Archive for April, 2010

The recipe for balance

April 29, 2010

Balance for life is like an old family recipe handed down from generation to generation, yet it was never written down.

Balance for life takes some “eye balling.” It takes trying different things, building upon successes and learning from mistakes. It takes a few, standard, ingredients like self-confidence, assertiveness, delegation, and personal insight. Each of these individual ingredients relies upon the other and improves itself as well as the others the more you work on each individual one.

Sounds confusing doesn’t it? It just implies that to create balance for life you need some self-confidence to be assertive, you need assertiveness skills to delegate, and personal insight to know when to stand up for yourself, and when to delegate, in doing all of that you begin to feel more self-confident which in the end creates a more balanced life.



Why wines ‘go bad’ after a few days?

April 26, 2010

All opened wines will oxidise and this is the process which turns wine to vinegar. This process is influenced by a few factors and here is a few tips to take into account with regards to wine “going bad”.

After opening a bottle of wine it just takes a few days for the wines to “go bad”. The time which it will “stay good” depends on a few factors.

Both red and white wines will oxidise once exposed to the elements and will eventually convert into vinegar. Essentially, the only wines that keep for any length of time after removing the closure are fortified ones (ports and sherries).

Typically, white wines will turn sour faster than reds and the process is accelerated by higher temperatures; by replacing the cork or screwcap and keeping the wine in the fridge, oxidation is inhibited but not avoided.

A rule-of-thumb says that letting an open bottle of wine stand on the counter accelerates the ageing process by one year for each day opened.

If this is the case, a red wine intended to age for a few years may be propelled to age in this rather crude fashion. The counter is that in opening a bottle of wine and not finishing it in one sitting, there is the opportunity to drink it up to several days later.

A white wine does not usually last longer than two days after opening and being stored in the fridge.


Don’t miss the biggest and most sought after gourmet event of the year

April 23, 2010

The 2010 SA Cheese Festival will once again provide all the aspects for a fun-filled day out in the country with family and friends.

There will be live music and ample seating under the big old oak trees, umbrellas and tents to relax and enjoy your day; different breeds of dairy animals in the Milk Factory; cheese, wine and related food products in the Checkers Cheese Emporium, Cheese Market, the Mall, the Gourmet Lane and the Diary Square; demos, fun and recipes of new ways to enjoy cheese in the Cooking Pot with celebrities like Nataniël.

Useful Information:

The cheese festival will be open Saturday to Monday from 10h00 to 18h00, and Tuesday from 10h00 to 17h00. No tickets will be sold at the gates! All tickets are sold through Computicket and Checkers stores before the event. There are only a number of tickets available, so please get yours as soon as possible.

Come and try our new Balance Light Rosé. This wine is a masterfully blended light wine (50% Shiraz /50% Pinotage).

Read more…

Join us for a glass of wine at the SA Cheese Festival

April 21, 2010

The countdown to the country’s most loved foodie festival has begun!

This weekend is the amazing SA Cheese Festival at Bien Donne near Franschhoek.

For loads of fun, fabulous food and wine and the most exhilarating cheese adventure, put the SA Cheese Festival at the top of your to-do-list for the long weekend of 24-27 April.

Balance Wines will be there so please join us for a glass or two of wine at this lovely festival.

For more info visit

How to Create a Better Work/Life Balance?

April 19, 2010

We lead busy lives with much less time for ourselves than our parents had. The global Credit Crunch and the resulting recession have only made matters worse. The demands on our time are multiple and competing. We’re torn between our priorities. It’s a lose-lose situation and it greatly diminishes our capacity to enjoy life.

Work monopolises our time. With all the electronic interruptions in our lives; work intrudes into our personal life more than ever. It’s impossible to get out to a social event without checking email on your Blackberry every five minutes. One of the first steps to finding balance in your life is to reduce, or remove those intrusions from our personal time.

Set boundaries, if you cannot do your job within working hours, there is a problem and you need to address that. If you commonly work beyond those hours, it will impact on your personal life. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but you must do something about it.

The key comes from time-managing your work-life balance. If you know you have to work late, make it a particular goal to spend time doing something with your loved ones at the weekend. If you stay late at work tonight, then plan a day out with your family on Sunday. If you have to go away for business, then when you return, you should take your partner out to dinner. Any social events that take your mind away from work will help you to return to work refreshed and replenished. It’s not just about spending more time at home; your resting time makes you more effective at work too. It’s all a matter of balance.

Kim Rix suggests that you replace any time you take away from your personal life with something meaningful. Don’t just crash in front of the television at the end of the day! Organise some way to spend that precious time. In our business life, we plan, we organise, and we take action. When questioned by psychologists, people said that they felt happiest when they had an activity, whether it was at work or home. So if you want to enjoy your home life more, activities and events are core to finding balance.

You’ll never be stuck for ideas; there are always plenty of engaging events happening in your local area, you just need to know where to look. Whether you prefer attending an engaging social event such as a fine dining in great company or a stimulating evening at the theatre, you return to work reinvigorated by the personal investment into your social life.

