Perhaps the world's most famous living diamantaire, Laurence Graff,is also in the resort and wine business. The Delaire Graff Estate is a luxury South African resort in the Stellenbosch area, home to some of South Africa's best vineyards. Graff opened the estate last year but has owned the land for years. The estate has just 10 overnight lodges but also includes a state-of-the-art spa, Indochine–an Asian fusion restaurant and a fully operational vineyard producing high-quality Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and other wines.

At the tail end of last year, Graff Diamonds opened its first salon in Africa at the estate that bears the founders name. The Graff Diamonds salon at Delaire is outfitted with the same emperor marble used in the Delaire Wine Lounge and Restaurant and features details done in Indian Rosewood. Jewelry ranges from classic diamond line bracelets and solitaire rings to yellow diamond butterfly earrings as well as watches and accessories from the Graff Luxury Watch collection.

Rates for one of the 10 lodges start around $1,200 per night.

By Deidre Woollard | Source ::

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

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Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

This weekend brings wine and food fans to Sonoma for the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend running September 3-5, 2010. The centerpiece of the weekend is the famous Sonoma Valley Wine Auction on September 5 at Cline Cellars which features a variety of tempting auction lots. Some of this year's lots include the Francis Ford Coppola Live Lot which offers trips to Italy and Belize, a Coppola film library and signed wine bottles; the St. Francis Vineyard and Winery - Sex and the City package which offers a private dinner with an unnamed "Sex and the City" star at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, a stay in San Francisco and five cases and four magnums of St. Francis wine; chef camp with tutorials from top Sonoma chefs; as well as plenty of wine lots including "Magnum Force" a collection of prized magnums from Sonoma County vintners.

This year's auction has a California beach party theme with the tagline "Endless Sonoma." In the spirit of the theme the growers and vintners will introduce the lots wearing surfer-style costumes. Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in San Francisco and winner of "Top Chef Masters" will team up with Kendall-Jackson executive chef Justin Wangler to present the first course of the auction's meal (an oxtail, fingerling potato and truffle 'cappuccino,') and other regional chefs will prepare the rest of the menu. The menu will include Sonoma-sourced specialties like curried Gravenstein apple miniature grilled cheese sandwiches; eggplant caponata; steak Florentine; pomegranate and herb grill lamb loin; artisan cheeses, breads and more.

A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is the area's largest wine and food fundraiser, having jointly donated more than $10 million to local charities that support students, children, farm workers and people in need. Friday winemakers lunches are $85 a person, Friday specialty dinners are $175 and Friday winemaker dinners are $160. On Saturday, the Taste of Sonoma event is $150, the Grand Reserve tasting is $195, the Honorary Chair Dinner: St. Francis Winery is $175 and the Saturday winemaker dinners are $160 each. Tickets for the Sunday auction are $500, half of that is tax deductible.

By Deidre Woollard | Source ::

The Swartland Revolution Poster

Over the past 15 years the Swartland region, (Western Cape, South Africa), has grown in stature and complexity and today there are enough contrasting wines to showcase this diversity over a weekend.

The aim of the revolutionary weekend (12-13 November 2010) is to raise general awareness of the area, and although there might be stylistic and philosophical differences in the wines to be showcased, they all share a common sense of place – as with all great wine regions of the world.

For the first forum we have invited Stefan Ogier from Domaine Michel & Stéphane Ogier from Ampuis, France. He is a world-renowned producer of fine Rhône wine.

There will also be tastings conducted by some of the local producers in formal and informal formats as well as great meals prepared by Reuben (of Reuben’s Restaurant fame) and local culinary hero Mynhardt Joubert of Bar Bar Black Sheep.

Bookmark the date : 12 & 13 November, 2010

More information :

Luxury Wine Tour in Tuscany

When it comes to visiting wine country, there's the standard booze bus variety-and then there's the exclusive week-long Tuscany Wine Tour.

When you touch down in Florence, Italy, your personal chauffeur will be waiting to whisk you away in a Mercedes to the Piazza Santa Maria Novella hotel where you'll spend your first night (the boutique resort is actually a small mansion down the street from the Renaissance church of the same name down the street). On day two, you'll be driven out to the Chianti Classico region for a private tour of the Badia a Coltibuono property, where you'll savor wine and olive oil before continuing along to another estate, ending the day at the hilltop castle in Siena for an overnight stay.

Wake up the next morning for a red wine tasting in the nearby village of Montalcino and lunch at the Poggio Antico's Michelin-spangled restaurant; you'll round out the afternoon with a stop at the hillside town of Montepulciano before heading back to your castle for the night. Days four and five bring more wine tastings, small village sightseeing and overnights at a villa-style hotel. The last day of the trip includes a visit to the medieval village of San Gimignano before returning for one final night in Florence.

The Tuscan Wine Tour sure beats the booze bus, but it's also more expensive: Trips start at 500 Euros per person, per day, for one couple. For two couples touring together, prices start at 450 Euros, airfare not included.

By Carrie Coolidge | Source ::


The Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival celebrates its 16th year when it gets underway August 28 and 29th. The festival brings revelers to Watts Ranch in the village of Bodega, California for art, music, wine, beer and plenty of seafood.

This scenic location in Sonoma County is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his classic thriller, "The Birds." More than 30 wineries and 15 micro breweries will pour wine and beer, while 15 restaurants and catering companies will served up barbecued oysters, crab cakes, Key Lime calamari, clam chowder and other delicacies.

A juried art show and sale will feature the work of 100 artists and craftspeople and the festival also has three stages with a variety of musical entertainment, a Wild Wonders Animal Show and other activities for children including rubber duck races. Headline entertainment this year includes saxophonist Jules Broussard (Saturday afternoon) plus Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks (Sunday afternoon). Proceeds from the event support Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, which works in partnership with the California State Parks Foundation to provide environmental stewardship programs, and the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department.

Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 28, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 29. Tickets purchased in advance are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children between the ages of 12 and 18, and free for children less than 12 years of age. For additional information, go online to

By Deidre Woollard | Source ::

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