Greetings Vondelingers,

Always great to see the back of a crappy month like January. We have had some blisteringly hot days in the last 3 or 4 weeks which has caused the grapes to ripen a bit more quickly. We started picking on February 1st on a beautiful morning and the first signs are that quality is looking very good.





The wine cellars have consequently been in full flow. In the last week, we have picked 37 tons of merlot for Rose, 57 tons of Sauvignon Blanc and 45 tons of Chardonnay. We also picked 20 tons of Pinotage for our friends at Radford Dale in Stellenbosch. Winemaker, Emile, was also rewarded for 10 years’ service, with a new bakkie and enjoyed posing outside his cellar below. Also cellar rats, Johnny and Tashwell, were very pleased to be getting busy. Seen below with tractor driver Coman.




Meanwhile, our Senior Winemaker, Matthew, instructed our experienced permanent vineyard Ladies team, to crimp the Muscat de Frontignan. This desiccates the bunches (basically strangulation) causing them to slowly dry out and get much sweeter. These grapes go into our renowned dessert wine, Sweet Carolyn, one of South Africa’s premium straw wines.



Also, this week we have had 10 of our English and Danish buyers staying in the Farmhouse. Over 4 days they have been through all the vineyards and cellars, taking photos and making copious notes and tasting all the latest vintages. Fingers crossed they will revert when they get home with some nice orders. They certainly loved the wines but pointed out that times were tough in their respective markets, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. On Monday evening we took them up to the top of Paardeberg Mountain on Vondeling for a little sundowner. There were spectacular views of Table Bay and the Paarl Valley.





The tasting room has been busy, especially on Saturday when we had a group of 35.



So it is full steam ahead in the next few weeks and I look forward to telling you all about it in the March newsletter. Finally, I must encourage you to come and see Rick Stander and his amazing band playing here at Vondeling on Saturday 19th February. They are seriously Claptonesqely brilliant! Its free entry and delicious pizza will be on sale, including all our wonderful wines and Drifter beer.


Until next time, have a great month!