Harvest 2018: The Trade Roll Up Their Sleeves At Bouchard Finlayson


Pump-overs, punch-downs, rackings, fermentation monitoring, digging out grape skins from a stainless steel tank. Every-day activities for winemakers, but somewhat of a mystery for those who drink and sell the fruit of the vine!

Bouchard Finlayson recently played host to members of the Johannesburg and Cape Town wine and restaurant trade who had the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and take part in Harvest 2018. Joining Estate & Vineyard Manager Mortimer Lee and his team in the vineyards, the day started with picking beautiful plump Sauvignon Blanc grapes which made their way to the cellar where winemaker Chris Albrecht and his production team were ready to start the process of crafting the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley winery’s biggest selling wine. This year it was an excellent, and very healthy crop and no less than 70 tonnes of Sauvignon blanc was picked.

In the cellar the guests had the opportunity to really get their hands dirty as they enthusiastically joined in the process of punch down, wine sorting and pump over. After sitting down with the harvest team to a well-deserved lunch in the fermentation cellar, it was time to end a busy day with a traditional barrel rolling contest that was won by Chris Milne from Milne Wines. This was followed by a wine quiz and a ‘spittoon aiming’ contest, where the contestants discarded their wine after tasting, into a large spittoon. The latter two activities were both won by Wikus Human, Head Sommelier from Marble Restaurant, winner of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) inaugural Best Young Sommelier competition, that was held in association with Moët & Chandon.

A few days later, Dane Raath of Raath Promotions and a trade group from Cape Town had their turn when they enjoyed a visit to the uniquely located Kaaimansgat vineyard site in the Elandskloof Valley behind Villiersdorp, to collect Chardonnay grape samples before they moved on to Bouchard Finlayson for harvesting and winemaking.