DeMorgenzon Blog

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted one of my stories. It’s a new year and I’ve shaken some of the cobwebs from my mind.

Every few weeks, and latterly months, I’ve regaled you with a story about the old days at Liberty Life ….. and have interwoven my musings with a skein from the world of wine.  A question that plagues me is whether anyone out there is actually interested in reading my ramblings? Should I continue? During the Victorian era a publishing trend called serialized fiction rose to popularity. The greatest novelists of the time, including Charles Dickens, George Eliot, William Thackeray and Joseph Conrad, chose to publish their newest works of fiction in installments. When Dickens published chapters of ‘Oliver Twist’ he… continue reading →

 
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Finally the conclusion of the ClassicFM Story…

Here is the final bit of the sixth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake.’ For those of you who involuntarily missed the first five (and two thirds) engrossing episodes, they live on here in cyberspace on De Morgenzon’s facebook page. We also have a ‘blog’ on www.demorgenzon.com. We, if you recall, assembled our team and went into our IBA hearing in the Crowne Plaza conference centre just off Grayston Drive in Sandton. No one had thought we stood a chance. Our line-up was politically correct in the extreme – the weightiest underdogs possible. Our structure!… continue reading →

 
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To Chablis or not to Chablis.. ask your Sommelier???

Here is the second part of the sixth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake.’ For those of you who involuntarily missed the first five and a bit engrossing episodes, they live on in cyberspace on De Morgenzon’s facebook page. We also have a ‘blog’ on www.demorgenzon.com.   To refresh your memory: the legislation governing broadcasting in South Africa had changed and John van Zyl and I had embarked on a seemingly Quixotic quest to establish a classical music radio station. Despite the extraordinary efforts of the country’s finest media lawyers – Lauren Jacobsen and Mark… continue reading →

 
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Easy to listen to and easy to drink.

Here is the first part of the sixth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake.’ Professor John van Zyl and I were old friends. We shared both an interest in radio and, I confess, an iconoclastic streak. John had taught me at Wits years earlier. We reconnected in 1990 when he asked me to fund a media monitoring group to look at the SABC’s television news. This was the start of the Media Monitoring Project (now the Africa Monitoring Programme) with Bronwyn Keene Young and Lara Kantor as researchers. Bronwyn went on to scale great heights… continue reading →

 
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Wind-up radios, clockwork and corkscrews

This is the second half of the fifth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake.’   Last time I wrote I began telling you about the ‘Wind-up Radio.’  If you never read the first half of the ‘story,’ or if your memory’s like mine – and you’ve forgotten – now’s a good time to refresh. Well, in short, Rory and Chris eventually brought a product to saleable stage despite Trevor’s enthusiastic, but unhelpful, interventions. This process entailed appointing industrial designers, electrical engineers and all manner of expensive experts.  Whilst involved in a different project with my old… continue reading →

 
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Can wine be corked if its under a screwcap, or is it just plain screwed?

  Here is the first half of the fifth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake.’   I had intended telling you how marvelous De Morgenzon’s grapes are looking and how they’re ripening with the promise of a great 2011 vintage, but here I am again, self-indulgently rattling on about the work we were doing before we landed up on top of a mountain in Stellenbosch.  I am still often asked about the ‘The Wind-up Radio.’ With this project we hit the international media. Our little foundation in deepest, darkest Africa (well, Braamfontein, Johannesburg actually), had its… continue reading →

 
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Vigorous and well constructed

  I still haven’t got round to telling you how we came to be tending vines and making wine. I have, it seems, been meandering along a self-indulgently autobiographical path.  Here is the fourth installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake’ or ‘How Green was My Vineyard’ (with apologies to Richard Llewellyn).   Vigorous and well constructed.  ‘Holism,’ In wine making, is obviously a lot more than the romantic concept of growing and making beautiful wine that expresses it’s origin and has a carefully managed environmental impact. Holistic means addressing the wine value chain in its entirety… continue reading →

 
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Do reds always improve with age?

DMZ

Here is the third installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake’ or ‘DeVine Comedy’ (with apologies to Dante). Do reds always improve with age? We go back to those heady days in the early 1990s when I thought I was really important. Liberty Life was then one of the 5 companies that controlled the South African economy and it had a role, albeit minor, in the process that culminated in transition and transformation. The Multiparty Negotiating Forum had succeeded CODESA as the forum in which South Africa’s future was being decided. The negotiations were dramatically interrupted… continue reading →

 
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How sweet is a sweet white?

Here is the second installment of ‘How we Came to Swim in the Wine Lake’ or ‘The Grapes of Froth.’ For those of you who involuntarily missed the first, it lives on in cyberspace on De Morgenzon’s facebook page. I shan’t bore you with an autobiography (which is a wonderful vehicle for telling the truth about other people) but will both reminisce and bring you lots of information. Much of it will be useful, some may be amusing, some annoying. If I become intolerable hit the ‘defriend’ button. How sweet is a sweet white? To bring you up-to-date … I… continue reading →

 
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Before I tell you about “cheeky little whites” …

Before I tell you about “cheeky little whites”  (which sounds like a discussion at Luthuli House) or “robust reds” (those people in that discussion) I thought, in Maria’s immortal words, that I’d “start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” My father had come to South Africa from France and we, as children, had always had wine at the table. This may explain something about us. Wendy and I have always loved wine. We met in 1978 … in our early days together we drank many a bottle of Alto, Rustenburg, Zonnebloem and, our favourite, those early… continue reading →

 
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