The balance between a satisfying career and a gratifying home life is vital to personal happiness. To do so:

– Jealously guard your private time

– Turn off electronic distractions such as phones and laptops

– Don’t spend your free time vegetating in front of the television

– Invest time in structured social events and activities

– Get a good night’s sleep.

Following these simple tips will help you to enjoy a healthy work-life balance that reduces stress and rewards us personally and professionally.


An Elephant Balancing Act

April 15, 2010

The marriage of food and wine – a delicate balance

April 13, 2010

Dinner with wine used to be simple. The rule was white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat. But most of us don’t just eat meat and potatoes or drink only one  style of wine these days.

With modern fusion cuisine and wines from new regions around the world, the choices – and confusion – are great. One new school of thought is that any wine goes with any dish. However, most of us don’t put ketchup on our ice cream for the same reason as we don’t drink a delicate white wine with a hearty meat dish or a powerful red wine with sole – they are mismatched flavours and textures.

When the marriage of food and wine works well, each enhances the other, making the meal greater than if you had consumed them separately. That’s why the following classic matches have survived the changes in food fashion: stilton with port, foie gras with sauternes, boeuf bourguignon with Burgundian pinot noir and goat cheese with sauvignon blanc.

It helps to start with the basic principles of food and wine pairing as they still provide a basis for experimenting with new world cuisine. One of the most important elements to harmonize between wine and food is flavour. For example, a tangy tomato-based pasta sauce requires a wine with comparable acidity. Without this balance between the acidity of the dish and the wine, the partner with lower acidity tastes flabby and dull, while the other, too tart.

To find an acidic wine, you can chose one that is made in the same area as the food. Years of matching the regional cuisine and wine as well as similar soil and climatic conditions make this a safe bet. Remember, acidic wines also work well with salty dishes.

Read more…

The elements of a Well-Balanced Lifestyle

April 8, 2010

Modern life is at an extremely fast pace and it is sometimes difficult to live a well balanced life. Some life coaches say  you must make time to look holistically at your lifestyle to strive towards a balanced lifestyle.

A Well-Balanced Lifestyle and Healthy Life Habits Should Include:

  • Balancing your schedule between work, rest, and play
  • Enjoying fresh air and sunshine
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Regular exercise
  • Quality time with family and friends
  • Regular medical check-ups with your doctor
  • Time spent having fun and learning new things
  • Recreational activities, sports, and hobbies
  • Down time to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge your batteries
  • And whatever your religious beliefs…time to strengthen your faith and renew your spirit

Read more…

Wine, chocolate sharpen brain performance

April 6, 2010

Good news for chocolate, wine and tea lovers as consuming the three delights daily actually helps improve your cognitive performance.

Researchers in Norway and the Oxford University studied the relation between cognitive performance and the intake of three common foodstuffs that contain flavonoids (chocolate, wine and tea) on 2,031 older people aged between 70 and 74.

Participants filled in information about their habitual food intake and underwent a battery of cognitive tests.

Those who consumed chocolate, wine, or tea had significantly better mean test scores and lower prevalence of poor cognitive performance than those who did not. The team reported their findings in the Journal of Nutrition.

The latest findings seem to support the theory, although the researchers caution that more research would be needed to prove that it was flavonoids, rather than some other aspect of the foods studied, that made the difference. The effect was most pronounced for wine.


How to Choose a Wine and Look Like You Know What You’re Doing-

April 1, 2010

Ordering wine can sometimes be very difficult especially if you must order for all the guests at your table.

Here’s an easy to remember guide for choosing a wine if you’re forced to order for the whole table.

Set Your Frame

Statistically speaking, the girl you picked up at the bus stop and/or your firm’s managing partner, whoever is sitting across the table from you tonight, probably lacks the refined palette for distinguishing varietals that might otherwise render your decision intimidating. More likely, they think a buttery finish belongs on their breakfast toast and not in their Chardonnay. You are already as competent at navigating a wine menu as most of your fellow diners.

Ask for Favorites

Assuming you’re splitting a bottle, ask the opinions of the others at the table. Some might carry strong preferences between reds or whites that will narrow or even define your decision.

Initially and generally, keep color in mind. The color of your meat and sauce will often (though not necessarily) indicate the color wine you will choose.


Aim for a wine that balances with your meal. Heavy meats, like beef, call for a full red wine such as a Cabernet or a Syrah. If your entrée has a lighter meat such as lamb or pork, or is a tomato-based pasta, then turn to a medium-bodied red, such as a Pinot Noir or a Merlot. White wines, such as Chardonnays or Sauvignon Blancs, match well with poultry, fish, and cream-based pastas. Chardonnays and Zinfandels will safely fill the gaps for most other vegetarian dishes that could land on your table.

If you’re still uncomfortable making the call, go ahead and ask your waiter for a recommendation. Ask if there is something “the house recommends.”

Once you’ve tasted your decision, don’t be afraid to have an opinion on whether or not you like it. Taste is by definition subjective and the true point of this is to find something that you and your company will enjoy.