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A tipoff from a good winemaking friend JD Rossouw made me jump in my bakkie, drive to the Theewaterskloof dam in Villiersdorp and search for ghost vines…

The tipoff was an image posted on, taken by Philippa Jones, of old vineyards that was submerged for decades, feeling the direct sunlight on them once again due to the receding water level of the dam, caused by the  worst drought in 100 years.

So being an oldvine protector and hunter, I was compelled to go see for myself.

Dam levels in the Western Cape has dropped to extremely low levels, revealing weird and wonderful treasures.

I found out that these vines were once part of Zeekoekraal, a farm in Villiersdorp, before the dam size was increased. I will try to find out what variety this was – just for interest sake.

It was an eerie feeling walking through these old forgotten vines. It was a feeling of neglect. It was a sad feeling. Maybe I’m just too much into viticulture, I don’t know, but I felt sorry for these vineyards. They drowned so that we could have water to live. They were sacrificed, and now – just for a short time – the sun shines upon them once more.

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