South African Wine | wine news | Cap Classique harvest draws to a close for 22nd time at Graham Beck Wines

South African Wine | wine news | Cap Classique harvest draws to a close for 22nd time at Graham Beck Wines.

Summer Wines in Franschhoek

This event is running from 31 March 2012 until 31 March 2012. The next occurrence is on/at 31 March 2012

Celebrate the last few days of summer in style and head off to Leopards Leap Vineyards on 31 March, set in the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, for the inaugural Franschhoek Summer Wines. Known as one of SA’s leading wine destinations, some of the valley’s top wineries will be showcasing their finest summer wines at this exclusive event.

Participating wineries include La Bri, Morena, Colmant, Môreson, Anthonij Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope and Terra del Capo, Franschhoek Cellars, Bellingham, Graham Beck, Noble Hill, Leopards Leap Vineyards, La Motte, Solms-Delta and Haut Espoir. Wine lovers will have the opportunity to browse at their leisure or engage with the winemakers, who would have just finished the 2012 harvest.

Relax and unwind, taking in the scenery of the valley as live entertainment ensures an unforgettable experience throughout the day.

Taking full advantage of the glorious summer days the festival will be open from 12pm until 5pm. Tickets cost R180 per person which includes a tasting of all the wines on show. Celebrity chef Liam Tomlin, who has recently launched Liam Tomlin Food at Leopards Leap Vineyards, and which has been receiving rave reviews, will ensure you don’t go hungry as he prepares sumptuous food to purchase whilst enjoying the day.

Tickets can be purchased directly from http://www.webtickets.co.za and booking is essential as tickets are limited to 350 people only. Liam Tomlin and his team will also be hosting exciting food demonstrations at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm on the day. Watch the press for further details, costs and booking information.

Those wishing to spend the night will be spoilt for choice with accommodation ranging from the finest bed and breakfasts to luxurious boutique hotels, all nestling in a picturesque and safe environment.

For more information contact Franschhoek Wine Valley events co-ordinator Darielle Robertson on

021 876 2861 or events@franschhoek.org.za.

Feast on sumptuous food and taste the top summer wines of the Franschhoek Wine Valley

Celebrate the last few days of summer in style and head off to Leopard’s Leap Vineyards on 31 March, set in the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, for the inaugural Franschhoek Summer Wines. Known as one of SA’s leading wine destinations, most of the valley’s top wineries will be showcasing their top summer wines at this exclusive event.

Participating wineries include La Bri, Morena, Colmant, Môreson, Anthonji Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope and Terra del Capo, Franschhoek Cellars, Bellingham, Noble Hill, Leopard’s Leap, La Motte, Solms-Delta and Haut Espoir. Wine lovers will have the opportunity to browse at their leisure or engage with the winemakers, who would have just finished the 2012 harvest.

Relax and unwind, taking in the scenery of the valley as live entertainment ensures an unforgettable experience throughout the day.

Taking full advantage of the glorious summer days the festival will be open from 12:00 – 17:00. Tickets cost R180 per person which includes a tasting of all the wines on show. Celebrity chef Liam Tomlin, who has recently launched Liam Tomlin Food at Leopard’s Leap Vineyards, and which has been receiving rave reviews, will ensure you don’t go hungry as he prepares sumptuous food to purchase whilst enjoying the day.

Tickets can be purchased directly from http://www.webtickets.co.za and booking is essential as tickets are limited to 350 people only. Liam Tomlin and his team will also be hosting exciting food demonstrations at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 on the day. Watch the press for further details, costs and booking information. Those wishing to spend the night will be spoilt for choice with accommodation ranging from the finest bed and breakfasts to luxurious boutique hotels, all nestling in a picturesque and safe environment.

Venue: Leopard’s Leap Vineyards
Cost: R180 per person

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2012 – News V

Harvesting of our MCC grapes for base wine is officially over! Finally we can tally our potential liters to see how much base wines we will have after fermentation for our portfolio of bubbles. Very difficult to commit to final breakdown of liters per MCC style but could reach a total of 110 000 cases – sorry cannot divulge at this stage . After a really hectic three weeks the grapes has virtually slowed down to a snail’s pace and we patiently await the ripening of the Viognier and first of the reds. It is a really good time to catch up and to smell the roses again.

Up to now we have received a total of 1 777 tons of grapes. This does include Chardonnay for Waterside White and for Chardonnay varietal and also an experimental batch of Pinot Noir clone 777, as red wine. Big hype of activity around this parcel, as this Pinot is fermented in a traditional way – fermenting it on the skins in open barrels. Attie, our resident barrel-man, prepares the barrels by removing the one heads. Once the fermentation is done we press the skins dry in a basket press, Attie resembles the barrels and the wine returns to the same barrel for Malolactic fermentation and maturation.

Julie and Carel monitoring the fermentations in the barrels of Pinot
On Friday we say goodbye to Romain and Alexis from Burgundy. It was great to have them at our Robertson cellar and I am sure they will return home as great ambassadors of our brand and winery.

