Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2013 – News IV

15 February 2013  by Graham Beck
“On the money…..”
Just completed the 18th day of the bubbly grape harvest and we can report that we are quietly getting to the end of the picking whole bunches of our bubbly – It certainly has been a testing period for the cellar team, with a short window period – one of the most concentrated and focused one’s for the last couple of year’s of harvests’ at Graham Beck Wines. There is still one or two parcels to come in – from cooler sites and that of altitude.

Just about all our new ‘bubbly-babies’ are in fermentation and the cellar smells of lemons, limes, citrus, apricots, strawberries and even some exotic fruit aromas. If you are around please come and taste them with the team as it is all very exciting indeed. With the very first of the base wines fermented dry starts a new episode in our lives …

Tasting of the completed fermentations of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir components in order to work out a rack and stack program part of alleviating the game of “Tank Tetris”. It is important that the dry tanks are topped to the brim after fermentation to prevent and minimize the risk of oxidation and to switch on cooling for the fermentation yeast and lees to settle.

With an array of flavours and spectrum of colour we slowly direct these young base wines in to our different Cap Classique styles. Tasting base wines twice a week is lots of fun but really hard work as we can also tell you that your teeth takes a pounding because of all the acidity…eina! Amazing how sensitive one’s teeth become!

Visitors to the winery have been good and our tasting room staff has had a good run. I can always judge them by the smile on their faces. Recently we also entertained our agent from Poland in Robertson. This week there is a sense of ‘romance’ in the air… Something called Valentine’s Day… I am sure that we will share in some shorts of activity around the theme of love… “For the love of thy grape”.

Wooohooo – Surprize!!!!
Some activities to report on – remember there are so many things happening but then I guess I am also part of the chain that work in the team that one gets tied up in the important day to day work, so as to capturing the harvest progresses remains difficult – being so busy. Here is just a few – Still the most unusual way to get to Vintage Rose is the Saampars of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yes, a blend of these grapes prior to pressing (see images).

Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is still very healthy and disease free despite the scare last weekend of a brewing thunderstorm. Robertson was spared but other areas such as Stellenbosch and Paarl had lots of rain. But the smell of a brewing thunderstorm is wonderful.

Progress in tons by day so far – our own ‘big dipper’ experience. Lookout for more harvest information soon.

Graham Beck Wines Harvest 2013 – News III

“From a small POP to a big BANG!!”
Just completed the 12th day of the bubbly grape harvest, which started very peacefully – like a bubbly cork gently popping open – until this past week. The last week of January – Oh, my what a BANG! This is the busiest harvest week in 23 years of harvesting at Graham Beck. Load after load after load after load.. and then just a little more and more…. I think by now we have seen our fair share of grapes that is destined for our base wines – but you won’t believe it there is more from where it comes!

Just for interest – a week ago we had 14 different components of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the cellar and we now currently stand on 58 components. What a team I have! Guys and Girls you have been amazing… Thank you all for making such a huge effort to work through the ‘mountain’ of grapes.

We have had a few visitors during this busy period but it all seems to pay off for us. We had a few wine and life style journalists, visiting to experience the feel of harvest with us. From vine to juice to the glass (or few) was enjoyed by them all.

We have entered our last week of harvest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our MCC’s. There is a healthy crop out there and slow but surely our tanks are filling up fast. The whole cellar smells great with all the fermentations going on. The air smells like white blossoms, yellow fruits and red berry flavours… real abundance of magic aromas. Our team is holding strong. A big thank you again to all and a special thanks to Julie (better half of Pierre…hehe – sorry Pierre) for making ‘dinner’ for all of us every evening so far. It is truly appreciated by all. We still await your magical braai-boordjies!

If you recall the first few days of harvest – the intake graph looked pretty normal but you will understand where the theory comes in from POP to BANG! It remains me of Harvest 2000 which had the same trend…….. but it goes with the saying … “you got to do what you got to do”

As you can see it is all still Chardonnay and Pinot Noir all destined to our delightful MCC range. Efficiency of a 105 Tons per day all 100% whole bunch and I would say quite remarkable.

I know that everyone loves pictures and maybe the next newsletter will be a collage and it is difficult to always only use a few pictures…. I don’t want anyone to feel that they are missed during all the action of harvest

Lookout for more information soon.