Graham Beck Harvest News I

The 24th Harvest in Robertson

Happy New Year for all of you and may 2014 surprise us all and be a fantastic vintage!Generally speaking, by now we would be harvesting this year’s grapes but with all this late rain—could this be a repeat of January 1981? – We ask ourselves.
With the recent rains we have to give nature chance to recover and for the soils to dry out. It has been a very wet start for us this year and we will welcome some warm days and lots of sunshine…. However the Graham Beck’s cellar in Robert-son is more than ready for the 2014 harvest and this will make it Har-vest number 24!.
Here is some notes on the latest conditions and the effect of the rain of this past week from Pieter Fouche—Farm Manager:
Disease pressure has been high but me and my team have been fol-lowing all these elements very
closely. But with the latest rain hopes aren’t that high and mo-rale is fairly low.
In this week we measured more than 180mm of rain on Madeba Farm here in Robertson. If you consider that our long term average for a whole year is less than 250mm….. It makes you ponder.
Points of concern is that the vineyard is very wet and we cannot get into any of the vine-yards to spray and we might get downy mildew on the grapes.
Due to the late rain we also cannot spray our bubbly vine-yard blocks of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as the with-holding period of the chemicals is to long before we need to harvest the grapes. So we are living on knife-edge.
With the amount of rainfall the berries soaks up to much water
and they can burst and will cause botrytis. The action plan is there but we need some sunshine!
Sampling of sugars for ap-proximate harvest dates is on hold until next Monday. Our weather stations are indicating an improvement with moder-ate sunshine over the weeknd…. Bring is on, please! With all the rain our farm roads are in bad condition with lots of eroded areas which makes some of them in-passable. We are waiting for the material to dry before we can attempt to repair and fill all the holes the roads.
On a lighter note one of our drivers yesterday caught him-self two river crabs in one of the Chardonnay vineyard blocks! This all sounds doom and gloom but as you know we have been there before!

Our new Company Values
Towards the end of last year Graham Beck Enterprises shared their new values:
Passion and PrideThere are no half measures. Through our obsession with quality and service- excellence, we bring passion and pride to our business and to our brands.
Go beyondOur business is a place in which everyone is valued and respected; where people are encouraged to think, create and do, and where we are all accountable for delivering our best.
Lookout for othersWe care about the world beyond the gates of our business. With a spirit of generosity, sense of history and family, we work to advance and improve the lives of people in the communities around us.
Tread lightly upon the EarthRespect and care for our planet and natural environment is
deeply embedded in our culture. As a business, it is our duty to do all we can to treasure, preserve and sustain our planet, for future generations.

Play your partSustainable profits are the cornerstone of our business. For the benefit of our employees and shareholders our customers and community, we strive to always run a well-managed, succesful and responsible business.

News on The CWG Protege Programme:
The Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Pro-gramme was launched in 2006 with the goal of bringing about transformation in the wine industry through cultivating and nurturing winemakers from previously disadvantaged groups to become winemakers of excellence. It is the long-term vision that some of these Proté-gés could in time be invited to become members of the Cape Winemakers Guild.
Through the Protégé Programme passionate young winemakers have the opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge under the guidance of some of the country’s top winemakers. The Protégé Programme comprises a 3 year internship and only final third and fourth year students who have studied Viticulture and Oenology at either the University of Stellenbosch or Elsenburg Agri-cultural College can apply for Pro-gramme.
Some objectives:
To expose the young winemakers to a wide range of wineries, wine types, roles in the winery and skills for a winemaker through a paid internship over three years.
To prepare young winemakers of colour for a career in winemaking through facilitating interactions and networks within the industry.
Focus on Philani Shongwe – our CWG Protege:
Philani is in his final year of internship in the CWG Protégé Programme and will spend it with us in Robertson. More on him. Philani Ngcebo Shongwe graduated in 2011 from the University of Stellenbosch and got his first job as an intern at Groot Constantia.In the same year he did his first harvest overseas at Ansitz Waldgries, South Tyrol in Italy – where he fell in love with the Legrein (no it is not his girlfriend but it is a grape similar to Shiraz). When he re-turned home he joined the CWG Protégé Programme. He did his first year at Paul Cluver, Elgin in 2012. In 2013 he went back to Groot Constantia where he made his first wine “The Passport” which is a 100% Shiraz.
This year he has joined the Graham Beck Wine-Team and is excited and looking forward to ‘play’ with bubbles and learn all the intrinsics from a passionate team.In 2013 Philani attended the Michael Fridjhon Wine Academy for a wine judging course to enhance his wine tast-ing skills.Philani has been involved with 8 harvests which include other winer-ies and areas such as Slanghoek and Thelema in Stellenbosch.
He believes that wines should be made fresh, fine, elegant and low in alcohol….. I must say we concur with Philani. He will be exposed to all elements of winemaking and outside activities such as CWG Technical tastings through the year. He will be bottling his wine of last year as part of the criteria of the programme. What makes Philani happy: “a smooth and complete fermentation!” What gets him nervous or frustrated: “a sluggish fermentation”.

Small interesting creatures:
Mossie has sent the following images of the Yellow-haired Sugar Ant commonly known as the ’Bal-Byter” in Afrikaans and blessed with the botanical name of Camponoyus fulvopilosus.
This ant has a great technique to spray its attacker or enemy with formic acid rather than biting. The next couple of photographs below hopefully explains the actions. There is spotting the enemy, then maneuvering into position, then tucking its abdo-men, then the spraying and then lastly the inspection whether it was successful or not!
I still suggest you don’t sit on the ground if they are around—you might just get a pinch where you don’t expect it!
balbyt 8

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