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.



Graham Beck Harvest News IV

The importance of barrel inspection.

If you have ever seen Pierre or one of the cellar guys sticking their nose into a open or new barrel you might wonder why? Since it is a product so important to your wines, you should inspect the inside of every new and used barrel you purchase and before you fill it. It is an inspection of the inside of a new barrel by the winemaker and his team to make sure that the new barrel conforms to the specifications as to how it was ordered. In other words for a specific wine that will eventually mature in the barrel we have chosen a certain toast level that will eventually part with the oak flavour. This process is made at the stage when the barrels is shaped or form over a open fire at the Cooperage.

So when the barrels arrives with us, there will be a cosmetic inspection of the outside of the barrel to make sure there are no gapping gaps between the staves. This can cause serious leaking when it gets filled. Then Pierre will inspect the inside using a light which he slides through the bung hole which will light up the inside of the barrel. Then he does a few checks: He can judge the toasting level the way it was ordered  (too much or too little) and then check for any mould or off-flavours and if the barrel is clean of any debris. Lastly and most probably the most important that there is no blisters inside the barrel. Blisters is normally caused by excessive heat and causes the wood or stave to split or bursts. This is a risk of contamination as it become a collection point for wine and you can never clean the barrel properly and can spoil when the barrel is empty.
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     Using a light to inspect the inside              inside we inspect for toasting level                What you don’t want is a blister! 

If we are not happy with the cosmetics we can ask the cooperage to repair the barrels and if we are unsatisfied with the toasting or the blisters we can reject the barrel as a whole.


Riverine Rabbit awareness day

On the 15th of October 2013 we held a Riverine Rabbit Awareness Day, a day of information and fun involving practical workshops focused on the Riverine Rabbit and its habitat. We wanted to reach out to the people living in the Langeberg Municipal region and make them aware of the fact that this remarkable and extremely endangered animal might be living in their area, undetected. We also had a goal to raise funds towards the EWT Robertson Riverine Rabbit conservation project. The Riverine Rabbit can be considered South Africa’s most endangered mammal, with the total Northern population estimated at less than 250. Their stable numbers depend solely on the cooperation of private land owners and farmers. In 2006 a second population of the Riverine Rabbit was discovered and has recently been identified as an older population which was separated a long time ago; this group has since been called the Southern Population. This Southern Population is far more vulnerable due to the encroachment and activity of humans in the southern region; which is why The Riverine Rabbit Awareness day in this area was so important.

We do know a lot about the Northern Population, and what the Drylands Conservation Program does to assist land owners with these creatures on their property. This is why we are now stressing the importance of creating similar opportunities for this older, unknown and even more endangered Southern Population in order to save this unique and fascinating species.



Our morning kicked off with some key speakers on the Riverine Rabbit and discussions about the habitat that must be conserved if we are to help the rabbit thrive on our land. Christy Bragg introduced the Drylands Conservation Programme; part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust with the focus on the Riverine Rabbit and its habitat.

Christy also talked about tracking the rabbits with the use of camera trapping, an exciting and effective way to locate and keep track of the numbers of rabbits. Janice Essex, DCP intern, introduced the Riverine Rabbit Project and our Conservation Manager, Mossie Basson, spoke about the vision of The Graham Beck Game Reserve Wine Collection and its place in the efforts to provide awareness and information to the public surrounding The Graham Beck Nature Reserve, as well as our progress in rehabilitating the Riverine Rabbit’s habitat.

The afternoon was fun and practical, with a hide-and-seek-find-the-rabbit exercise and a lesson on how to set up camera traps to photograph any rabbits that might be living in our area.

That evening a fund-raising event for the initiation of a Southern Population conservation project was held in the exclusive hide in The Graham Beck Nature Reserve.

We wish to thank all the partners involved as the day was a wonderful success, creating a network of interest in the Southern Population of The Riverine Rabbit. Not to mention at least three new potential projects which were inspired by the interactions of

the partners.


The Boomslang (Tree Snake)

Truly unique, and so far the only species in it’s genus. Normally not longer than about 160 cm but this one I would place at a whopping 180cm, and definitely a male ( males green with black or blue scales/females normally more brown)

One of the snakes we found in South Africa with excellent eyesight and will move the head from side to side to get a better view. Almost exclusively arboreal and definitely reclusive and will flee from anything too large to eat. Meals will consist of , chameleons, lizards, frogs, birds and bird eggs, small mammals only on special occasions. Famous to hibernate during cool weather and curled up in weaver nests . The birds will make a huge racket  so listen to the birds.

