Harvest News V

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.


Swartland Revolution – It is HERE!

It’s (pretty much) here.

Believe it or not, the much anticipated Revolutionary weekend is upon us.

As you start to pack your bag with excitement, allow us to add a few items to your survival pack.

Bring sunblock, sunglasses (for the sensitive eyes) and a lekker hat.

It is hot. You will be learning just as much about the soil as the sun of the appellation.


Friday night’s BBQ is outside, like any real braai, and it can get chilly (read: windy) so bring a jacket and a (SR2011) scarf.


New (and old) revolutionaries should read what the veterans at Batonage say in their excellent post: A survival guide to a revolution: The Swartland Revolution 2012

“Nobody “attends” a revolution; you live through it and you experience it.”

With advice on wardrobe, pharmaceuticals, your liver, Babbelaas Burgers and Social Media they conclude: “Arrive in whatever mood you feel like… you will leave in a jovial, relaxed and revolutionary mood.”


REGISTRATION, on the legendary Stoep of The Royal Hotel, starts at 4pm Friday. It is over at 5.30pm, we want to start tasting! Make sure you know UNDER WHO’S NAME your ticket is booked.

You will receive a neck tag that you must wear all weekend to enter tastings and events. Wristbands for MEAL ONLY TICKET HOLDERS must also be collected during this time.

SHUTTLES at previous events revolutionaries have hassled us for shuttles to get home, this year I organised it but they received to few bookings to warrent the trip .This is your last chance to try get them there! BOOK NOW> arrive alive.

And lastly, as you get ready to come to our lovely patch of earth, please

step away from your perfumes, aftershaves and lipsticks.

(The sharp scents interfere with your tasting experience and the lipstick makes the glasses hard to wash. Simple as that)

We look forward to welcoming you!

From Durban to Deutschland and anywhere else, travel safe and see you at the Royal!

Excited Helena

Helena Sheridan

PR and publicity – The Swartland Revolution


+27 (0)83 558 6594



Graham Beck Wines at Rustic Cellar in Boca Raton

Don’t forget only a few seats left…. And the Menu is:

A roasted pear with Blue Cheese Starter. Followed with dishes known for the South African Fare. The tasting continues with: Bobotie with Blatjang, Bunny Chow, Rusks and Gatsby’s. (Chef will surprise you with some sort of sweet ending.

Friday Night Graham Beck tasting at 7:30PM… 25 pp++. RSVP Deb @rustic Cellar.com

Oh yeah and the Winemaker is bringing the following wines…

Graham Beck Brut NV, Brut NV Rosé, Blanc de Blanc, Game Reserve Cabernet, and Game Reserve Chenin Blanc (and maybe a couple of extras…)

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet a winemaker and enjoy the wine and foods from south africa!

We are currently at 28 people and counting. It will be a fun night for sure.

Deb Brubaker
The Rustic Cellar, Inc.
409 S.E. Mizner Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33432
T. 561-392-5237
C. 561-756-6410
F. 561-372-8754

Press Release – First wines to carry South Africa’s new, fully traceable, ethical seal

Press Release – First wines to carry South Africa’s new, fully traceable, ethical seal.

Rare Cape Winemakers Guild Founders Blend signifies 30 years of excellence

Originally posted by Cape Winemakers Guild on 12 September 2012 

A unique commemorative Founders Blend signifying three decades of winemaking excellence crafted by five founding members of the Cape Winemakers Guild which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, takes pride of place at charity auctions at celebratory dinners at various venues in the Winelands on Wednesday, 3 October.
The 3-litre bottles of the 2010 Founders Blend, a singular blend of wines from five of the original eight Guild founder members who remain active members today, will be auctioned in aid of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust and help to fund the Guild’s Protégé Programme. Wines made by two of the Guild’s protégés, Tamsyn Jeftha and Sacha Claassen, as well as 6 Litre bottles of the 2010 Members Reserve, created from wines of all the Guild members, will also go under the charity auction hammer.

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Dinners offer intimate food and wine experiences at seven top winery restaurants in the Cape Winelands. With sumptuous menus and Guild members hosting each table, these dinners promise to be a unique and unforgettable experience.

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Dinners take place on Wednesday, 3 October from 18h30 at Cuvée Restaurant (Simonsig), Catharina’s Restaurant (Steenberg), De Grendel Restaurant (De Grendel), Jordan Restaurant (Jordan Winery), Overture (Hidden Valley),Terroir (Kleine Zalze) and Tokara Restaurant (Tokara).

To book your seat at R630 per person, e-mail bookings@capewinemakersguild.com.

Founded in 1999, the Nedbank CWG Development Trust assists with education, training and empowerment of young people from wine farming communities and includes the Guild’s Protégé Programme, a mentorship scheme for young, upcoming winemakers.

The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction of rare wine crafted exclusively for the auction by members of the Guild, will take place on Saturday, 6 October 2012 from 09h00 at Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands. This auction is open to the public and is an annual highlight for private collectors both locally and from abroad.

