English Fizz – Update

On the 9th July I will be doing going on a short study tour and tasting of presumably and arguably the Top 10 English Fizz producers in the UK. Through friends I have managed to arrange a detailed visit and route which I am looking forward to – to taste and getting an update. Some four years ago I have been to some of these producers and knowing that so much has changed in the time – it is time to catch up with them.

The producers I will visit and report back on will be:

  • Acre Hill Estate – Richard Morris
  • Exton Park Vineyard – Fred Langdale & Corinne Seely
  • Hattingley Valley – Emma Rice
  • Coates & Seely
  • Nyetimber – Cherie Spriggs
  • Wiston – Dermot Surgue
  • Ridgeview – Simon Roberts
  • Breaky Bottom – Peter Hall
  • Rathfinny Estate – Jonathan Medard
  • Gusbourne – Charlie Holland
  • Hush Heath – Victoria

With two Champagne Houses that has recently invested in some vineyards in the UK, these producers are enjoying the benefit of these investments.

Earlier this year Michelin Star UK chef Roger Jones, arranged over 24 local MCC’s and UK Sparkling Wines to be sampled and scored.  Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira from Graham Beck led the South African team of judges while Richard Morris of Ancre Hill Estate in Wales led the Wales and UK team. This was held at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town.

‘Bubbles’ Ferreira took the SA team to victory with 8 of the 11 blind tastings going in SA’s favour and also claimed the overall win on the night for his Graham Beck’s Cuveé Clive. Said Roger Jones about the evening, “It was not ultimately about winning. But the idea behind the evening was more to highlight the enormous steps UK sparkling wine has taken in recent years, as well as put more of an international spotlight on South African MCC”.

I cannot wait to give feedback, once I have been there and to meet up with friends on the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisement

Cape Winemakers Guild launches CWG VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme

Committed to driving transformation in the South African wine industry, the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) in association with VinPro has expanded its highly successful Oenology Protégé Programme with the launch of a similar internship scheme to develop young viticulturists.

The new CWG VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme, an initiative of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust, gives promising individuals the opportunity to realise their dreams of becoming fully fledged viticulturists after a two-year internship.

“The Protégé Programme is a major priority for all of our members. Thanks to a generous contribution from the VinPro Foundation, we are now able to branch out into niche areas of the wine industry which will broaden the reach of our transformation efforts significantly,” says Louis Strydom, Chairman of the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust.

“We will start by taking in one Viticulture Protégé in 2015 and hope to see it grow and be just as successful as the existing Oenology Protégé Programme,” says Strydom.

Since its inception in 2006, the CWG Oenology Protégé Programme has seen the appointment of five graduates in full time winemaking positions.

“Although it is great to invest in initiatives that show positive short term results, we prefer to take a longer term view of the industry and focus our involvement on projects that will make a critical contribution towards the sustainability of the industry and its people over the years to come,” says VinPro Transformation and Development Manager Johan Giliomee, an advisory service that renders professional and need-driven consultation services in viticulture, oenology, soil science, agro-economy and general management to wine producers.

“We regard the Cape Winemakers Guild, with their innovative approach to training as
one such organisation that can make a difference,” adds Giliomee.

Established in 2013, the VinPro Foundation serves as a vehicle for funding key initiatives that can make a difference to the wellbeing of all participants in the South African wine industry.

The CWG VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme aims to cultivate, nurture and empower promising individuals to become viticulturists of excellence. Mentored by members of the Cape Winemakers Guild, interns receive hands-on training with regards to the intricacies of cultivation practices to ensure top quality grapes for the production of diverse wine types and styles. Successful candidates admitted to this cutting edge programme receive a salary, coaching and life skills mentorship, attendance of selected Cape Winemakers Guild functions and wine tastings, industry networking opportunities and a certificate of completion at the end of the two-year internship.

Students interested in applying for the Oenology Protégé Programme or the CWG VinPro Viticulture Protégé Programme can visit http://www.capewinemakersguild.com, call Tel: 021 852 0408 or send an email to info@capewinemakersguild.com

Another Gold for Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2009

Results are just out from the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014

IWSC 2014

Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2009

Producer Name: Graham Beck Wines

Award: Gold

Tasting Category: Bottle Fermented Sparkling – Blanc de Blancs – Districts of Breede River Valley WO – Vintage 2009-2008

Origin of Entry: South Africa

Judges Tasting Notes:

Bright, pale gold. Finest of energetic bead giving firm, long lasting, crown. Bakery aromas mingled with hints of fynbos

and light hint of oak. Big, creamy mousse with bread and doughy flavours backed by fresh lemon and some pear.

