by some of Italy’s finest wines. We will explore 7 classic and unusual Italian wines, like Greco di Tufo Giallo d'Arles. We will have a super rare 6 litre of the majestic Sassicaia, an anti-establishment wine that started out in 1948 but is now considered the benchmark "Super Tuscan". We will drink a 6 litre bottle of 1997 Vasco Sassetti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, one of my personal favourite Tuscan cult producer’s. We will conclude the Tuscan offering with a few magnums of 2008 Tenuta Monteti one of Maremma’s best and most reliable producers.
Indigenous (or domestic) grape varietals are deep-rooted and at the heart of Italian regional winemaking! We will enjoy several double magnums of a simply fabulous 2008 Barbaresco from Produttori del Barbaresco an exceptionally polished and refined Nebbiolo from Piemonte. We will drink from large format bottles 2005 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva, rated 95 points by Robert Parker. This unique and highly saught after wine,  produced from the Aglianico grape in Campania, which retains its classic authenticity, resisisting the increasing pressures of globalization The dinner will finish with Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Rye, a highly rated and incredibly rare sweet wine produced on a tiny island 100 km southwest of Sicily from 100 year old vines.
To find a complete list of champagne and dinner wine please visit our
The tasting will be knowledge driven,informative and intimate. The dinner will be an uncomplicated joyful affair..
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1st Master Class

Saturday, August 22 - Saturday, August 22
MCC producer and Champagne specialist Paul Gerber, of Le Lude Cap Classique, presents a focused tasting of Cap Classique and Champagnes. Paul will show the impact of Agrafe (cork) vs crown cap fermentation and ageing on the lees. Champagne houses such as Bollinger use the Agrafe method as part of their premium bottling, with many more houses returning to this traditional approach to making Champagne. This tasting is a rare inside into the alchemy of specialist sparkling wine production.
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2nd Master Class

Saturday, August 22 - Saturday, August 22
A rare treat is a master class presented by Eben Sadie. Eben is one of South Africa’s trail-blazing winegrower, always inspiring with a different perspective and a wealth of knowledge. He is presenting matured South African white wines and the pleasure they offer.
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3rd Master Class

Saturday, August 22 - Saturday, August 22
Anthony Hamilton Russell, an advocate of classically moulded, complex, fine wines that reach beyond fruit expression and vintage uniformity. Anthony offers us a rare opportunity to taste a vertical of his immensely successful Burgundian - style wines that have set the standard of excellence and refinement for South African wine.
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4th Masterclass

Saturday, August 22 - Saturday, August 22
CWG Auction wines from magnums in retro-perspective
Innovation, benchmarking and the sharing of knowledge spanning over thirty three years of winemaking excellence, is the proud accomplishment of the Cape Winemakers Guild.

Membership, by invitation, is extended to winemakers recognised for their high standards of craftsmanship, who have been responsible for producing outstanding wines for a minimum of five years and who are actively involved in operations in the cellar from harvest to bottling. If you would like further registration information for this years auction, details are available from the Cape Winemakers Guild Office via email at [email protected]
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Rudi’s style of food is a combination of local and international flavours and trends. The food in the kitchen is fresh, interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial. His style of food has changed over the last ten years to become more relaxed, quite unpretentious and very honest. In the Mount Nelson Hotel’s flagship restaurant, Planet, the style has been very simple: respect, waste as little as possible, source the best local ingredients responsibly, utilise secondary cuts, get in touch with the origins of all the produce and be transparent from supplier to plate.

A plate of food from Rudi Liebenberg’s kitchen is more than just something to eat. It is a creation, an invention. Each plate is infused with knowledge, curiosity and passion of an exceptional executive chef.
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After representing India in their Culinary Olympic team, Shyam went on to play a key role in re-launching the renowned Bombay Brasserie in London. He arrived in South Africa to launch Taj Cape Town’s Bombay Brasserie in 2009 where his efforts have been justly rewarded by winning the American Express award for the Best Fine Dining Indian Restaurant for the past two years.

Shyam believes that a good chef needs to enjoy eating as much as cooking in order to for them to fully appreciate the subtle flavours and respect the simplicity and origin of the ingredients. Considering the perfect meal, Shyam is torn between a Lamb Rogan josh curry and hot paranthas with family and friends, or a simple hot cheese fondue with crusty fresh bread shared with his wife in the Alps on a chilly Swiss evening.
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Christian Harbeck trained in the outskirts of Graz in a small town called Unterpremstätten, Austria.  Originally from Windhoek, Namibia he returned to his motherland after a short stint in Munich to manage a country pub for a year and finally fulfilling his dream to further his career in Cape Town.  In 1997 Christian took on the reins of Maximilians Restaurant as GM and Chef.  A few years further down the line he and his wife Maxi decided to go into Retail and Delicatessen trade by obtaining Raith Gourmet located in Gardens Center.  Winning numerous awards in the Food Retail category led to the opening of another outlet in High Constantia.
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EXECUTIVE CHEF -   Tjing Tjing Torii
At 27, she may be one of the smallest and youngest chefs in Cape Town, but Christi Semczyszyn adds her explosive energy to transform any dish into a masterpiece. She’s a punch of peppery fire in the kitchen and her style of cooking is heavily influenced by Asian cuisine. Christi comes from a typical South African background and her culinary beginnings were shaped by the women in her family; all talented cooks, responsible for inspiring her to become the chef she is today. Christi moved to the UK in 2011 and started as a chef at St. Clements’, a private restaurant in London's Middle Temple. She worked alongside renowned author and chef, Florence Knight, whom she considers as one of the most influential chefs in her cooking career.
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Executive Chef of Catharina’s Restaurant
A born-and-bred Capetonian, Garth’s love of food started with the delicious spicy seafood starters that his father cooked before dinner.

Having trained under Garth Stroebel of The Mount Nelson for three years, Chef Garth assisted in representing South Africa at the prestigious Bocuse D’Or in France, and won the Junior Chef of the Year competition in his third year of cooking.

Garth was Head Chef of Shamwari Game Reserve before taking the helm at Catharina’s.Under Garth’s leadership, the Catharina’s team has won several impressive accolades, and has become known as one of South Africa’s best restaurants.
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Resident Head Chef at Cape Town Club
Sticking to his food philosophy of ‘doing simple things, well’, Albert has earned himself a reputation for always producing food with both an international and local flair that has a distinctive style of honesty about it.  No challenge is too great for him and he says, “At the Club I go out of my way to produce bespoke menus to suit any type of occasion and no request is too big or too small”. 

Additional information

Refund policy Refunds allowed (view policy)


The Big Bottle Festival
Cape Town Club
18 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
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