In September 2019 I posted a few updated pics about this vineyard. It has now gone through its first growing season, and we are very excited to get the first grapes in a year or two!
I haven’t really written about this vineyard in detail, so I thought now would be the time.
It started out one rainy day in May, 2018. It was a year after we planted a vineyard garden for The Blacksmith Wines, a field blend of Cinsaut, Grenache noir, Carignan and a few Alicante Bouschet vines. I was looking for a new project, and the farmer, André du Toit, who is a keen wine enthusiast and great wine grape farmer, is always open to my silly ideas. I suggested a piece of land, but this was too wet, so we checked out another site and it seemed perfect!
I did a GIS terrain analysis and figured out more or less what I would like to plant there. The next step was to clear the land, which was full of alien vegetation, reeds and quite frankly looked super wet too… It was the start of the rainy season, so we had to move.
At first André wanted to burn all the alien trees and bushes, but in my experience that always leaves spots in the new vineyard. We didn’t have a dedicated place to burn, so our only other option was to bury it… The task at hand seemed quite simple, but after two weeks we realized this was a bigger task than we could have imagined!
Upon digging the holes, we saw a lot of ground water. We assumed it was the dam leaking (confirmed this season and fixed), but just to be safe we installed underground drainage. During the 2019 winter it worked like a bomb!
After we cleared the land we got a soil scientist in to help with the survey and soil analysis. He recommend we don’t plant here and that we are crazy to even attempt this… Not to worry, I like a good challenge.
Drainage was in, cover crops was in. Time for winter.
Last winter (2019) we planted the vines. The soil preparation was done, ameliorants corrected, compost put in. Time to get some vines in.
The block is split into two sides, one that faces North-East/East (red field blend of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache noir, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Mourvedre, all for The Blacksmith Wines) and one that faces South-South-West (white field blend of Verdelho, Semillon, Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne, Gewürztraminer, Clairette blanche and Grenache blanc, all for BLANKbottle Winery) Planting went well and the vines were ready for the 2019/2020 season. The white field blend side grew very well. The red field blend has sections where the vines don’t seem that happy. That is mainly due to the mother rock (Granite) being very shallow (60cm at some places). We have basically planted this vineyard on the foot of the Paardeberg mountain granite.
So this week the new cover crops will go in. In 3 months time we will prune, and come September we will start the new season. I cannot wait for these vines to be fully developed!