Lively flow across the palate yet as smooth as can be. Delightful and refreshing. Lovely and gorgeous to enjoy now yet

will develop in the bottle with interest.

 

Results of The Chamapagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships

The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships received over 650 entries from 16 different countries in the first year of judging, with 185 wines winning Gold and Silver medals – all listed below in alphabetical order.

World Champion and Best in Class trophy results will be announced in September in World of Fine Wine magazine and FINE Champagne magazine.

Competition Founder, Tom Stevenson, comments: “We are extremely proud of the quality of our Gold and Silver medal winning wines, which are listed below in strict alphabetical order, but it is clear that we did not get the message across to everyone in the first year of our competition. There were certain categories that we did not promote sufficiently, leaving them wide open for entrants to make their mark next year. For more details, see my summary on wine-pages.com.”

Some of the results:

SUPREME WORLD CHAMPION – Champagne Louis Roederer 2002 Cristal Rosé 12%, 9g (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPIONS BY ORIGIN

WORLD CHAMPION AUSTRALIA
Blue Pyrenees Estate 2010 Midnight Cuvée –  12.5%, 7g (100% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION AUSTRIA
Bründlmayer 2008 Brut (magnum) –  12.5%, 8.7g (40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Gris, 10% Pinot Blanc, 10% Grüner Veltliner)

WORLD CHAMPION USA
Roederer Estate NV Brut Sparkling Wine – 
12%, 12g (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir)

WORLD CHAMPION CAP CLASSIQUE
Graham Beck Wines 2009 Blanc de Blancs – 
12%, 6g (100% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION CAVA
Gramona 2000 Enoteca Brut Nature – 
12.5%, 2.5g (75% Xarel-lo, 25% Macabeo)

WORLD CHAMPION CHAMPAGNE
Champagne Louis Roederer 2002 Cristal Rosé – 
12%, 9g (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION CHILE
Miguel Torres Chile NV Cordillera Brut – 
12%, 8.6g (100% Pinot Noir)

WORLD CHAMPION ENGLAND
Digby Fine English 2009 Reserve Brut – 
12%, 8g (65% Chardonnay, 17.5% Pinot Noir, 17.5% Meunier)

WORLD CHAMPION FRANCIACORTA
Il Mosnel 2008 Rosé Pas Dosé Parosé- 
12.5%, 2.5g (70% Pinot Noir, 30 % Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION ITALIAN SPARKLING WINE
Ferrari 2007 Perlé –
12.5%, 6g (100% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION NEW ZEALAND
Akarua 2010 Vintage Brut – 
13%, 6g (49% Chardonnay, 51% Pinot Noir)

WORLD CHAMPION PROSECCO
Nino Franco 2013 Valdobbiadene Primo Franco – 
10.5%, 27g (100% Glera)

WORLD CHAMPION SPARKLING WINE OUTSIDE OF CHAMPAGNE
Ferrari 2007 Perlé – 
12.5%, 6g (100% Chardonnay)

WORLD CHAMPION TRENTODOC
Ferrari 2007 Perlé – 
12.5%, 6g (100% Chardonnay)

BEST IN CLASS

Australian Blanc de Blancs – Blue Pyrenees Estate 2010 Midnight Cuvée

Australian Blend – House of Arras NV Brut Elite C601

Australian Non-Dosage – Este 2007 De Bortoli Wines

Australian Rosé – Dominique Portet NV Brut Rosé

Australian Sparkling Red – Grant Burge NV Shiraz Cabernet

Australian Vintage Rosé – House of Arras 2005 Rosé

Austrian Vintage Blend – Bründlmayer 2008 Brut (magnum)

Austrian Vintage Magnum – Bründlmayer 2008 Brut (magnum)

California Blend – Roederer Estate NV Brut Sparkling Wine

California Rosé – Caraccioli Cellars 2006 Brut Rosé

Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs – Graham Beck Wines 2009 Blanc de Blancs

Cava Traditional Varieties – Gramona 2000 Enoteca Brut Nature

Cava Mixed Varieties (Traditional & International) – Freixenet NV Elyssia Gran Cuvée

Cava Rosé – Freixenet 2012 Cuvée de Prestige Trepat

Champagne NV Blend – Champagne Pommery NV Brut Royal (magnum)

Champagne NV Blanc de Blancs – Champagne Ruinart NV Blanc de Blancs

Champagne NV Magnum – Champagne Pommery NV Brut Royal (magnum)

