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Plastered Harvest at Oldenburg

The sense of anticipation always builds going into the harvest, particularly after a near perfect growing season, such as this year’s.In mid February Simon Thompson decided to up the ante by breaking his ankle in a motorbike accident – a leg in plaster is a major inconvenience given the frenetic pace and complexity of the harvest.

Thankfully the growing season has been very kind, with a much cooler summer than normal. We also had no major wind issues, and we now rate this year to be an exceptional vintage.

The ripening process in the vineyard is far from linear as we look for particular sugar levels (amongst other things) before we harvest. This varies from cultivar to cultivar, with the daily temperatures having a major influence. It is a delicate and nerve-wracking balancing act, and at one point the sugars on the Chenin Blanc began to rise very quickly and the entire block reached its optimal level on a single day. Simon had nearly one hundred people harvesting on that day-as you can imagine quite a juggling act! Nonetheless by the end of March we had all our grapes in the cellar with no major hitches.

The April issue of Classic Wine, the South African wine magazine, has put Oldenburg Vineyards on the front cover, and also written a very complimentary four-page article on us. They also ran a competition of Cabernet Sauvignon’s, which we came in first place with a four and a half star rating (out of five stars), and the only wine to achieve that rating. The competition had broad representation and we placed ahead of a number of competitors who we regard highly (see Oldenburg Vineyards) The results of the South African Top 100 Wines have also just been released. Our Chenin Blanc 2011 and Cabernet Franc 2009 were both included in the Top 100 SA Wines. These are clearly encouraging results, the first ratings for our 2009 and 2011 vintages, and certainly achievements we are extremely proud of!

Our first season with our new cellar door went very well, and we received much positive feedback. Visitors came from all corners of the globe and it was certainly a pleasure to welcome and show them Oldenburg. We had a few visits from local and international journalists, including Michael Exner (Germany), Jamie Goode (UK), Vic Harradine (Canada), Neil Phillips (UK), and Christine Rudman (SA). We have finally received approval for our new road signs, trivial you may think, but sadly a bureaucratic nightmare for us with the local municipality. At least we will now be easier to find!

We attended Prowein in Germany in early March. The stand was very busy with much interest in us. The show led to the appointment of new distributors. We welcome World of Wine as our national distributor in Belgium. Stefaan Camerlink will remain our distributor in the Antwerp region. We met with Weinkontor Essmann, appointed by Weinkontor Pollmann, for the distribution of our wines in the northern part of Germany. We also appointed, Vinovativa from Sweden. Prowein also created the opportunity to meet up with our current importers such as, Wine Moves from Ontario, Canada, Avent Garde Wines from Quebec, Canada and Vayek Wines from Bulgaria.

Now that the harvest is behind us, our focus returns to the cellar and ensuring we capture this exceptionally good vintage in the bottle.