The grape harvest in South Africa is on full steam. It’s hard work in the vineyards and the cellars. And in between. The tractor driver in this picture is fully focussed on his job at Springfontein Winery here in Stanford. Picture taken at 6 AM.
A garden is very inspiration; especially ours but that’s because we know it upside-down and the other way around. Well…. that’s what we prefer to think. The truth however is a bit different and I am glad to get my daily surprises. Today’s big surprise is, with a bit of imagination, the dragon with its rider. Do you see them? They are coming your way.
Sometimes a few good wines can help. While strolling through the garden and imagining pictures one of these imaginary pictures went vertical and than reflected itself. Today’s wine was a Chenin Blanc (from our village) and if you zip this wine late Summer afternoon in rural slow pace …….. Wow!!!
Pity; the bottle is empty…. Need a refill.
Last week I submitted 3 posts about the grape harvest, the grape processing and, the most interesting part, the wine tasting. All pictures were shot at Springfontein Winery in our village Stanford, South Africa. The vineyards are located in a unique setting between lagoon and ocean. The terroir is sandy with lime scales (if we understood it correctly) and it’s an excellent underground for the South African grape varieties Pinotage and Chenin Blanc.
Anyway I made an impression (imaginary) of a day in the vineyard. Thanks to wonderful owners, management and other staff. I (and my wife Yvonne) really enjoyed your great hospitality!!!
Our village is one of those rural places in South Africa without any tourist traps. That alone makes it an intriguing place for the curious, exploration minded, traveler. And if you are one of those sheep following the mainstream … well we’re fine with it but, please, do visit all those famous attractions. Here we move (or not) in rural pace and take our time for it. A paddle in the Klein Rivier which flows over in one of the most amazing lagoons in this part of the world; watch birds (there are a few hundred different species); take a hike to one of the numerous waterfalls; ride one horseback through the vineyards or in the ‘veld’; enjoy the majestic views all around; chilling a sunset (and for the early birds the sunrise); have lunch or dinner out- or indoors or take a picnic where-ever; enjoy a wine tasting; read a book; etc. etc. Just enjoy Quality of Village Life.
This week I had two posts about the grape harvest and the grape processing at Springfontein Winery. I promised to keep the tasting ‘in the barrel’. Well …. tasting is something personal for everybody has his/hers own taste buds. The majority of overseas tourists in South Africa choose for tastings at cellars of which the wines are commonly known in the supermarkets abroad. And also most South Africans go mainstream. If you are as stubborn as I am go for a surprise. Who has ever heard of Reynecke in Stellenbosch? Sumsare in Robertson? Or Veenwouden in Drakenstein? And have you, until my first post about this subject, ever heard of Springfontein?
If you like the wine of an ‘unknown’ cellar just buy a bottle for a special occasion at home. If you can buy these ‘collectors items’ in Europe or where-ever you live you probably pay a fortune. The average price of South African mainstream wines in the mainland of Europe is, for whatever reason, 20 to 30% cheaper than at the cellar. Sounds strange but is true!
But also from a visual point of view the ‘unknown’ cellars can surprise you. See here the tasting room of Springfontein reflected…
Growing grapes is one thing but creating excellent wines of grapes demands at least as much craftmanship. Although modern technology helps the wine maker he/she still needs the, as the Germans say, ‘Fingerspitzengefuhl’. At Springfontein in Stanford, South Africa, the grapes are first manually graded (no machine can do it that good) and next the stalks and (partly) skins are automatically removed… well to keep a long story short: via cooling, pressing and (temporary) storage, etc. the wine matures in wooden barrels (and after that some wines mature a few extra years in the bottle in an optimal environment such as a cellar or climatized room).
You can read between the lines that wine-making is a kind of magic and I don’t understand any of it but I can tell you the difference between a good and not so good wine.
Let’s keep the tasting for tomorrow. Here a few post-harvest pictures.
Early Monday morning staff of Springfontein in Stanford, South Africa gathered together at the cellar. From there we all went to the vineyards settled in a great natural landscape. It must be a joy to start the annual harvest in such majestic surroundings in a strip of land between the lagoon and the ocean. The terroir of the Springfontein grapes is unique and the wines end up in private collections and upmarket restaurants in (merely German speaking) Europe.
See for yourself.