Champagne NV Rosé – Champagne Charles Heidsieck NV Rosé Réserve

Champagne Vintage Blend – Champagne Les Pionniers 2004 Brut

Champagne Vintage Blanc de Blancs – Champagne De Castelnau 2002 Blanc de Blancs

Champagne Vintage Rosé – Champagne Charles Heidsieck 1999 Rosé Millésime

Champagne Deluxe Blend – Champagne Dom Pérignon 1996 Oenothèque

Champagne Deluxe Blanc de Blancs – Champagne Dom Ruinart 2002 Blanc de Blancs

Champagne Deluxe Magnum – Champagne Laurent-Perrier NV Grand Siècle (magnum)

Champagne Deluxe Rosé – Champagne Louis Roederer 2002 Cristal Rosé

Chilean Blanc de Noirs – Miguel Torres Chile NV Cordillera Brut

English NV Blanc de Blancs – Wiston Estate NV Blanc de Blancs

English Vintage Blanc de Blancs – Nyetimber 2003 Blanc de Blancs (magnum)

English Vintage Magnum – Nyetimber 2003 Blanc de Blancs (magnum)

English Vintage – Digby Fine English 2009 Réserve Brut

English Vintage Rosé – Hattingley Valley 2011 Rosé

Franciacorta NV Blend – Il Mosnel NV Brut

Franciacorta Non Dosage – Il Mosnel 2008 Rosé Pas Dosé Parosé

Franciacorta Vintage Rosé – Il Mosnel 2008 Rosé Pas Dosé Parosé

Franciacorta Vintage Blend – Ca’ del Bosco 2005 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi (magnum)

Franciacorta Magnum – Ca’ del Bosco 2005 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi (magnum)

New Zealand Blend – Akarua 2010 Vintage Brut

Other Italian – Tenuta Scarpa Colombi NV Roberto Colombi Blanc de Blancs Brut

Prosecco Brut – Bisol NV Crede (magnum)

Prosecco Dry – Nino Franco 2013 Valdobbiadene Primo Franco

Prosecco Extra Dry – Tenuta Ca’ Bolani NV Prosecco

Prosecco Magnum – Bisol NV Crede (magnum)

Southeastern Europe – Aleksandrovic 2009 Trijumf Chardonnay

Trentodoc Vintage Blanc de Blancs – Ferrari 2007 Perlé

Trentodoc Vintage Rosé – Rotari 2010 Alperegis Rosé Millesimato

Judges: Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW & Dr Tony Jordan.
Associate Judge: George Markus.
Competition Steward: Amanda Regan.

Courtesey of http://www.champagnesparklingwwc.co.uk/results-public/results-2014.html

wine.co.za | news | Raising the bubbly bar

wine.co.za | news | Raising the bubbly bar.

Raising a glass to champagne | Chemistry World

Raising a glass to champagne | Chemistry World.

Graham Beck Harvest News V

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.

cork ID

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

RDV             Floatation 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 %.

float1   float2    float3    float4

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
1. Botrytis
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.

botrytis
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.

md oily    md     md bunch

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.
Akademie

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.

Graham Beck Harvest News III

We keep attracting attention
Generally speaking we seem to do a ’good job’. We never siege a dull moment. Through the vintage we had had many students and winemakers passing by in Robertson. Yet again we have the privilege to welcome a Sommelier from The Vineyard Hotel & Spa — Ndabezinhle w Dube known as Ndaba Dube. He spent two days with our team learning what is like making wine rather than just selling wine onto the consumer. Ndaba has been has been capped as Cape Town’s most up and coming wine steward for 2013.
Dube was selected from a pool of young trainee chefs and sommeliers in Showcook’s new ‘Inter Hotel Challenge’. The award sees the top 10 premier luxury hotels in Cape Town competing for top honours in a competition where the chefs and sommeliers are tested and pushed in their knowledge, skills, aptitude and talents.
Ndaba, who has been part of The Vineyard Hotel & Spa’s team for four years, is passionate about all things wine. He remarks: “The Inter Hotel Challenge has been a fascinating and wonderful experience and it was a privilege to be part of it all. Top wine, like top service, go hand in hand and this award means a great deal to me – thank you!”
Ndaba
Roy Davies, General Manager of the Vineyard Hotel & Spa, remarked: “Kudos to Ndaba for this fine achievement. To be lauded as the most up and coming wine steward in a category with fierce competition is absolutely fantastic. His knowledge of wine, his attention to detail, and gentility mark him out as a true wine ambassador.
“We pride ourselves on our long and historic association with wine and this award further cements our status as the Cape’s premier wine destination hotel,” Davies added.
We sincerely hoped that Ndaba, by the way a charming man, has enjoyed his stay with us and that we will have fond memories and have learnt something he can apply in his position. Should your road take you past The Vineyard Hotel & Spa pop-in and say hallo to him.

