South African wine needs a fresh, focused approach
This a shorten version of the Nedbank VinPro Information Day held recently:
The South African wine industry has a lot to offer global wine consumers, but a fresh approach will be essential if producers wish to take advantage of opportunities in a rapidly changing landscape.
International research institution, Rabobank, listed the USA, Canada and China as the top three attractive target markets for wine in terms of growth and price. “Without a unique story, you only have fermented grape juice, market your uniqueness” said Rannekleiv of Rabobank. South Africa should also change the perception in some countries that its wine quality is inconsistent.
According to Mike Veseth, renowned wine economist in the USA and editor of The Wine Economist blog, the best market for wine is in your own backyard. “Think global, but drink local,” he urged producers. Africa is a lucrative destination for South African wines, with economic growth in Sub-Sahara Africa expected to reach 6% in the next four years.
An ever growing bulk wine segment – locally as well as globally – was also under the spotlight. Veseth views bulk wine as complementary to packaged wines; not their competition. “However, ensure that the volume and brand of your bulk wine is managed in such a way that it is associated with good quality, otherwise both packaged and bulk wine prices will suffer,” he advised. South Africa’s bulk wine prices remained stable over the past few years, compared to those of competing bulk wine players Australia, Chile, France and Spain.
The local wine market is entering an exciting stage – sales have increased by close to 3% year on year for the past three years, after going through a relatively stagnant period
Following a “perfect storm” in 2013 and weak rand, the South African economy is set to experience a turnaround, with increased foreign investment and expectations that the rand will stabilise in the short term. This according to Johann Els, senior economist at Old Mutual. “Inflation will be on target, interest rates will remain flat and consumers world-wide are ready to start spending again,” he added.
(As it appeared on http://www.wine.co.za\news)
Great new inovation
The University of Aveiro in Portugal has created a prototype for a cork “chip”, capable of giving full information about the wines via Bluetooth or NFC (smartphones), such as the date the wine in the bottle was produced and bottled and even the temperatures which it was subjected too.
The invention, still in the development stage, could be a breakthrough to wine counterfeiting and of interest to the producers and consumers themselves, to ensure that bottles were stored in perfect condition before serving.
Great new innovation and wonder what the lifespan of the chip will be….. Will it ‘outlive’ the wine?
Let us see if prototypes become available.
The success of Flotation vs Vacuum Drum Filtration
Since last year we have moved from vacuum drum filtration of juice lees after settling to using flotation. The results are phenomenal and needless to say the quality of the press juices has improved tremendously.
In the past we used the rotary drum vacuum filter (RDV) to clarify our lees (sedimentation) from the settled juice. We use to start up the filter—what a mission! It uses diatomaceous earth (filter powder) which has become a nightmare as it is extremely difficult to re-cycle the used filter powder. This also is negative scoring in IPW self assessment. Not only is this process noisy, it uses a lot of energy, needs to have an operator for the duration of the time it runs. There is also the danger of possible health effects associated with prolonged exposure to the filter powder. Then recovery of volume and loss of product due to this process is 30 % loss.
The method of filtration also oxidizes the juice—negative on quality – as the drum creates a vacuum in the drum and sucks the juice through the filter powder. A very slow and tedious operation. It also normally runs over the weekend and brings a huge wage bill as a cost —in terms of overtime. Typical run of the filter on the lees from one day lees is 12 hours and then you sit a at least a ton of waste and filter powder—yes after each action!
Rotary Vacuum Drum Filter Flotation Machine
Flotation is the reverse of a settling. Settling occurs due to flocculation of heavy/solid particles to the bottom of a tank and then the clear juice is raced from the sediment. With flotation we use Nitrogen (N2) gas which is pumped into the juice to be treated and the bubbles of the N2 fixes to the solid particles making them lighter than the liquid/juice and takes them to the surface (top of the tank). Too cause the foam particles to float we coat the juice with a fining agent (like Q up from IOC) to form a floc. This aids the particles to float to the top. The solids can be skimmed off the top of the clarified juice, or in our case, the clarified juice is racked out from underneath the solids and only the foam then remains in the tank after racking. Based on the volume a days harvest— this process only takes 2 hours to be completed, uses very little energy and the pump runs very quietly. Using Nitrogen we have no oxidation—which is great for juice quality. The recovery rate is brilliant in comparison to RDV (up to 30% loss) and average loss with flotation is only 2 %.
Before Start 20 minutes 2 hours and ready to rack
On a good day we are saving in more ways than one and ultimately the quality of juice is improved. Gelatin is commonly used or even bentonite for flotation and next week we will be using a brand-new fining agent derived from potatoes which will make the wine – vegetarian and vegan friendly… finally!
Watch this space… we love R&D and also try to be one step head….
This year’s vineyard challenges
Botrytis cinerea is a mold responsible for fruit rot in many fruit plants. Grapes are susceptible to this fungus. Generally it causes bunch rot commonly known as botrytis rot or grey rot.
