Upcoming Events 2014
Food Photo
Monday, November 10
Merlot Tasting @ Faculty Club
Food Photo
Friday, December 5
Xmas Event @ TLTC


Welcome to The South African Wine Society (SAWS)

The South African Wine Society, now in its 20th year, is a non-profit wine tasting club focused on promoting knowledge about and access to South African wines in Canada. This is achieved by hosting informative wine tastings, relaxed social; dinners and providing members with an opportunity to savour wines which are readily available, as well as vintage collections from our carefully stocked cellar.

Why not join the Society and embark on a journey discovering the wines and foods of remarkable South Africa and its leading wine producing regions? Learn about our Wine Cellar – a hidden member benefit.

Upcoming Events

Wine Tasting Photo

Monday, November 10th

Merlot & Its Blends @ The Faculty Club

Arrival @ 6:30 pm

Merlot & Its Blends @ The Faculty Club (UofT)

Merlot is a dark bluecoloured wine grape variety that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the color of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, laterripening cabernet sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

Along with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally, with an increasing trend. This puts merlot just behind cabernet sauvignon's 262,000 hectares (650,000 acres). In South Africa, plantings of merlot have focused on cooler sites in the Stellenbosch region.

While merlot is made across the globe, there tends to be two main styles. The "International style" favored by many New World wine regions tends to emphasize late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of merlot involves harvesting merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more mediumbodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.

Cellar master Jon Whitteker has gathered selections for our unique November tasting event. Come and test your taste buds. As usual, we will feature an appetizing tasting plate.


Bergwater Prince Albert Valley Merlot 2005 Great KarooRich colour with intense Cherries and Plums on the nose. Smooth elegant fruit flavours with a hint of oak and a wellbalanced ending.

Franschhoek Merlot 2004 Franschhoek Very ripe & sweet blueberry fruit with a touch wildness about the nose; ripe balanced tannins.

Hartenberg Merlot 1997 Stellenbosch Firmly built but fruitful wine; hightoned, savoury with chocolate whiffs, ripe damson palate and good follow through; succulent tannins.

Hartenberg Merlot 2004 Stellenbosch Made in a sleek style .. classy, ripe, complex, roasted spice, whiffs of prosciutto, violets on a dark plum base; elegant, silky texture & ultralong finish.

Kloovenberg Merlot 2006 Swartland Darkfruit richness with red berry lift.; shows good vinosity and surprising restraint.

Spice Route Merlot 2000 Swartland Fullbodied, firmly structured; reflects Swartland warmth, generosity; distinctive freshredearth nuances with brilliant riperuby hues and spicy redplum fragrance.

Steenberg Merlot 2003 ConstantiaSoft redberried, minty elegance with excellent concentration; cool, creamy with lovely backpalate richness; telling mineral thread.

Eagles Nest Verreaux 2009 Constantia Merlotled Bordeaux blend from younger vineyards … has lush berries, chocolate tone, curvaceous lines; complex & involving.

*We will make every effort to accommodate your food allergies or special dietary needs if requested.


 6:30 pm arrival, Monday, November 10.


University of Toronto Faculty Club, 41 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1C7
The Spadina streetcar stops at the corner of Willcocks and Spadina. Paid parking is available on the streets or in the underground parking garage of The Bahen Building, entrance located on Huron St., just north of College St.

$60 Members
70 Guests
Nonmembers who join the club at the event will receive a credit of $10.

This event has a capacity limit.

Your cancellation must be received by Monday, November 3rd. Your booking or cancellation will be acknowledged.

Your cheque payable to South African Wine Society or Visa credit card information will reserve your place. If we have your credit card information on file, you may book by e-mail to sawsinfo@rogers.com
* Visa charges will appear as Pushka Holdings.

To find more information about the event, including registration, follow this link.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Note: As a courtesy to other members, please refrain from wearing any scented products, including perfumes, colognes, after shaves or hand lotions.

What the South African Wine Society Offers

We hold 8 to 10 events per year made up of wine tastings and dinner with wine matching.

Recent events:

  • Differences between South African and Canadian Wines
  • Monday with Meerlus
  • Wine and Art
  • Steenberg Vineyards
  • Lanzerac vertical tasting
  • Port, Cheese & Chocolate including truffles & chocolate- dipped strawberries
  • Hidden Gems of the Cape
  • Take the Mystery out of Wine and Food Pairings

  • Humber College Gourmet Dinner (Joint event with the Body and Soul of Portugal Wine Society)
  • Lammershoek Dinner
  • Christmas Dinner
  • Braii - Annual BBQ

Event Photo Wine Glass

Event Info:

  • Events are located in and around Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Excluding our annual Braii, events occur on weekdays, from 6:30 p m to 8:30 pm.
  • Features eight South African wines.
  • Is accompanied by dinner and/or appetizers
  • Allows you to try South African wines that are often not available at the provincially run liquor control board (LCBO).
  • Is led by an industry expert - a winemaker, a wine writer or other professional.
  • Is cost-friendly. As a non-profit organization, our aim is to allow you to try an extensive variety of high-quality wines at a reasonable price.

Event Photo of Man Holding Wine Glass

Special Wine Events:

  • Each year we offer two of special events.
  • In February, we have the Gourmet Dinner Event on the evening of Ontario's Family Day holiday..
  • In June, we spend a lovely afternoon at Mario's farm just 45 minutes outside Toronto. This event exposes you to a traditional African Braii (BBQ) which includes Lamb on the spit, Chicken kebabs, boerewors (sausage), Stywe pap (if you haven't tried it, now is the time!), biltong (a dried meat like jerky), and traditional South African milk tart.

To find out more information on our events you can contact us by email at: SAWSinfo@rogers.com

If you want information on becoming a member visit our Membership page or you can email
our membership coordinator at SAWS-membership@rogers.com.

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