For some years now the Muscadel Producers’ Association have been trying to improve the image of the delicious fortified wines that are so typically South African.
Producers are urged to create packaging that shows off muscadel as an elegant, sun-kissed drink, rather than simply a high-alcohol bottle of booze.
I’d be delighted to hear from readers what sort of bottle shape you feel reflects the image we’d like to see for this charming drink. I’ll pass on your suggestions to the association.
Some producers, like Boplaas and Bon Courage, have opted for the short, tubby bottle often associated with port.
That’s a problem, some critics say. You look at it and think “port” instead of muscadel.
De Krans Muscadel comes in an elegant slope-shouldered bottle. Is this typical of the category?
Rietvallei and Rooiberg bottle their muscadels in beautifully slender, tall bottles, but how will the wine shop manager display these? They are too slender to stand upright safely, and will be lost if it they’re laid down. The danger is the store boss might simply stack them right on top of the shelves, where it will never be seen.
Unusually shaped bottles may be eye-catching, but will they fit into the normal wine rack? Will they require special machinery for filling and labeling?
What about labels? Should they be ornate or elegantly simple? Shiny or matt?
Then there’s the question of the ideal sized bottle for a muscadel.
These sweet dessert wines are usually sipped in small glasses at the end of a meal. Some enthusiasts (like myself) also enjoy them as tall summer drinks, served over crushed ice.
Should they be packaged in 500ml or 375ml bottles rather than the normal 750ml bottles?
I like a lot. A half bottle depresses me. Some people sip muscadel. I drink it.
If you have definite thoughts about muscadel and its packaging, please let me know and I’ll pass them on to the Muscadel Association.
It would be easiest to contact me by e-mail on email@example.com.
Or you can reply through the website.