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De Wetshof Riesling shines at commemorative tasting held by Geisenheim Institute

De Wetshof might be known as being South Africa’s pioneering Chardonnay producer, but this Robertson wine farm was also one of the first Cape farms to make Rhine Riesling, a wine that attracted Superior Status for De Wetshof from the SA Wine and Spirits Board. The fact that De Wetshof helped pioneer this iconic German variety at the Cape should come as no surprise considering Danie de Wet’s wine background, which included studying viticulture and winemaking at the prestigious Geisenheim Institute in the south east part of Germany on the right back of the famous Rhein River.

Danie’s time studying here from 1969 to 1971 played a profound role in influencing him towards introducing grape cultivars that were not yet established in the Cape in the 1970s and early 1980s, including Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and – of course – Chardonnay.

His German alma mater recently served-up a bit of nostalgia when it invited Danie to attend an on-line tasting of Riesling wines made by him and other Geisenheim students from around the world.

“This year’s event was actually to commemorate the tasting of Rieslings from former Geisenheim students held in February 2001,” says Danie.


South African Wine Harvest Report 2021 - Slow and steady wines the race

Wine lovers from across the globe can enjoy outstanding wines from a much cooler and later 2021 wine grape season in South Africa. This according to the annual South African Wine Harvest Report 2021.

"It seems as though the vines really took their time to prepare this year’s harvest,” says Conrad Schutte, consultation service manager of the wine industry body Vinpro. “Moderate weather throughout the season, and specifically during harvest time, resulted in grapes ripening slower, while developing exceptional colour and flavour.”

The 2021 wine grape crop is estimated at 1 461 599 tonnes, according to the latest estimate of industry body SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information & Systems) on 19 May 2021. It is 8.9% larger than the 2020 harvest.

The harvest kicked off around two weeks later than normal due to unusually cool weather conditions throughout the season, which persisted throughout harvest time and resulted in some wine grape producers harvesting their last grapes in May. Water resources were also replenished in most regions following the recent drought, which contributed to good vine growth, bunch numbers and berry sizes.


Cederberg Wines installs solar energy plant to lower carbon footprint

A Western Cape winery, Cederberg Wines, has partnered with Eskom and New Southern Energy to cement its commitment toward sustainability with a 257.76 kWp solar power plant. Situated in the Cederberg Nature Conservancy, the award-winning winery harvests 900 tonnes of grapes each year. The solar power plant, which has been operating for six months, has cut the farm’s carbon footprint, said Cederberg Wines winemaker David Niewoudt.

The move to solar, he says, is the farm’s most measurable initiative to reduce its carbon footprint to date. It is veered toward preserving the area’s natural beauty and biodiversity. “I want people who drink my wine to think of the Cederberg mountains as unique and untouched. The solar plant is a step in our journey to reducing our impact on the beautiful environment in which we cultivate” he says.

Made Up Of 716 Photo-Voltaic Solar Panels, Eight String Inverters And 358 Optimisers, The Solar System Is Grid-Tied. In other words, it is connected to the national electricity grid.


Haute Cabrière: 9 Reasons to Visit The Franschhoek Wine Valley

There’s more to his esteemed estate than stunning views and delicious bubbly.

A visit to Franschhoek would not be complete without a visit to Haute Cabrière. This beautiful farm on the slopes of the Franschhoek mountains has been in the von Arnim family (who’ve cared for it passionately and proudly) for generations, and boasts the most exceptional views of the Franschhoek Valley beyond.

In addition to an underground cellar, there is a slew of other delicious food and wine experiences which make this a wonderful outing for the whole family. Here are seven reasons to visit this illustrious estate.

1. Wine-tasting in the cavernous cellar - Housed in a stone cellar that’s built into the side of a mountain, the beautiful tasting room was conceived by legendary Cellar Master and winemaker Achim von Arnim. With views into the underground barrel maturation room, guests are invited to embark on an informative – and dare we say, delicious – journey of tastings and explore the winery’s history wall, glass in hand.


Chenin – A Transhemispherical Marvel

There is great Chenin Blanc in both the Loire and South Africa, the two being closely linked in the image above (see details below). A version of this article is published by the Financial Times.

Chenin Blanc may well be the most underrated white wine grape in the world. It makes wines high in acidity that generally take a while to unfurl and show their mettle. But with time in bottle the wines can hold their own with the finest white wines in the world and, crucially, continue to improve for decades – a real sign of quality.

The French home of Chenin Blanc is Vouvray in the Loire Valley and in the old, cold days, before French summers warmed up, young Vouvrays could be rather hard work. The more commercial producers deliberately ensured they contained a bit of sugar to counterbalance the sourness, which meant that many wine drinkers – the anti-sugar brigade – didn’t take Vouvray or Chenin Blanc seriously.


Klein Constantia Estate – Mastering Site-Specific Sauvignon Blanc in the Cape…

Klein Constantia's emphasis has recently been re-engineered and re-imagined with a renewed emphasis on the exceptional Sauvignon Blanc terroirs of the ancient Constantia estate. With the Vin de Constance sweet wine project reaching new heights of quality annually, together with the accompanying international critical praise, this has allowed the powers at Klein Constantia to dedicate more thought and resources to the future potential of Sauvignon Blanc as well as the red wines at Anwilka in Stellenbosch.

Head winemaker Matt Day, explained that he has learnt a lot from the single vineyard block wines over the past few years as well as from the Metis joint-venture project with Pouilly Fume producer Pascal Jolivet, inspiring him and his team to refine the knowledge and knowhow acquired over the past years and channel it into the estate’s white Sauvignon Blanc wine range.


Michelangelo to continue as usual in 2021 – with a full contingent of international tasters

The 25th Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards is set to be held in August this year, and this year with a full panel of international wine and spirits judges.

“We are confident that we will be able to return to the competition’s leading advantage again in 2021, namely it’s international judging panels,” says founder and organiser of the awards, Lorraine Immelman.

“To date we have secured 23 judges from 15 countries,all of which are professional wine and spirits tasters who regularly participate in other global competitions such as Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, IWSC, Vinitaly and Mundus Vini.


The Best Wine Farms in Franschhoek

Open for business and ready to pour.

Characterised by towering oaks, rolling vineyards, Cape Dutch architecture and French flair, Franschhoek dates back to 1688, when 150 Huguenots arrived in the region, armed with winemaking skills (and a throng of other attributes that contributed irrevocably to the course of our country’s history).

Heading into the valley, first-time visitors are often struck by how deep its Gallic roots run: from the French-named wineries, hotels and restaurants to the Parisian-style café society lining the eminently walkable high street to the classic, elegant wines produced here.

According to Vignerons de Franschhoek, there are 45 wineries in the region, ranging from regal and rustic to big-name and boutique, one as beautiful as the next, all of which produce astonishingly good wines.


Results of the inaugural Viognier Challenge

The inaugural Viognier Challenge was held at Vrede and Lust on Tuesday March 16th 2021. There were 24 entries of single variety wines, with no limitation made on whether they were oaked or not.

The wines were judged blind, using the international 100 point system. The 5-person panel consisted of Christine Rudman (Chairperson); Michael Bampfield-Duggan; Greg Mutambe; Samarie Smith and Malu Lambert.

They were given no indication of origin or vintage, or whether then wines were oaked. No discussion was permitted during the tasting, with a general report of overall impressions taking place afterwards. The tasting was audited by Cecil Kilpin & Company.

The high number of gold medals awarded (75 %) reflect the quality of the entries.