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Wine Made Art

In introducing the use of wine as an artistic medium, TOKARA has brought a literal twist to the age-old communion between fine art and fine wine. This year, the brand celebrated ten years of Wine Made Art with an exhibition at the TOKARA Estate that travelled from Stellenbosch to Sandton, the financial heartland of South Africa, to show at RMB WineX, SA’s premier wine festival.

TOKARA, the Stellenbosch wine farm owned by GT and Anne-Marie Ferreira, is no stranger to the art world. Embodying GT Ferreira’s belief that ‘good wine, good food and good art combine together to make a great lifestyle,’ TOKARA has long celebrated fine art as an integral part of their operation – creating spaces throughout the Estate where unique artworks are experienced and artists showcased.

Each year, a variety of exhibitions curated by Julia Meintjies, an authority on South African historical and contemporary art, are hosted by TOKARA. The exhibitions provide an opportunity for visitors to appreciate and buy works by some of the country’s leading art talent. The most recent of these, entitled Harbinger, featured works by Gerhard Marx, Ghana’s Owusu-Ankomah, Claire Gavronsky,  Walter Oltmann, Regi Bardavid, Guy du Toit, Johann Moolman and Gina Waldman – alongside tapestries created by William Kentridge in collaboration with the Marguerite Stephens Tapestry Studio.

The TOKARA Estate also features a sculpture garden, founded in 2011 by Anne-Marie Ferreira and Ilse Schermers. This art haven, which is located in the delicatessen gardens, was opened with an exhibition presenting both traditional and contemporary sculptors including: Andries Botha, David Brown, Marco Cianfanelli, Jacques Dhont, Wilma Cruise, Guy du Toit, Isabel Mertz, Sarel Petrus, Ian Redelinghuys, Desmond Smart, Nicolene Swanepoel, Lionel Smit, Angus Taylor, Egon Tania and Strijdom van der Merwe.

Ten years ago, TOKARA took the relationship between art and wine an innovative step further by introducing a literal twist: the creation of art from wine. The inventive idea was conceptualised by then TOKARA Marketing Manager, Karin Alant, who called on Cape Town advertising agency Riot (now Coley Porter Bell) to execute it. The campaign, entitled Wine Made Art, subsequently earned Riot a Gold Loerie Award. Wine Made Art has continued as an annual project for the past ten years, with the Marié Stander School of Art partnering the initiative for the last five. Painting exclusively with TOKARA Shiraz, students create artwork in response to a different and challenging theme each year.

Marié Stander, a practicing artist, encourages her students to experiment with a variety of mediums. When the opportunity arose for her to partner with the Wine Made Art campaign five years ago, she relished the challenge.

Finding a method to capture the Shiraz’s rich burgundy hue on canvas took an immense amount of experimentation, research and tenacity. Simply painting a layer with the Didi Oosthuizen, Balonne, TOKARA Wine Made Art 2015 unadulterated wine produces an insipid lilac effect. Guided by an old Voortrekker recipe for ink, Stander and her students perfected a method of preparing the Shiraz for use as an art medium. The wine is boiled with a rusty nail and a white Protea leaf, creating the burgundy reduction the artists paint with. This technique successfully combines both tradition and innovation to produce an appealing effect reminiscent of watercolour.

In commemoration of ten years of Wine Made Art, TOKARA launched an exhibition displaying the top 25 student-made artworks. The works were also exhibited at RMB WineX during October. Inspired by the resonance between fine wine and wine art, RMB WineX broadened its scope to embrace the ‘Art of Wine’ theme.

Carolynne Waterhouse, RMB’s Art Custodian, finds synergy with Wine Made Art’s blend of tradition and innovation with Rand Merchant Bank’s 32-year old business philosophy of ‘Traditional values. Innovative ideas’. ‘As an avid supporter of South African arts, culture and heritage, RMB’s linked patronage reinforces this conviction, which is why we are pleased to introduce innovative examples of wine-linked art this year. Our Brand alignment with creative and intellectual excellence in the arts presents this opportunity for the “art of business”, to embrace the “business of art” alongside the “art of wine”,’ adds Waterhouse.

For those who missed the Wine Made Art collection at RMB WineX, one can still see it at TOKARA Estate, amongst other art treasures, until the end of January 2016.

TOKARA is open from 09:00 to 17:00 on weekdays and 10:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. For further information visit, email or phone 021 808 5900.

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