BOTTLING, PRUNING

More of a pictorial than written essay this time, simply because pictures speak louder than words.

A bit of background to the vineyard at The Vineyard first.  Lady Anne Barnard and her husband, Andrew built their home on this Claremont site at the end of the 18th century. At the time, it was surrounded by vineyards. They, of course disappeared as the southern suburbs grew.

Fast forward to 2008, when The Vineyard is now a hotel owned by the Petousis family, with Roy Davies the General Manager. Their goal is to make The Vineyard a number one wine destination; planting a new vineyard in the spacious grounds seemed like a good first move. It was either a vineyard or a herb garden on the chosen site; the vineyard won!

As a family owned hotel, Davies and the Petousis family had the idea of inviting other family owned wine farms to be involved in this vineyard: Klein Constantia (then owned by the Jooste family), Meerlust, Simonsig, Waterford and Warwick all came on board and, along with various media (including myself) and friends, helped plant the five rows of vines, two of semillon, three of sauvignon blanc, in November 2008.

Every year since, we’ve met to prune the vines. Five years later, in February 2013, the first, tiny crop was harvested. All 76 kilos were taken in small crates to Klein Constantia, where winemaker Matt Day had the task in a big cellar of turning this boutique quantity into wine. As harvesting had to be carried out in a hurry because of impending bad weather, not many of the regulars managed to be at the main picking; a few bunches had been left for a symbolic harvest by the rest of us a few days later.

Plans for bottling the first wine could be made with less haste and, in fact, was timed to coincide with this year’s pruning morning last Saturday morning.

The following is a record of both. Apologies for the rather too small photos, something I yet have to get to grips with but I hope it gives an idea of what this fun project involves.

Branding of this special wine is of prime importance!
Branding of this special wine is of prime importance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To start, a briefing from Roy Davies, GM of The Vineyard Hotel & Spa, and Matt Day, winemaker at Klein Constantia.
To start, a briefing from Roy Davies, GM of The Vineyard Hotel & Spa, and Matt Day, winemaker at Klein Constantia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo opportunity before bottling starts. Roy with two of the three demijohns.
Photo opportunity before bottling starts. Roy with two of the three demijohns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MyrnaMikeBD
Of course we had to taste the wine. Here Myrna Robins and Mike Bampfield-Duggan ponder their opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what's a winemaker's opinion? Waterford's Kevin Arnold making his judgement.
So what’s a winemaker’s opinion? Waterford’s Kevin Arnold making his judgement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mattbottling
Matt gets the bottling started. We all had a go, some showing more dexterity than others! We finished with a grand total of 58 bottles; 25 from free run, 33 from the juice with skin contact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The maiden harvest yielded 50 litres of wine. The free-run juice was in this demijohn.
The maiden harvest yielded 50 litres of wine. The free-run juice was in this demijohn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inserting corks was a slow job, as each farm had donated bottles of different shapes.
Inserting corks was a slow job; the bottles from each member farm were of different shapes, so adjustments to the corking machine were necessary!.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roywaxseal
Roy taking a turn at putting the wax seal on a bottle. Not as easy as it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  vineyard, prior to pruning, as seen from above with the Liesbeek River running alongside.
The vineyard, prior to pruning, as seen from above with the Liesbeek River running alongside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pruningunderway
Pruning is underway. The two rows at the higher level are semillon, those below, sauvignon blanc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My rather small vine - I think the first one died!
My rather small vine – I think the first one died!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The vineyard is shown at the top lefthand side of  this map, which also depicts the hotel and its gardens.
The vineyard is at the extreme lefthand side at the top of this map, which also depicts the hotel and its gardens. Apologies it’s so small.

 

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