The pictured above: Baron, Ansone, Laura, Louise, Liam, Cyril and Susan (with Anthony below right)
The winery has been getting busy for the past 2 weeks and crushed a total of about 120 tons of grapes thus far. No grapes came in today and next grapes are due tomorrow, as we bring in some Merlot for Red Lady. We have completed the Chardonnay and Viognier harvest from Simonsberg-Paarl, and the Pinotage for our Jess Rosè. The first batch of Shiraz for Jess 2011 is in and rest will follow later this week.
It has been a hot, dry February so far and the quality of the reds that busy ripening on the Simonsberg look very good. At present we are pumping in irrigation water from the Berg River for the first time in 5 years, which shows how much hotter and drier this summer has been.
Etienne and Susan’s main concern is that a lot of the red grapes may ripen at the same time. We can take in 30 – 50 tons of grapes per day, so pressure may become intense! Our Elgin grapes are still earlier on the ripening curve, with the Pinot Grigio due in first.
The Elgin vineyards are maturing well, with our first decent Shiraz crop expected, plus our first small batch of Cabernet Sauvignon from Caseys’ Ridge. The white are all looking very good at this stage.
We are lucky to have a lively team, working hard in the winery! Locally, Anthony was promoted to the cellar team, as a result of his great performance in his previous position & high potential demonstrated.
We have three winemakers from the northern hemisphere helping out in the winery this harvest:
Laura Roach is from the USA. Laura studied at University of California, Davis Campus and graduated in 2011 with a BSc Viticulture and Oenology. This is her 3rd harvest, with previous crushes at Schramsberg Vineyards (California) and Domaine de la Vougeraie (Burgundy)
Liam Idzikowski is Irish and working his 7th crush. He completed 3 harvests in California (Williams Selyem and Tyrrells) plus three harvests in Australia. Liam is studying at Brighton University, where he is completing his BSc Honours in Oenology & Viticulture.
Louise Brown is British and studying Wine Production at Plumpton University. This is her second harvest, following on working the 2010 harvest at Dumol in California. Louise spent a number of year in the Hospitality Industry. She read Andre Domine’s wine books and decided to converted to viticulture and wine!