It also creates conditions favorable for the growth of other spoilage organisms. Botrytis and a mix of other microorganisms including yeast, mold, and bacteria are involved in miscellaneous fruit rots.
Under certain ideal microclimatic conditions the fungus causes noble rot, which is responsible for the production of some of the world’s finest sweet white wines. It is important to realize that the same fungus (botrytis) can cause noble rot or ignoble rot depending on the conditions of development.
Temperature and humidity are the two critical factors influencing the development of noble rot. During the infection phase, a temperature of 20-25°C and a relative humidity of 85 –95% for a maximum of 24 hours are considered desirable. Once the infection has occurred the relative humidity should drop below 60%. This drop in humidity is a key factor in dehydration of the infected berries.
During the course of development the mold mycelium penetrates the grape skin. The skin becomes permeable but does not split. This condition facilitates drying of the berries. The loss of water from the berries leads to the concentration of sugar and other constituents. The osmotic pressure inside the berry increases, consequently the metabolic activity of the fungus decreases. The limited activity of this mold causes certain changes in the fruit which enable vintners to produce unique and prestigious sweet white wines. However this can develop into Sour Bunch Rot.
Following infection by Botrytis, if the relative humidity remains high, and drying of the berries does not occur, the fungus continues to grow and produce certain undesirable changes in the fruit. The berries swell and burst. This splitting of the berry makes it susceptible to attack by other spoilage organisms, especially molds and acetic acid bacteria. This condition is often called vulgar rot or sour bunch rot. Thank goodness we hand-pick for MCC.
2. Downy Mildew
Although all green parts of the grapevine are susceptible, the first symptoms of downy mildew of grapes, caused by Plasmopara viticola, are usually seen on the leaves as soon as 5 to 7 days after infection. Foliar symptoms appear as yellow circular spots with an oily appearance (oilspots). Young oilspots on young leaves are surrounded by a brownish-yellow halo. This halo fades as the oilspot matures. The spots are yellow in white grape varieties and red in some red grape varieties (e.g., Ruby Red). Under favorable weather conditions, large numbers of oilspots may develop and coalesce to cover most of the leaf surface. After suitably warm, humid nights, a white downy fungal growth (sporangia) will appear on the underside of the leaves and other infected plant parts.
The disease gets its name “downy mildew” from the presence of this downy growth. In late summer and early fall, the diseased leaves take on a tapestry-like appearance when the growth of the pathogen is restricted by the veinlets. Confirmation of active downy mildew is made by the “bag test.” To do this test, seal suspect diseased leaves and/or fruit bunches in a moistened (not wet) plastic bag and incubate in a warm (13-28ºC/ 55-82ºF), dark place overnight. Look for fresh, white downy sporulation beneath suspect oilspots or on shoots or fruit bunches. Note that mature berries, although they may be symptomatic and harbor the pathogen, may not support sporulation even when provided with ideal conditions. Infected parts of young fruit bunches turn brown, wither, and die rapidly. If infections occur on the young bunch stalk, the entire inflorescence may die. Developing young berries will either die or, if between 3 and 5 mm in diameter, become discolored. Berries become resistant to infection within 2-3 week after bloom, although all parts of the rachis may remain susceptible 2 months after bloom.
Best Small Hotel Award for 2014 in the world goes to Franschhoek
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House is delighted at having been awarded the Best Small Hotel in the world in the annual TripAdvisor 2014 Traveller’s Choice Awards.
TripAdvisor® the world’s largest travel site, makes up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 260 million unique monthly visitors and over 125 million reviews and opinions covering more than 3.1 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 34 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. “We’re excited to recognize the world’s best properties, based on the opinions of those who know them best – the millions of travellers around the globe who come to TripAdvisor to share their experiences,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “For those seeking inspiration for their 2014 travel planning, this list of spectacular accommodation that received 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards is a perfect place to start.”
Travellers’ Choice award winners were determined based on the reviews and opinions of millions of TripAdvisor travellers around the globe.
Arthur and Katherine McWilliam Smith, owners and managers of Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House said “We could not have won this award without our wonderful guests and staff who make our work so rewarding and enjoyable.”
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House also won the 2014 Traveller’s Choice Awards for the Best Luxury Hotel in the world and 2nd place as the most Romantic Hotel in the world. It was placed 5th in the World in the 2013 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards and was awarded the Best Hotel in Africa in 2011 by TripAdvisor.
Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House is situated in the French Huguenot valley of Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands. Six rooms are encompassed in five unique buildings all situated on the same beautiful property in a quiet area of the village Franschhoek. It offers a personal service that only a very small, family-owned and managed, five-star, luxury guest house and boutique hotel can give. From this retreat, guests can stroll to the village centre and explore its famous restaurants. The Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House collection is rich in atmosphere, luxury, peace and privacy – it is the ideal hiding place for the traveller who is no longer impressed with five star hotels.