To find out how you can attend the Auction to obtain these rare and exclusive wines, visit Cape Winemakers Guild website | email: info@capewinemakersguild.com or | Call: +27.218520408

For the love of bubbly and my country

Originally Posted on 30 August 2012  by Alison Sussex
I recently came across a British writer’s article on New World sparkling wines, particularly those made in the traditional method. He wrote extensively and enthusiastically about USA, Australian, New Zealand and Latin American sparkling wines.
South Africa was given a brief mention, but the South African section was more notable for what it did not say than what it did say. Included was the paragraph: “Production is very small scale with fewer than two-dozen producers”.

I was surprised that a British wine buff knew so little about South African Cap Classique – surely a dynamic and exciting sector world-wide. I also felt my patriotic feathers slightly ruffled, and decided to do some digging around for more information in order to put the record straight. I contacted the author and he said he would really welcome additional details; he said that he had tried doing further research on South African Cap Classique himself, but had found information on South African Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) wines hard to come by.

Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, chairperson of the Cap Classique Association (CCA), proved to be most helpful in this regard, and provided me with the following information:

Cap Classique was established in 1992, well before the embargo was placed on Méthode Champenoise in 1995. At that stage, the CCA came into existence, having 14 members. The CCA now has 82 members in their producers’ association. This is by no means inclusive, and according to the Platter Wine Guide, approximately 100 South African wineries make Cap Classique. The CCA raison d’être is the promotion of South Africa’s premium MCC wines, as well as the promotion of the common interests of the producers of MCC wines.

Cap Classique refers to bottle fermented sparkling wine made according to Méthode Cap Classique. Carbonated sparkling wine is mainly made by cooperatives and wholesalers. Pieter estimated there are fewer than three producers producing Charmat method (Cuvée Close) sparkling wine.

The latest statistics on sparkling wine from SAWIS (2011 figures) in South Africa are:

• Total litres sold locally per annum = 8.8 million litres
• Total litres exported per annum = 6.6 million litres

These figures do not distinguish between sparkling wine and Cap Classique, and Pieter estimates that of the 15.4 million litres produced per annum, roughly 5.4 million litres would be Cap Classique wines and 10 million litres would be sparkling wine. The major MCC wines that are exported are Poncracz, Graham Beck, Simonsig, Pierre Jourdan and Villiera, and the main export markets are Sweden, UK, Germany and the USA.

Total Cap Classique production per annum is approximately seven million bottles, and current sales suggest that this volume doubles every five years, making it an extremely exciting category in the South African wine industry. There are only a few really big producers (producing more than 200 000 bottles a year; two of these produce a million bottles a year). About six producers together produce nearly 80% of the sparkling wine produced in South Africa.

Styles which are emerging are Blanc de Blancs, blends, Rosés and the small amounts of Prestige Cuvées. Any variety is permitted, and current legislation for the time spent on the lees is a minimum of nine months. There is currently a white paper in existence stipulating that the minimum time on the lees should be 12 months; it is anticipated that this law will be in force by the end of 2013.

The CCA organises three festivals a year, as well as an annual base wine tasting workshop by their members, the goal of the workshop being the improvement of the quality of the base wines going into bottles. There is also an annual technical seminar, where international speakers discuss the latest products and technology, and this culminates in a Champagne tasting.

The CCA is also committed to various social upliftment projects. At the Investec Johannesburg Bubbly Festival in 2011, it was decided that all profits made would be donated towards a project dedicated to assist children in the winelands who come from challenging and disadvantaged backgrounds. Likewise, all of the big MCC producers share a common objective of the cultural and educational upliftment of the local communities, particularly in the winelands.

Interesting snippets about Cap Classique:

• In 1994, Graham Beck Brut NV was chosen as the celebratory drink at the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela.

• After declaring his intention to run for president, Barack Obama took Michelle Obama to one of their favourite restaurants in Chicago. The sommelier recommended Graham Beck Brut NV, and the Obamas liked it so much that they ordered it for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration in 2009.

• Frans Malan, the founder of Simonsig, was the first producer of Méthode Champenoise in South Africa when he pioneered Cap Classique in 1971. In 1997, Kaapse Vonkel became the first Cap Classique to use all three of the classic grape varieties used in traditional method sparkling wines, when Pinot Meunier was introduced (the three being Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

Cap Classique Festivals 2012

• Magic of Bubbles – Franschhoek 30 November, 1 and 2 December 2012
• The 11th Amorim Cork Méthode Cap Classique Challenge. Judging will be conducted on 28 August 2012, and the winners will be announced at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town on 20 September 2012.

I hope that this goes some way towards putting the record straight, and I encourage the British author of the article on sparkling wines to try ours.

Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, the French were to say of their Champagne – “Well, it’s like Cap Classique, but we are not allowed to call it that”!

For more on Cap Classique – visit http://www.capclassique.co.za

Johannesburg Cap Classique and Champagne Festival Presented by MasterCard

Boasting some of the country’s top Cap Classiques from estates such as Colmant, Graham Beck Wines, House of Krone, La Motte, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Poncracz, Simonsig, Silverthorne, Steenberg and Villiera, the festival will offer patrons the opportunity to sip and sample the finest of bubblies without having to venture into the Winelands. World-renowned Champagnes will be presented by brands such as Follet-Ramillon, Tribaut and Veuve Clicquot.

Tickets cost R250 per person and are available online at http://www.webtickets.co.za


See you there!!!

100 best dishes – London eating

100 best dishes – London eating.

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