Deering Estate Foundation's 15th annual "Wine on Harvest Moon" celebration perfectly captured the wine, food and art of South Africa
The map clearly said Deering Estate on Biscayne Bay in Miami, but the ambiance of drums beating, wild animals roaring, wine glasses clinking, cheers of "Akubekhule!" and smells of braii on the barbeque meant only one thing: South Africa had come to South Dade.
Akubekhule! A Culinary Safari Through South Africa, the Deering Estate Foundation's annual Wine on Harvest Moon celebration, drew hundreds of party-goers on Saturday, October 15th to sample the distinct flavors of South African food, wine, art and culture, which were spread throughout the moonlit grounds of the historic property.
"The transformation of the Deering Estate to the excitement and beauty of South Africa was absolutely incredible," said event chairman Howard Tendrich. "Everywhere you turned was another vignette, or a piece of South African history, or even a Safari guide leading the way to a different scene filled with classical music or African drumming. It was remarkable."
First stop after the first pour: the vibrant colors of Cape Town in the courtyard, then on to Wine Country and Safari on the front lawn of the estate, where plates were starting to fill up with South African Lamb Potjie, Grilled Braii Beef Skewers, Red Wine Braised Rib Cup, South African Barbeque Chicken & Slaw, Ceviche, and Lobster Mac & Cheese, among other delectable fare too numerous to mention.
Top Miami restaurants and chefs who participated in Wine on Harvest Moon included: Chef Giuseppi Zouzo of Ana Capri; Executive Pastry Chef Olivier Rodriguez of the Biltmore Hotel; Chef Erik Conaway of Brio Tuscan Grille; Les Oppenheim of Catering by Les; Chef Aaron Drielinger of Chef David Schwadron Catering; Chef Michael Battle serving Deering Braai; Chef Drew Thomas of Devon Seafood + Steak; Chef Jason Jenezon of Kona Grill; Chef David Lesser of Munch Thyme; Chef Miguel Antonio Gomes of Pisco y Nazca; Chef Terrance Daniel of Red Fish Grill; Chef Eduardo Perez of Smith & Wollensky; and Chef Ralph Colon of Station 5 Miami. Chef Jouvens Jean, winner of Food Network’s “Chef Wanted” and “Cutthroat Kitchen,” was also on hand, as was coffee by Starbucks. Celebrity Cruises was the evening’s Culinary Arts Sponsor.
Adding to the excitement of the night was an appearance by a live cheetah, Koda, who majestically rested by the side of Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill while he explained the ongoing struggle for their survival in the wild. Koda is one of two male cubs who serve as ambassadors for the zoo’s Cheetah Ambassador Program.
Guests had plenty of practice saying "Akubekhule," which means "cheers" in Zulu, one of the country's 11 national languages. The South African wines in the spotlight, selected by sommelier Veronica Litton, of Crown Wine, Spirits & Gourmet, hailed from different wine growing towns and regions: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paal, Hemel-en-Aarde and Constantia. They included bottles of Stark-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon, Chamonix Red and Chamonix Chardonnay, Constantia Glenn Sauvignon Blanc, Southern Right Pinotage, Mulderbosch Rose of Cabernet, and M.A.N.
Francois Bezuidenhout, of Stark-Condé and M.A.N. wines, spoke about the wines on display and explained South Africa's long history of wine-growing, which dates back more than 500 years. Crown Wine, Spirits & Gourmet once again sponsored and procured Wine on Harvest Moon’s robust selection of South African wines.
The cultural arts of South Africa were front and center through "Eleven Voices," the concurrent art exhibit that references the 11 official languages of South Africa. Co-curators Kim Yantis, of the Deering Estate, and Rosie Gordon-Wallace, founder and curator of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, selected works that reflect thematic inspirations from South African art and culture.
The goal of the exhibit, on view through November 26, is to spark a discussion about cultural struggle, memory and identity among contemporary artists. Land Rover South Dade was the evening’s Visual Arts Sponsor and Coconut Grove Bank was the Cultural Arts Sponsor.
Golfer Wayne Gary Player, co-creator of The Disney Institute Golf Experience, co-host of the Golf Channel's "On the Range" and son of world champion golfer, South African Gary Player, served as the live auction master of ceremonies.
For photos of the event, please visit the Wine on Harvest Moon website or Facebook Page.
About The Deering Estate Foundation
Established in 1989, The Deering Estate Foundation is a community-based charitable 501(c) 3 Florida Corporation and the philanthropic arm of the Deering Estate. Its Board of Directors, members and volunteers are made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders who are dedicated advocates of the Estate and active supporters of education, research, cultural arts, environmental conservation and historic preservation.
About The Deering Estate
The 450+ acre Deering Estate is an environmental, archaeological and historical preserve. From canoe tours to bird walks and guided Historic House & Natural Areas tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Estate is part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department, which manages the Estate on behalf of the State of Florida.
This year the Deering Estate celebrates 30 years on the National Register of Historic Places and the 100th anniversary of Charles Deering's purchase and restoration of the Richmond Hotel for his winter residence. #DiscoverMore history, art, culture, science, preservation, conservation and ecology at the Deering Estate!