Grape Harvest

With the grape harvest in South Africa about to begin I thought it was a good idea to ‘dive’ into my archive and re-process some harvest pictures of last year. Photo shooting at Springfontein Winery in Stanford, South Africa. Original RAW-images reprocessed with Topaz (Photoshop plug-in) in ‘opalotype’

Selection Springfontein Eats (drinks too): Eating Poems

Since a month or so there is a new restaurant in (or better: just outside) the village. Not one of 13 in a dozen but it’s one with the first Michelin Star rating in South Africa. Ain’t we lucky!

One can use many, many words in bragging about the food but I just quote one of our previous neighbors who just said: “I ate poems”.

Springfontein Eats is located at the estate of Springfontein Winery and to qualify their wines: “I drunk …..”. My personal favorites of this cellar are the Chenin Blanc and Petit Verdot (only a few estates in South Africa produce Petit Verdot which is an excellent digestive).

Anyway I was there this morning to show my wife the pictures I made and which (on 60×90 CM board) are hanging on the walls. For me the opportunity to make some extra pictures just to show you the ambiance in case you’re in the neighborhood one day…

The Ruins

Just wonder if Lady Ann Bernard stayed there in 1798.

For the outsiders: Lady ann Bernard was the traveling wife of the British governor. Thanks to her diary we know how people were living in the rural part of the colony.

The Ruins are part of the Springfontein Winery Estate here in Stanford.

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Modern ‘slavery’

They call it a ‘slave wall’ but I do not know the exact meaning. Is it a wall build by slaves or a wall to keep the slaves in? Or both?

A winery nearby, situated on an estate with the remains of century (centuries?) old buildings decided to do something about the entrance. Plenty of limestone rocks around and with the heritage in mind what better idea is there than build a ‘slave wall’?

Hard work for the own staff and a contractor but the end result is getting shape. In contrast with the days of old they now had  the assistance of machinery (digger loader) to transport the rocks but still manual work was needed to put the heavy rocks in the right place. The wall on the right side of the entrance is nicely in-line with with the natural rockery. On the other (village) side the winery should take out some of the blue gum trees for better visability from the road but that’s just a personal opinion. And who am I?

The own horticulturist already started to plant native water wise plants.

Hopefully Springfontein Winery also changes the sign; by the looks of it it’s open for wine tasting day and night….. When I came in there was nobody to see ….

 

P.S. the second picture (HDR-toning) is dedicated to the best Chef of Durban. Besides good (spicy) food Andrew Harvard likes to photograph dishes, people eating and some hot spots in and around Durban. And you can all follow this on his blog!

 

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Modern 'slavery'

They call it a ‘slave wall’ but I do not know the exact meaning. Is it a wall build by slaves or a wall to keep the slaves in? Or both?

A winery nearby, situated on an estate with the remains of century (centuries?) old buildings decided to do something about the entrance. Plenty of limestone rocks around and with the heritage in mind what better idea is there than build a ‘slave wall’?

Hard work for the own staff and a contractor but the end result is getting shape. In contrast with the days of old they now had  the assistance of machinery (digger loader) to transport the rocks but still manual work was needed to put the heavy rocks in the right place. The wall on the right side of the entrance is nicely in-line with with the natural rockery. On the other (village) side the winery should take out some of the blue gum trees for better visability from the road but that’s just a personal opinion. And who am I?

The own horticulturist already started to plant native water wise plants.

Hopefully Springfontein Winery also changes the sign; by the looks of it it’s open for wine tasting day and night….. When I came in there was nobody to see ….

 

P.S. the second picture (HDR-toning) is dedicated to the best Chef of Durban. Besides good (spicy) food Andrew Harvard likes to photograph dishes, people eating and some hot spots in and around Durban. And you can all follow this on his blog!

 

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The good wines

Yesterday I posted in the other blog the entrance of of the Sir Robert Stanford Estate. That had more likes than I expected….

Yes we have some great wines here in Stanford. Except for the one mentioned  there are wineries that create their own wines such as Vaalvlei, Brunia, Stanford Hills, Springfontein, Boschrivier and Raka. Main produce are wines of the South African grape varieties Chenin Blanc and Pinotage next to more common known ones as Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. And the farmers are investing for they see a prosperous future. Relatively many Platter stars are awarded to this area; in fact proportional more than to wineries in other wine producing areas within South Africa.

The pictures below were shot at Springfontein some time ago.

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Impression of a day in the vineyard

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!!!

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At last: Wine Tasting

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…

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After the harvest and tomorrow we taste

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.

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