Posts Tagged ‘Cape’

 

South Africa is looking at its biggest ever harvest this year despite a late and slow start to the growing season.

According to the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), the 2013 grape crop is expected to hit 1,491,432 tons, exceeding the 2012 crop by 5.4% and larger than the last biggest harvest, 2008, by over 4%.

The overall harvest therefore –including juice, concentrate and wines for brandy and distilling – will reach over 1m litres, with an average 773 litres per ton of grapes.

In terms of quality, producers “are excited about a promising crop”, with good colour, structure and flavour particularly in the reds.
Read on …

 

Women in the Cape winelands are standing up to be counted, and are now producing their own wine, bottled under the label Women in Wine.

A group of 20 women, all with backgrounds in the wine industry, formed the company seven years ago, with “the dream of giving women, especially farm workers and their families, a share in the industry”.

With varied skills in marketing, wine analysis, finance, development and training, and social responsibility, the one thing the partners all had in common was that they all “enjoy a glass of quality wine”.

Women in Wine is the first South African wine-producing company that is owned, controlled and managed entirely by women.

“To date, women have made a significant contribution to the Cape’s wine industry without receiving recognition or benefiting from the industry’s business opportunities,” says Beverly Farmer, a founder member and the chief executive.

 

Read on …

Durbanville Hills cellar 01

 

 

From its first vintage 15 years ago, Durbanville Hills Wines, which is located on the Tygerberg Hills and overlooks Table Mountain and Table Bay, has produced some of the best received super premium wines in the country.

Cellar master Martin Moore, who was appointed in 1998 when the cellar was still in the early stages of construction, reminisces fondly of the first vintage and the memorable wines produced in 1999.

“When the first grapes were delivered to the presses, work had not even started on that part of the building which today houses the maturation cellar, restaurant and wine-tasting area.

“But regardless of the challenges both the Luipaardsberg Merlot and the Biesjes Craal Sauvignon blanc from our first vintage received double gold at Veritas while the Durbanville Hills Chardonnay was awarded gold. During that first vintage just over 3 000 tons of grapes were pressed. Within a few short years production moved up to reach the cellar’s full capacity of 8 000 tons,” says Moore.

“Over the years we have extended our product range to showcase the diverse terroir of the area. During the 15 years we have created a number of what I believe are quite remarkable wines; wines which in my view truly capture the unique flavour spectrum found on our valley slopes.”

Durbanville Hills has over the years become particularly known for its top-quality Sauvignon blanc, due also to the cool-climate location of its production units which all enjoy ideal conditions for growing this cultivar.

“During the summer months and then mostly in the late afternoon, the southeaster , blows off False Bay over the Cape Flats, bringing with it cool, moist air. The wind is surprisingly cold as it comes sweeping over the contours of the hills, cooling down the vineyards even on the hottest day. And when the southeaster is not blowing, a westerly wind coming off the cold Atlantic produces the same results,” says Moore.

Sauvignon blanc is represented across the cellar’s three wine ranges. All of them regularly receive awards at national and international competitions. Although the wines can be enjoyed immediately, the winery’s Sauvignon blancs are known for their longevity, with the Biesjes Craal in particular lasting for up to ten years.

The wines are available from the cellar and leading liquor outlets and retail for about R52 in the case of the 2012 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc and R85 for the 2012 Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc while you should expect to pay about R115 for the 2012 Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Also read:

The gateway to fine wines in South Africa's, Western Cape.

The gateway to fine wines in South Africa’s, Western Cape.

 

As European winemakers brave freezing temperatures to finish their winter pruning, more than 12,000 kilometers away South African vineyard workers are battling the heat as they prepare for this year’s harvest.

With temperatures rising to as high as 35 degrees Celsius, the first grapes to ripen are the Sauvignon Blanc, then Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, followed by Pinotage, Chenin Blanc and Merlot. The next sweep through the vineyards includes Syrah, Cabernet Franc and finally, as we move into March, Cabernet Sauvignon.

This trio of bold red grape varieties may be last into the cellar, but any aficionado who appreciates brooding, dark oak-aged red wine will tell you, these are definitely worth the wait. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah may make up only 22% of South Africa’s vineyard plantings but together could represent an entree into the higher echelons of the world’s fine-wine market.

Read on …

 

There are easier ways to get to Durbanville Hills Winery than aboard a snorkel-equipped Land Rover, but I don’t think there’s a better way to go.

They brought out the 4×4 vehicles (snorkel-equipped — who knew? — so the engines can breathe even in deep water crossings) so that we could experience and appreciate the hills, the vineyards and the rugged terrain even before we came to the winery itself and the braai lunch that was planned for us there.

 

Surrounding vineyards.

 

My visit to Durbanville Hills Winery started as adventure and became a learning experience about the diverse nature of wine in South Africa. Now it is also Exhibit A in the case against the One Big Tank myth that I wrote about last week.

 

Entrance to Durbanville Hills Cellar at night.

Entrance to Durbanville Hills Cellar at night.

 

The Big Tank theory is that giant wine and drinks companies with dozens of brands in their portfolios offer consumers the illusion of choice, not real choice. It’s as if all the different wines came out of one big tank.  Although there is a grain of truth in this idea, I think it is fundamentally bogus and Durbanville Hills is a case in point.

From Oom Tas to Nederberg Noble

Durbanville Hills Winery is part of the Distell drinks empire. As I wrote last week, Distell is South Africa’s largest wine and spirits producer and is a global power in several beverage categories. They superficially fit the Big Tank stereotype, but within their range of brands you will find choices over a wide range starting with very basic wines such as Oom Tas (described as “an inexpensive, dry, golden, unsophisticated wine of constantly good quality and taste”) and Kellerprinz (” an unpretentious, fun wine, its quality is nevertheless good and consistent, offering value for money”) and moving on up the ladder to the rather special Nederberg Noble Late Harvest wine I wrote about last year.
Read on …

 

Also read:

See the winners of the 2013 Best of Wine Tourism Awards in South Africa.

 

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Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

South African winner: Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices
La Motte Wine Estate
R45, Main Road, Franschhoek, 7690
Phone: +27 21 876 8000
Fax: +27 21 876 3446
Email: cellar@la-motte.com
http://www.la-motte.com

La Motte Estate is situated in one of the most scenic areas of the Cape Winelands – the Franschhoek Valley. Amongst its special attributes are a wine tasting room, a restaurant, a museum, hiking trail and farm shop – all contributing to an entertaining and educational Winelands experience. Being farmed in a sustainable and organic way, further add to the appeal and guests are invited to learn more on guided walks. Environmental management remains a priority at La Motte. A formal environmental policy is in place. The sensitive ecosystem of fynbos has been rehabilitated and all farming is organic. Numerous awards acknowledge La Motte’s commitment towards the environment.
Read about all the other category winners …