Greetings from Vondeling

October has been rather a challenging month. All the vineyards are going bonkers and exploding with life and the chardonnay is flowering already. Everything looking good at this stage although the Shiraz has got off to a bit of an uneven start. Poor old Felix, one of our Aberdeen Angus bulls, twisted his knee ligaments “on the job”and the vet said he would have to be “off games” for the rest of the season, so that rather sealed his fate. He had a good life. Our other bull, Jack, was of course delighted to see Felix go and now has all 50 cows to himself. We have harvested the oat hay and about to cut the wheat which looks great. See picture below.

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At the beginning of the month I received a very nasty legal letter from lawyers in Johannesburg, representing another winery here in the Winelands. They demanded that we cease using the name “Erica,” for our premium red blend, which we have used since 2005. The wine is named after the flower “Erica hippuris”, one of the rarest plants in the world, and it grows here on our farm, on the Paardeberg mountain and nowhere else. Evidently the winery which had registered the name back in 1999 had noticed we were using the name a couple of months ago at a wine show in PE and decided to come after us. We have agreed to cease using the name and will name our premium red after another rare plant on the mountain shortly. 

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 The chapel has been as busy as usual and we have had some beautiful brides.

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On the wine front, we attended Winex in Joburg and our Bowwood Pinotage, although by far our most expensive wine on sale there, was the highest selling item from the winery. Absolutely fantastic. We also this month, released the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and 2017 Chenin Blanc. As I speak we are bottling our premium red 2015 which doesn’t have a name yet!!

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Finally something sad. 27 years ago I had just emigrated to South Africa and I was battling away on my little 20 hectare fruit farm wondering what the hell I had done moving from my comfortable life in the British home counties. A very dashing farmer from nearby popped in to see how I was coping and commented that my house “was a bit of a mess and didn’t I have a maid?” I said I didn’t. “Don’t worry”, he said, “I’ll send you someone tomorrow to help you out” The person he sent was Tilla and she still works for us to this very day. 

The dashing neighbouring farmer was Howard Gird, from Oaklands Stud. Sadly Tilla and I both went to his memorial two weeks ago and shed a tear together. He was a lovely guy. Time goes quickly.

We’ll be co-hosting a fun wine quiz and tasting in Durban on the 7th of November, and if you are in Port Elizabeth on the 23rd and 24thc please come and visit at the FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show taking place at The Boardwalk Convention Centre. For details, click here.

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Have a great month and enjoy the sunshine!