Happy New Year Fellow Vondelingers!

I hope 2018 turns out to be a cracking year.

Here on the farm, the harvest is late (surprising taking into account the hot and dry conditions), but we started picking yesterday. 5 tons of chardonnay for our bubbly Rurale (Methode Ancestral). It’s quite a process to make as it involves perfect timing from Matthew. Read more on what makes Methode Ancestral so special here.

 Newsletter Jan 2018 1  Newsletter Jan 2018 2

The picture of Matt the Winemaker’s “back-of-a-fag-packet” figures is of sugar readings taken in various vineyard blocks which gives us an idea of the premium time to pick, although we usually just go on taste. The other is a picture of Matt catching some relaxation time with Henry before harvest starts.

We plan to pick more Chardonnay tomorrow, Sauvignon Blanc on Thursday and Pinotage on Friday, so we are getting pretty busy, to say the least. Our visiting cellar rats are all arriving this week. Bertie is from England (18), Diego from Spain (18), Viktor from USA (26) and Adam from Canada (27). They will be working in the cellar alongside our winemakers in February and March. 

New Release – Monsonia 2015

We have repackaged our premium red Rhone style blend called “Monsonia”. It’s named after a precious species of fynbos that grows here on the Paardeberg. There is a lovely story of how the species got its name, which you can read here. If you would like to be one of the first to taste the 2015 vintage, you can order for delivery to your home  here.

 Newsletter Jan 2018 3  Newsletter Jan 2018 4

 The one advantage about the drought and empty dam is that it can dry out and then we can clean it. It’s the first chance we have had for 18 years. We have removed over 500 tons of silt which has been building up over the years. 

 Newsletter Jan 2018 5

The drought is taking its toll on the harvest in the Voor Paardeberg, Paarl and Swartland grape growing regions. From what I have heard around and about, the harvest could be as much as 50% down in some areas here and even more in some of the unirrigated vineyards. However we have managed to make the best use of our water and the vines are looking good, ableit with smaller berries, which equates to lighter bunches. A lot will depend on the weather during February.

Newsletter Jan 2018 6

Lastly, I am very sad to report that our lovely farm dog Bundu (a beautiful Great Dane) who many of you would have met during a visit here, died last weekend from natural courses. He will be sorely missed.

Newsletter Jan 2018 7

Watch out for the February newsletter, in which we will have lots of harvest photos and details of our exclusive limited release “Philosophie”, which is a very special Bordeaux blend.

Take care and fight on!