Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The local baboon troupe on Ayama Wines ‘ Slent Farms near Paarl should be the first to celebrate the Harper’s Design 2013 Gold Medal announced  today for the whimsical Baboon’s Back Shiraz 2011,  but unfortunately their favourite varietal  is  a long way from ripe!

Comments Harper’s on the results of the red wine competition; “There was a hat trick of Golds in this category, but for all round fun you would be hard-pressed to better Baboon’s Back. Judge Simon Esterson was particularly taken by the characterisation in the drawing of the baboon on the label and said it nearly has a Ralph Steadman feel to it.”

Proudly Italian,  but with a deep belief in the future of this country,  Attilio and Michela Dalpiaz  bought the property with friends in 2005. They created the wine after observing the baboons testing  different bunches for perfect ripeness in the Shiraz vineyard up against the Perdeberg Mountain, which forms the backdrop to the farm.

“It was really funny as they would pick one berry, chew it and if good enough, keep  the bunch under one arm whilst reaching for the next.  At this point the previous bunch would fall out, ” says Michela.  “Although we don’t begrudge them a share of our bounty, we have to chase them off after a while.  This  is where the idea came from as we were often seeing them from the back scampering away towards safety once we get close.”

The label was designed by Davide Bevilaqua of Mumble Design in Italy, who was excited at the chance of a South African project after being involved with Michela’s family wine farm in Friuli near Venice for 12 years. 

The colourful and amusing label depicts a stylised baboon character with his favourite treat under the arm. “We wanted the label to stand out, but still be classy like the wine inside the bottle, which is a full-bodied spicy Shiraz ,” says Michela.  “So although a bit tongue in cheek, we didn’t stint on quality paper and printing.  We are thrilled at the international recognition, especially in such a highly contested competition,  with literally hundreds of the world’s top wine & spirits brands participating.”

The multi award-winning “Baboons” range currently consists of the Baboon’s Back Shiraz 2011, the Baboon’s Cheek Viognier 2012 and the Baboon’s Cuddle Pinotage 2012.  These  are available on-line at .  The Baboon’s Back is selling well in Finland, Russia, Ghana and Belgium and in selected outlets nationally. 

Ayama also produces  other  White and Red wines, three Methode Cap Classiques and Olive Oil. Tastings by appointment.  For more details, visit the website.