IT’S May. It’s spring. The baby birds are hatching, flowers are blooming.

This is the time of year I start to crave the sun. I want the heat, the big skies and the long sunsets.

I want mountain views with vistas securely viewed from a lounge chair with a glass of wine in my hand. I want to be in South Africa. I want wide-open spaces. I want Table Mountain.

I want interesting foliage that smells clean and fresh instead of carbon monoxide spewing from car exhausts.

I know I am selfish. I know I am hard to please, but obviously I have done something right because today my desires are satisfied (okay, maybe not the view of Table Mountain).

Today (Friday May 15), South Africa is coming to me.

That’s right, I am going to be drinking luscious wine, surrounded by unique flora and fauna, indigenous to the southern hemisphere. And I will be doing all of this in Gloucester Green, Oxford, from 11am until 8pm. I know ... go figure ... interesting plants, live grape vines and plenty of vino, all free ... I must have done something right in a past life.

This is all brought to us by the Wines of South Africa (WOSA). To celebrate 350 years of wine making, they are launching a new campaign to bring South African wine and all its eco-friendliness to eight city centres across the UK.

Their transportation is a carbon neutral double-decker bus and Gloucester Green is their first stop.

Not only will they have a South African garden set up in the middle of Oxford and a vast array of wines to try, but also winemakers like Ken Forrester will be on hand to answer queries.

Mr Forrester, one of South Africa’s most popular winemakers, decided to take Chenin Blanc, a widely planted grape in the Western Cape, and turn the wine from an every day supping wine, into something extraordinary.

Now the FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin) graces many events worldwide, including being served at Nelson Mandela’s 85th birthday celebrations.

Some wines that I am looking forward to enjoying today (besides the FMC) are: * Fish Hoek Pinotage Rosé. This has been one of my favourite late afternoon lunch wines for several months now. It’s an atypical rosé. It has the same salmon colour, but is more flavoursome and drier than its sweet California counter parts.

* Stormhoek Sauvignon Blanc 2008. This should compete with any New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs with its zesty gooseberry aroma and mineral undertones.

* Foot of Africa Shiraz Viognier. Named after the family’s farms at the southern tip of the continent (the ‘foot’). It is deep ruby in colour, with blackcurrant fruit and a touch of spice.

* Zalze Chenin Blanc. Tropical fruit and peach aromas on the nose, following through on the palate with a lingering, crisp aftertaste.