Romain & Alexis – je vous remercie pour votre travail acharné et au revoir! à bientôt

Earlier this week had Team Gorgeous in Robertson for a serious training and ‘brand-washing’ experience, or is it ‘brain-washing’? Soon they will be equipped to run Gorgeous by Graham Beck at the Catherina’s Restaurant at Steenberg. Very exciting stuff! This is yet another avenue to promote our ‘gorgeous’ bubblies. So watch this space – hopefully we all will get an invite to see how it looks (hehe).
Look out for this logo! And watch the space.
75% of all base wines have completed the fermentation and we enter a phase now called Tank Tetris – whereby we start combining similar batches of base wine to free up tank space and at the same time fill the tanks, as to eliminate ullage and get a feeling what each parcel will bring to the blends. Exciting times! Oh yes! Nearly missed the story of a new ‘baby’. We also have had the opportunity the work with Pinot Meunier for the first time as bubbly base wine. Pinot Meunier is the third grape variety used in Champagne. We don’t know what to expect but certainly to have it in the cellar is yet another dimension in our quest “in search of the perfect bubble!”
Our team have recovered from the pressure of whole bunch handling and there is calm before the next ‘storm’ – the reds…. Shiraz and Cabernet.

Until next week!!!!

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2012 – News IV

Recuperating after the – “State of Emergency of 30 hours” On Tuesday 31st January we had the opportunity to taste some 59 different components of base wines in fermentations and some by now, after the rise in temperature because of the cooling debacle, went dry overnight. Well surprisingly we are relieved to say that most ferments are sound however there are definitely 5 tanks that will need some TLC. The rise in temperature has certainly had taken its toll but then we did try our utmost best, yes, nothing less! Happy to report that the cooling is back to normal and still running. Believe you me we check regularly to hear if it is still running. Having the cooling back mad it another big day of receiving grapes. Another three days and the pressure should subside and we can think again. What a crazy season we are experiencing.
We are happy to introduce you to our two student winemakers that arrived from Burgundy. They are part of the exchange programme between Elsenburg and the Burgundy Wine School, in France. Hopefully later in the year we will have one of our cellar guys going to Burgundy on exchange. They will spend the next two weeks with our team in Robertson.

On the left we have Romain from the village of Volnay where their family has a winery and on the right we have Alexis form the town of Nuits-St George also from a family winemaking tradition. Here they joined in tasting the base wines.

They form part of our “DreamTeam 2012” and they have settled in quickly and hit the ground running. Below is the DreamTeam 2012

Then the saying goes behind every “DreamTeam” there is a “RealTeam”. An amazing bunch of passionate hardworking guys. They make us all proud.

REAL TEAM 2012

Now here you can see into the “spaghetti factory” … This is how it looks on a typical seriously busy day when quality and press fractions run at the same time – there will be a team racking the previous day’s clear settled juices to fermentation – the lees will be filtered from one tank to another… This all happens at the same time. It is ‘fun’ to watch the team in the mornings when they hurry for their favourite pump! Quite funny but there are some days we run out of pumps and wine hoses – crazy.

On the right the progress of fermentations of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Base Wines. Soon they will be ready to be filled into full identities and we will start select them for the various Cap Classique wine styles.

Very soon we will finish our harvesting for our base wines destined for Cap Classique. The weather has been really challenging in the last 10 days or so from extreme temperatures of 43 degrees to an electric storm (which only happens in the movies!) which 20mm of rain. This storm caused severe damages to the transformer in the vicinity of our cellar and we had the loss of most of our electricity for six hours. Yet, just another challenge.
Another half day is done at Graham Beck Robertson. Sight like this does however add colour to our days of hard work. The window period is now drawing to an end on our picking for base wines. What a rollercoaster of a ride – scary at times but exhilarating and rewarding!
Current intake graph of grapes below up to 6 February 2012:
Chardonnay 815 Tons and Pinot Noir 750 Tons = 1 565 Tons

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2012 – News III

Catastrophe in Robertson – “State of Emergency for 30 hours”

On Sunday afternoon we had a very unfortunate breakdown when a valve of the cooling units burst and caused a short circuit on the compressor units. What a “daymare as well as nightmare” as cooling is vital during the fermentation to cool the ferments. Pierre and our students were stars and worked the whole of Sunday night to control cooling where needed the most. What a ‘juggling fare’ which I thought only happened at the circus!
Thanks to Louis who also responded quickly and had CellCool out to assess the damage and arrange for new contactors for the compressors. Well we are happy to report that we are finally up and running on Monday evening 19h15 with the cooling compressor. What a day we had today to juggle the amount of grapes to pick, not easy but there was no panic and the team was calm. Frantic cooling through Monday night should normalise the cooling and we hope that the damage to ferment’s are minimal.