Harvest Parade number 24
Harv parade

This year the theme for the harvest parade in Robertson was The Year of The Game Reserve wine range. Colourfull banners aand the nice big wire ‘statues’ lined the reception area. Lots and lots of happy faces accompanied the first load of grapes to the cellar. We hope that most of you could by know had a chance to see the little movie of the parade. Now with the parade over we can concentrate on the load and loads of grapes that is expected in the next two weeks for our Cap Classique base wines.

Our Cabernet Sauvignon is King!

French:Pronounced as “Ka.ber.ne So.vij,non” is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. This variety has played a significant role in the development of our The Game Reserve range.
Every year there is a vineyard block competition organized by VinPro in the Robertson region and this year the emphasis is on Cabernet Sauvignon. Pieter Fouche entered block 10 Cabernet (one of the TGR Cabernet blocks) and we have just learnt that Pieter and his vineyard team has won the competition. This block was places 1st of all blocks in Robertson.
Picture3

This is a huge feather in our cap for all of us and we are extremely proud of this achievement.
Despite all the rains and huge disease pressure Pieter has managed to be top of the pops!
Well done!!!

Kapokbos – Beautifil, tasty and very versitile
Stunning indigenous plants emanate at The Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve and surrounds. One of them in particular is especially useful. This beauty is called the Kapokbos, or Wild Rosemary, or (for you serious botanists) Eriocephalus africanus L. In southern Africa there are 34 species of Eriocephalus. With its forked, silvery leaves and flat radiant flower heads at the branch tips, this fascinating plant stands proudly rooted in the clay and granite hillsides in the Robertson region and is resplendent during the month of November. Flowering times vary, but the best displays are in winter when the whole shrub is covered in small, white flowers. Soon after blooming fruits are formed, which are covered in long, white hairs. These pretty fluffy seed heads look like cotton wool or snow, which gave rise to the common name for Eriocephalus, namely “Kapokbos” (kapok in Afrikaans means snow).Kapokbos
If you look closely at the plant, you’ll recognize the features which allow the Kapokbos to survive in the Cape areas where water supplies are negligible. The grey leaf colour reflects sunlight and also acts to reduce the temperature of the leaves. To retain moisture and trap transpiration, the leaves are covered in tiny silvery hairs.
Mossie likes to use Kapokbos when enjoying the traditional South African braaivleis or barbeque. He says it is a fantastic herb to use with skaaptjops (lamb chops). Traditionally been used as an effective remedy for many ailments and is one of the ingredients used in the popular cold ointment Vicks.

Spotlight on: Carel van der Merwe
Carel is no stranger to the team! After having completed Viticulture and Oenology in Wellington at CPUT he did his first harvest with us in Robertson in 2012. He also assisted in the transition in Franschhoek that year. He stayed for 2013 harvest and then went on to do a harvest at Stonestreet Winery in the Sonoma County (USA). Now back for 2014 and will be leaving for Australia in the last week of February to Australia. He will do a harvest with Cape Jaffa Wines.
20140120_191125_resized
He is an avid cricketer, golfer, tennis and rugby player and supporter and my preferred team is the DHL Stormers (I guess we can’t hold that against him). Furthermore I adore the ocean and fishing with my father as well as camping and hiking in our beautiful countryside.
The things that bothers Carel: “when someone doesn’t do their part—as the saying goes—in for penny in for a pound”
What makes Carel happy: “I am a team player and love it when the whole team works together as a unit “

What is a fermentation?
Wine fermentation is the critical conversion of a grape’s sugar content into alcohol by active yeast. The higher the sugar content in the grape the higher the alcohol content in the wine, if there is not vintner intervention. The common form of sugars that reside in a grape’s juice are the fairly familiar glucose and fructose.
Technically speaking in alcohol fermentation, sugar + yeast = alcohol, CO2 and heat.
Fermentation is where the magic happens. After harvest the grapes are sorted and separated, slightly crushed to split the grape’s skin and allow the juice to flow. The grape juice, skin, and seed are collectively called the “must.” In the case of red wines these essential components will all be fermented together to extract the color and tannin from the grape skins. With white wines, fermentation generally takes place with only the grape juice, skins are removed prior to the start up of the fermentation process. Yeast, either naturally occurring or more typically added by the winemaking team, jump starts the metabolic process of converting the grape’s innate sugars into alcohol.
This chemical conversion results in the formation of thousands of chemical compounds. Many of them are highly aromatic chemical compounds ranging from fruit to floral, and veggie to earthy. It’s these unique chemical compounds that give wine, made only from grapes, a spectrum of smells ranging from fruits, flowers, earth and a variety of other familiar scents, not just grape juice. Typically wine fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks or neutral oak barrels. The primary fermentation process typically takes a week to two weeks to be completed.
Cap Classique and Champagne undergo a secondary fermentation process in the bottle (the traditional Champagne method). In this case the secondary wine fermentation, additional yeast and sugar is added to the base wine to initiate another round of fermentation, but this time in a closed or crown capped to trap the carbon dioxide bubbles, resulting in the famous bubbles of sparkling wine.

