• Illumination – Deconstructing the grape and discovering the enjoyment of Wine

    Juliet Cullinan has designed a novel way to convey her love of the fermented grape in her new concept of “Illumination”, which unpeels the mystical layers of wine appreciation through the media of art, music, and form vibrations.

    Since starting the eponymous Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival 26 years ago, her good nose and palate appreciation led to some world firsts in the understanding of flavours and tastes.

    Back in 2005, she started using wine symbols to visually describe the structure of wine, without having to write tasting notes out in longhand at the Gourmet Voice in Cannes. 

    At the same French festival in 2006, Ms Cullinan started an evolution in wine appreciation, by launching the first wine images to depict the flavours of grapes. 

    “I designed the image of a wine glass filled with the distinctive flavours of a New World vintage with bouquets of fruit, flowers, foods, and the natural aromas of each grape variety.

    “The artwork was printed in Paris and our launch of the visual concept of tasting wine to the international media at the Gourmet Voice in Cannes, was a world first,” she recalls.

    That same year, Juliet Cullinan launched the first bespoke bread and wine pairings using deconstructed wine-flavour profiles to make up some of the ingredients at the Bread and Wine tasting festival at Decorex, South Africa.

    In 2009 Ms Cullinan launched the first Google vineyard views of South African wineries in which wine lovers could enjoy virtual wine route tours, plan regional visits and buy online. 

    “As the world’s first vineyards to be placed on Street View, South African wineries received great exposure while expanding tourism and their global customer base. Now guests at this year’s festival can enjoy a virtual tour of Bouchard Finlayson, De Wetshof, Journey's End, Ormonde Vineyard and Raka,” she says.

    In 2011, Ms Cullinan presented a tasting of Cape Wines to the Monte Carlo Wine & Business Club using the first QR codes on the catalogue, with links to the wineries. That same year, she redefined wine as a fine art, by matching varietal wines to paintings from the Standard Bank’s private collection to highlight connecting themes.

    This year she is introducing new ways to appreciate rare and bespoke taste sensations using other senses.

    “Not only will we divulge secrets of elite pairings, we will also display the grape with fashion and demonstrate how various music genres can radically change the flavour of the wine.

    “This year we will showcase a world-first 3D virtual winery footage experience, screened through Google Glasses and guests can also discover how the tone and harmony of different sounds will affect the taste of the wines.

    “Being devoted to wine, I aim to share my understanding with our guests using sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch. I hope that this will be an educated, informed and experiential adventure for all wine and art lovers.

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