SAFFA* Thanksgiving

*  When three-letter abbreviations are used for countries, “South Africa” often gets the abbreviation “SAF” , thus a “saffer” is someone from SAF.  It’s just a  regional nickname like “Aussie” or “Ozzie” for someone from Australia or “Kiwi” for someone from New Zealand: in this context it’s playful/colloquial, not meant to be offensive/derogatory.


A little over a month ago I was in the United States and preparations for one of their most important public holidays were already under-way. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second last Thursday of November every year and it is the one day in the year where Americans of all colours, races and creeds unite in celebration.

Having a few Americans (pronounced Amuricans) as friends they gave me a quick run-down of what Thanksgiving is all about.  Without going into all the history, I found out that Thanksgiving is celebrated because it has no religious, cultural or commercial connotations. It is a day on which all Americans can celebrate something the vast majority of them have in common, freedom.

With typical true SAFFA* attitude, I decided that my little family is going to embrace this day of thanksgiving and celebrate our magnificent country, full of colour, wonder and beauty, after all we are truly a free nation united by an incredible icon – Tata Madiba


If you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, then here are a few tips and tricks to make the wine menu a little simpler. Specific recommendations are in brackets


You will probably want to keep these light, so do the same with your wine. A light Rosé is always a good choice and has the versatility to appeal to most palates. If you are serving slightly savoury dishes, opt for something crisp and refreshing ( Opstal Cellars Blush), if you have more of a sweet tooth, you might look at an off-dry or semi-sweet to compliment your dish (Blaauwklippen Cultivar Rosé). If Rosé is not an option, try a light Sauvignon Blanc (Conradie Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc).



The main event requires a stand-out wine. Many people only enjoy red or white, and it is acceptable to have red wine with white meat or white wine with red meat, it should only depend on your palate. There are many ways to prepare turkey and your Thanksgiving main course, so consider the following:

Delicate flavours: Try a Pinot Noir (Seven Springs Pinot Noir) for red or an Unwooded Chardonnay (Ayama Chardonnay) for white

Spicy flavours: Try a fruity Merlot (Painted Wolf Black Pack Merlot) or an interesting Viognier (Flagstone Word of Mouth Viognier) to balance the spice

Sweet & tangy: Balance with clean flavours – an old world Merlot (Oldenburg Merlot) or well made Chenin Blanc (Ken Forrester FMC)

Savoury: Complement with a Bordeaux Blend (Vergenoegd Estate Blend) or crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc (Alluvia Ilka Sauvignon Blanc)



Go on be decadent, bring out wonderful rich dessert wines to complement the traditional Thanksgiving tarts.

Feel free to go big and syrupy with your slightly tangy desserts, like cherry or apple tart, with a Noble Late Harvest (Slaley Reserve Noble Late Harvest) or Straw Wine (Alluvia Sandie Straw Wine)

Try something lighter with richer desserts like pumpkin tart, with a Natural Sweet wine (Lord’s Nectar)

If the drink is the main event, try a Port (Peter Bayly Cape Vintage Port)


Are you planning a SAFFA thanksgiving?  Leave your tips and ideas in the comments and feel free to pin this on your  wall. All the above mentioned wines are available for purchase at cellar door price here and here and here.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

Lizl Martini