It’s been a long week so far, travelling almost 800 kilometers through the Breedekloof (Rawsonville region) all the way to Skurfkop (Or Skurfberg as some might call it) between Clanwilliam and Lambertsbay in the West Coast.
It was a hunt. For dragons. Old vines of mystical tales and wonder. Would we find some? Would we too be so fortunate to set foot in these fabled vineyards?
Together with my partner in crime, Mr Morgenthal, we set out early Monday morning towards Rawsonville to meet with marketers, a production manager and a viticulturist. Our meeting would revolve around old vineyards – how they could not only help save these vines, but also keep them sustainable and produce stunning wines – much like the old vines in South Africa has shown us again and again. After a brief chat (not a lot of chatting needed when everyone in the room has the same objective..) we where off to two vineyards. One block of Clairette blanche planted in 1977 and a block of Muscat d’Alexandrie planted in 1900 and 1910.
The Clairette block, 1.09 hectares, is the last of the old Clairettes still left in the Breedekloof. It is on a marginal sandy soil, and in desperate need of attention. It is not yet on its last breath, but one part might be. News of this block is spreading, and I believe soon it will be healthy and cared for again. The sustainability of these kind of projects is not only financially, although it is the driving factor, but also one of production. The vines per hectare need to be kept at an optimal, and interplanting, like in the rest of the world, is of utmost importance.
This will therefore not only be a winemaking project, but a viticultural one too, like most of the old vineyards are. Caring for these vines are like working in an old age home Rosa Kruger always say. They need tender care. They have been here for ages, and we need to respect them when working with them.
Next up was the Muscat d’Alexandrie, or Hanepoot like we call it. Two parts exist in the block, planted in 1900 and 1910, making these vines 116 and 106 years old… And guess what! You can buy and drink this wine! An example of what we would like to achieve with every unique old vineyard. A success story and a piece of cape heritage, thanks to Daschbosch Wines.
Our next stop would be Clanwilliam, where we would spend the night, get some medical and spiritual advice, drink a stunning Old Vine Cinsaut from Darling Cellars and meet the guys from the mountains around Skurfkop, looking after the dragons…