Posts tagged wine making
‘Love Thy (Wine) Neighbour’

I remember the first time someone laughed at me because I didn’t know what tannin was. I remember feeling rather humiliated, and I retreated away from something that thankfully still became my calling and life’s passion. But I remember at the time feeling really let down. How could something as romantic and mesmerising and evocative, suddenly be so polarising and off-putting?

Well, let’s take a moment to consider. Wine is intimidating.

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PART 3: In Pursuit of Balance (Reflections of Wine Making in South Africa)

Ezekiel is Zimbabwean. He catches a dodgy, dinged out train into Stellenbosch every morning, wearing oversized gumboots and his stained, blue overalls. He’s softly spoken, and has a gentle, kind face. I met him one morning when the crush pad was littered with red picking crates and a mountain of spindly green stems. We shook hands, and I noticed he didn’t make eye contact with me, but there was a humility in his greeting that assured me it wasn’t rudeness. And then he turned around and dived straight back into the unenviable task of cleaning his surroundings to a spotless, military standard, but our brief encounter was to be an important moment in my wine making journey.

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PART 2: In Pursuit of Balance (Wine Making in South Africa)

It’s been four weeks since I left the winter chill of London and landed back in the fair Cape. The initial excitement of being back in the country was VERY quickly swamped by the reality of the water crisis out here. It was a very sobering moment coming to terms with the household rations (we have to flush the toilets with water we are collecting from our showers) and, as I slowly began networking and meeting up with farmers and winemakers, the effect the drought is having on the vines and this vintage is staggering. The industry has changed drastically in recent years, with many producers, like myself, now buying in fruit as opposed to owning land and farming it themselves. Fruit is in such high demand this year that producers are fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on whatever grapes they can possibly get. It’s like the Hunger Games.

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PART 1: In Pursuit of Balance (Wine Making in South Africa)

In February I will be travelling back, not to California, but to my homeland of South Africa, to begin my own wine making project. Through the trusted investment of a few close, like-minded friends, I am going to be producing a small batch of a red blend, reminiscent of the styles I discovered in Sonoma. Tracking down well farmed grapes from over in London has been a challenge, but through an old network of friends and colleagues, I have managed to nail down some Grenache Noir from Bot River, a fairly undiscovered region, and Syrah from Stellenbosch.

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