It can open its jaws up to 170 degrees when biting and with hemotoxic as venom will result in blood not able to do clotting process resulting in internal or external bleeding. Venom is slow to act and this result in victims wrongly believe that their injury is not serious.

Only 8 serious human envenomations  by BOOMSLANG occurred between 1919 and 1962  and only 2 which were fatal. All of these cases a direct result of attempting to handle or kill this snake. The message is clear— just watch, take a photo and then walk away.!!!!!  It will inflate its head/neck if cornered and assume the S-Shape pose before striking. In this case leaving ample time for you as human to move away safely and thus unlikely to be a significant source of human fatalities.

South Africa has in the region of 130 types of snakes, although 55% of them are technically venomous only 12 species are considered potentially deadly

The shredded skin of a boomslang is one of the ingredients to make the Polyjuce Potion in J.K.Rowling’s, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS just to add some use-less information.

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What is Malolactic Fermentation

Basically, malolactic fermentation is a secondary fermentation. It is the process of taking the harsher malic acid in a wine and converting it to a softer lactic acid. Malic acid is the tart acid found in a Granny Smith apple, while lactic acid is the more subtle acid found in milk, butter, cheese and yogurt (and it is the diacetyl derivative of the lactic acid, that shows up as “buttery” in a Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation). By converting malic acid to lactic acid via Lactobacillus bacteria, you end up with a wine that is more approachable and less abrasive on the palate.

Why Use Malolactic Fermentation?

While malolactic fermentation often happens naturally during the fermentation process, winemakers can determine to allow it to happen or prevent it from happening based on the stylistic results they are shooting for in the bottle. While a wine that has undergone malolactic fermentation is less acidic in nature, the trade off is that it will often have diminished fruit character. Some Chardonnay vintners are processing part of the blend through malolactic fermentation and preventing the remaining part of the blend from going through malolactic fermentation. Then they blend both batches together to retain the fruit character, while keeping the acidity down a bit.

This method has been a successful compromise in many popular Chardonnays where the malic acid lends complexity and the non-malolactic wine contributes solid fruit.

Pronunciation: malow-lack-tick fermentation. Also Known As: ML, MLF, malolactic conversion or just “Malo”.


A sad loss to the racing community

The news that the Highlands Stud (owned by Graham Beck Enterprises) based retired stallion National Assembly had been humanely euthanized at the ripe old age of 30 on Wednesday due to the infirmities of old age, was greeted with sadness. Pensioned in 2008 from stud duties due to declining fertility, National Assembly’s passing brings the curtain down on a remarkable career in the breeding shed, and as a highly successful broodmare sire. National Assembly hailed from the third crop of leading North American sire Danzig, whose own promising career on the track was cut short by a career-ending knee injury. Sent to stud early Danzig made an indelible impression upon the breeding and racing landscape of America. Danzig’s greatest gift to the breeding and racing world was Danehill, who would ultimately go on to surpass his great sire in becoming the most successful sire of all time.                                                                         Image

Sold as a yearling for $2 500,000 at the 1985 Fasig Tipton Saratoga Sale, National Assembly went into training with the legendary Vincent O’Brien, however he suffered a serious injury which put paid to his racing career, and he was sent to Graham Beck’s Highlands stud operation in South Africa, where he was to make a significant impact on the country’s breeding and racing scene. While National Assembly was never crowned champion sire, he did make the list of champion juvenile sires on several occasions. National Assembly possibly saved his greatest until the end, from his second last crop, conceived at the ripe old age of 25, came Soft Falling Rain. Voted Champion colt of 2012, he soared in 2013 with two international Group 2 victories in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night, and the Nayef Joel Stakes, and barring any unforeseen injuries, continue to grab headlines.

A Stakes winner over distances from 1200m-1600m, Announce has produced some impressive progeny since he went to stud in 2002. His most notable progeny to date have been Call To Combat, winner of the Wolf Power Handicap (Listed) and now standing alongside his father at Hadlow, the consistently performing filly My Jelly Bean (2nd Gr2 Umkhomazi S and 3rd Gr1 Gold Medallion), and Horatio (Group 3 winner of the Tony Ruffel Stakes and 3rd in the Gr.2 Gauteng Guineas). One thing is certain, National Assembly’s legacy should endure for several generations to come, and it would be a fitting tribute to the great sire if they could achieve what he never could, a slew of sires championships.