The Control Switchboard before

If you thought you have seen array of pipelines on the cellar floor yesterday you ain’t seen nothing yet – it was to frantically cool the cooling water down. Now you know where the term ‘spaghetti lines” come from.
And finally CellCool arrived to repair and replace the contactors:
Now where do we start! Thanks to What’sApp we managed to download photos of the diagrams onto PietseApple (iPhone) and then I would email it to Louis and he in turn will print them, so CellCool could get going…

And finally the sound of a running cooling unit has never been so sweet!!! Thanks to ALL!!!!!

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2012 – News II

What a week of harvesting. Frantic to put in mildly but certainly productive and rewarding as we manage to catch up on our progress after last week’s heat wave! More than ever, we believe in 2012 will be a great year for the quality of our base wines which proudly make our finest range of Cap Classique’s. See below our intake up to day 12 op picking:

So up to now we have harvested 850 tons of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and equates to approximately 62 000 cases of MCC. The weather was much kinder this week so you can see in the graph that our harvesting team can pick quicker by day. It was a big Chardoonay week and now it is Pinot Noir’s turn. Quality looks good but the heat wave have had its toll as some of the acidity has started to drop. So it just means that we pick up the pace just a little more.

This is a block of Pinot Noir that came in on Friday. It is Pinot Noir. Great canopy and all grapes are in the shade during the ripening process. We are lucky that most of our grapes are 10 minutes away from process which makes it ideal for the process of whole bunch handling. If you see the results that Pinot Noir has no real colour at pressing. We are however challenged when it is extremely warm by day as temperature has an effect on the colour extraction. So far so good. It makes us happy to see these fractions. Quality!

The first of the Chardonnay Clones, ideal for our Blanc de Blancs was ready to go to barrel and below you will see our Champenoise friend, Julie (no she is not in Norway – the cellar is just cold) – filling the Piece Champenoise barrels with Chardonnay for the fermentation in barrel. In the other picture, by the way – I think it is a cool pic – is the fermentation looking down the bunghole, you can see the Chardonnay juice happily fermenting away!

The changes made to the grape receival area has made a huge difference in efficiencies and the flow is better. It is amazing with an upgrade such as this – we already have more ideas for next year’s harvest to improve once again! “Quality is not a destination but a continuous journey!”

Considering the pace of the harvest, I am so proud of the “Dream Team” in the cellar just sticking to their passion and focus and what we need to do.

Then there is also some time to enjoy the beautiful sunsets at this time of the year that reminds us it is only half the day gone! More harvest news soon!!!

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2012 – News I

This is the first bit of news from the ‘dream team’ in Robertson. Most of you know by now that harvest 2012 started on Thursday 12th January. It is approximately a week later than last year. Very challenging weather that we have experience since we have started – but we do love challenges! More than ever, we believe in 2012 will be a great year for the quality of our base wines which proudly make our finest range of Cap Classique’s.

This year we have two young aspirant winemakers in the making: Carel van der Merwe from Elsenburg and Jaco van der Watt, previous harvest at Cederberg and we are very fortunate to have Julie Breuzon all the way from Champagne – “Our secret weapon” (left in picture). She currently works for Champagne Piaff. Julie will be here only for the base wine harvesting and then goes back to Champagne. Carel and Jaco will see the harvest through with us!

Then as always we need extra cellar hands and see the return for some of our regulars and some new faces. Our four cellar hands this year are: Adriaan Erasmus, Grenville Kuhn, Lionel Siljeur and Narschel Baadjies.

Later this month we will host two Burgundy Exchange students – looking forward receiving them. Hopefully later in the year we can send some of our cellar members to France on the exchange program.
We wish all of the newcomers a happy stay and a good harvest. Remember you are art of the “Dream Team”

We had our colourful Harvest Parade on Wednesday 18th January and were very fortunate to have Mrs Rhona Beck here for the Parade. As it is our 21st year in Robertson her presence made it extra special for all of us. In the procession we had some of our local community members partaking. Mrs Rhona Beck thanked everyone involved and wished all the workers a great harvest and thanked them for their loyalty and hard work. As usual Pieter Fouche blessed the first load and handed it over to the cellar team.

This year sees the changes to the grape receival area which promisses to make the harvest quicker. Many thanks to Louis Jordaan for driving this projest. Benna Smal is already impressed about the ease of flow in this area!

The 2010 Klein Optenhorst Brut Rosé Cap Classique

Dear Friends, Garden Lovers and Wine Enthusiasts

The 2010 Klein Optenhorst Brut Rosé Cap Classique is finally labelled and ready for sale.
For those who have visited Klein Optenhorst, the sparkling wineis made from the 0.25ha Pinot Noir vineyard situated on either side of the driveway. The vines were planted by Naas and Jenny in 1990 and the 2010 vintage was such that we were able to make just 988 bottles.
The wine is made by sparkling wine genius Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira at the Graham Beck cellar in Robertson. It is available at R150 per bottle including VAT. Delivery can be arranged.

Please order via return email.

We look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
Jenny, Naas and Jane

T) 083 324 6855
F) 086 537 1760
E) kleinoptenhorstwines@gmail.com