Recap on Dosage in Cap Classique
Second Fermentation takes about four to eight weeks using around 24g/l sugar which creates a pressure of 5-6 atmospheres of CO2 and provides an extra 1.2-1.3%abv. The Cap Classique is then normally stored horizontally at a temperature of 12 to 15C in the cellars, with minimum ageing requirements for NV of 15 months and a minimum 36 months total ageing for vintage Cap Classique at Graham Beck Wines. After ageing there is the process of disgorgement in order to be able to finalise the last stage in the making of Cap Classique by the addition of dosage. Disgorgement is usually done mechanically, by freezing the bottle neck and its deposit by plunging it in to a bath of freezing solution.
Bottles are then up ended, opened and allow the internal pressure to push the slushy yeast plug out. This process is where the dosage is added along with the cork and muzzle.
Dosage in Cap Classique is the final addition made to the wine, and will also reflect the final sweetness or residual sugar of the resulting wine. In France this is known as the liqueur d’expedition and generally is a combination of sugar syrup and wine. Champagne is made with a highly acidic base wine that even with reasonably high residual sugar it can taste bone dry. This may be followed by ageing on a second cork, which helps the dosage integrate, and allows the beginning of further aging processes involving the gentle caramelisation of the sugars in the dosage.
Below is a table of the sweetness levels as set out by the EU which must be stated on the label: Sweetness levels are as follow:
Brut Nature/Zero <3g/l
Extra Brut < 6g/l
Brut 50 g/l
So I hope you have a better idea know of sugar levels in sparkling wine!

Cape Winemakers Guild enters 2014 with new Chairman

For immediate release

Andries Burger, award winning winemaker of Paul Cluver Estate Wines, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Cape Winemakers Guild. Taking over the reins from Jeff Grier of Villiera Wines, Andries who served as Vice Chairman during 2012, embraces his new portfolio with great vision that will see the Guild expand its role in furthering transformation and setting new benchmarks for South African winemaking.

“I see my role as chairman as an extension of the goal of the Cape Winemakers Guild, to guide the Guild in its quest to further knowledge and expertise in ensuring that South African wines are rated amongst the best in the world. It is also important that we continue to strive for improvement in our industry and that we, through projects such as the Guild’s Protégé Programme, nurture and create leaders for the future,” says Andries, who has been making wines at Paul Cluver since the 1997 harvest and joined the Guild in 2010.

Andries considers his selection as a member of the Guild amongst his most significant career highlights. Other major achievements include his 2011 Riesling Noble Late Harvest named white wine of the year in the 2013 Platter’s South African Wine Guide; his 2012 Gewurztraminer winning the Decanter Trophy for the best dry aromatic varietal in the world; his 2009 Chardonnay winning the Trophy for the best Chardonnay at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show for two consecutive years as well as winning the Trophy for the best white wine of the show. The same wine was also voted best Chardonnay and best white wine of the Five Nations Wine Challenge.

Andries will be supported on the Guild’s Management Committee by new Vice Chairman Miles Mossop of Tokara, whilst David Finlayson of Edgebaston serves another year as Treasurer. Louis Nel of Louis Wines is the Guild’s official Cellarmaster for 2014 with David Nieuwoudt of Cederberg Private Cellar responsible for the Guild’s technical workshops and marketing.

The Cape Winemakers Guild comprises 45 of South Africa’s most respected winemakers with the single minded vision to elevate the standing of the South African wine industry through their on-going commitment to transformation and the production of world-class, quality wines.

For more information on the Guild, visit: http://www.capewinemakersguild.com, email info@capewinemakersguild.com or call Tel: +27 +21-852 0408.
_________________________________________________________________________

Issued by: GC Communications Contact: Gudrun Clark
Tel: +27 +21-462 0520 Email: gudrun@gc-com.co.za

On behalf of: Cape Winemakers Guild Contact: Kate Jonker
Tel: +27 +21-852 0408 E-mail: kate@capewinemakersguild.com

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