Graham Beck Wines Newsletter
September 2008
Tempus fugit – time flies! With spring just around the corner and the end of the year already in sight (gulp!) there’s seldom time to reflect on milestones, miracles, manic panic and more…We at Graham Beck Wines are a family of over achievers – never satisfied to rest on our laurels.
Armed with a healthy sense of humour and a spirit of adventure, we relish challenge and embrace the future. We invite you to share just a few of our recent highlights.
Screw it – let’s do it!
Graham Beck Wines is continuously on the forefront of technological advances. Our approach to utilizing world class bottle closures is just one example of this foresight. Screw caps are gaining in popularity with wine lovers around the globe.Our new screw cap machine is in a league of its own and a fantastic asset to production. Imported from Italy this top of the range three-head capping machine can handle no less than five different bottle shapes.The first run with this lean, mean new capping machine was completed on 14 April 2008 on the Railroad Red 2006. Among the wines in our range currently under screw cap are: Railroad Red, Waterside Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pheasant’s Run Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Shiraz/ Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay/ Viognier.
Perfectly packaged
The quality in the bottle remains uncontested, but a sleek new makeover makes our packaging more eye catching and appealing than ever. In keeping with our quest to deliver the ‘total package’ our wine labels recently underwent a re-design, with the emphasis on conveying the essence of Graham Beck Wines.To enhance the idea of provenance they reflect an increased focus on authenticity and the promise of excellence. The new designs will enable customers and consumers to easily navigate through the portfolio and distinguish between different tiers. The aim is to introduce a sense of familiarity, while simultaneously enhancing and entrenching the brand.Our ultra-premium tier labels feature a more minimalist approach with outstanding paper stock, clean lines, ample clear space and superb typography. The super premium tier labels are elegant, upmarket and stylish – in keeping with wines that over-deliver dramatically against their competitors. Labels for the premium tier offer increased on-shelf visibility, sporting a more minimalist, yet contemporary and engaging design.
Galloping towards glory
Fine wines and elegant equines are a match made in heaven. At Graham Beck Wines we’re fortunate to celebrate the best of both worlds, as Mr Beck is also a well known stalwart in racing circles. This year one of his horses, Dancer’s Daughter won the annual Vodacom Durban July Handicap, South Africa’s most famous horse race. This thoroughbred horse race is held annually on the first Saturday of July since its inception in 1897 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Femme fatale
Graham Beck Wines’ very own Erika Obermeyer, winemaker at our Franschhoek cellar, walked off with the title of 2008 Woman Winemaker of the Year at a gala function in Stellenbosch in July. Erika, a finalist in this competition for three years running, bagged herself a fantastic prize of a trip to Bordeaux, France. Erika’s winning entry was The Joshua 2006 – our exceptionally elegant Shiraz/Viognier co-fermentation. She also excelled in a grueling interview session with the judges.Hot on the heels of this feat was the news that Erika had bagged top honours at the annual South African National Young Wine Show (SANYWS). This is the third time in four years that Erika has done us proud with this prestigious achievement. The Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008 received the John McDonald Trophy for the Best Sauvignon Blanc on Show.Erika is passionate about Sauvignon Blanc and this multi-faceted variety’s potential. “With both trophies I want to rejoice in the wonderful world of wine and the magic of the Graham Beck Wines team,” says an ecstatic Erika.
Rave reviews
It appears wine lovers in the Northern Hemisphere have been toasting summer with none other than our 2006 Graham Beck Brut Rosé, which was featured as a favourite on the UK Telegraph’s perennially popular summer wine list. “This fruity and toasty blend of 88% pinot noir and 12% chardonnay from Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, one of the world’s great sparkling wine makers, is wonderful stuff” raved the review. We can’t help but agree!Demand for all our Graham Beck Cap Classique products has grown with leaps and bounds all over the world, so much so that we have had to allocate available stock to our customers. The 2008 vintage intake has been increased substantially to ensure greater availability going forward, without compromising our quality.
Hot off the press
The vast diversity of our vineyard demographics and distances involved spurred us on to establish a second ‘press house’ at our Franschhoek cellar. This means that we can handle 100% whole bunch pressing in Franschhoek, reducing the time between the picking of the grapes until they are in process by at least 60%. “This is a huge improvement, great for quality and the results are fantastic!” says cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira.Making the finest Cap Classique depends on attaining the purest possible must. “I believe that one of the biggest influences on the final size of the bubble is the way the grapes are handled from picking until in juice form. Once in juice form, we all speak the same language!” comments Pieter.Hitherto, during previous harvests, the cellar in Franschhoek only started up in the first week of February. We now have the last two weeks of January (which happen to be the peak period for Cap Classique harvest), to utilize our cellar in Franschhoek for base wine pressing and preparation. We can handle Chardonnay and Pinot Noir whole bunched in Franschhoek. This takes the pressure off the team in Robertson and the results are more time (if there is such a thing these days!) for attention to detail and more refined base wines for our Cap Classiques.At Graham Beck Wines we understand that quality is a continuous journey. What we can improve on today and be better at tomorrow is a step in the right direction!Until next time,Warmest wine regardsThe Graham Beck Wines team

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