February is, without a doubt, the most exciting month on the farm. It is harvest time in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the nexus between the past and the future. The history: everything that has happened in the vineyards to produce the best grapes. The future: for the wines that will wait patiently for their time to be tasted.
I am writing this on the 20th of February, which is also my mother’s birthday. She will be celebrating in Sydney – where she lives – having an Indian meal extravaganza cooked by her granddaughter, Nina. With it, she’ll be enjoying an Oldenburg Syrah 2015, as our Syrah likes a little spice.
We are excited about the 2021 harvest. The year has brought us perfect conditions – a cool and moderately wet Spring, followed by a dry summer, with just a few heat spikes. January and February have brought cool evenings after the warm days, creating relatively wide diurnal temperature differences. Just perfect! The cooler nights have necessitated patience, though, as these conditions cause slow ripening. Elsewhere in Stellenbosch, other farms are finishing harvesting their white grapes, and moving to their reds. Our harvest eventually started on Tuesday the 23rd of February – just a day after our son Josh’s 20th birthday.
On the 22nd February 2007, we had our first ever harvest day, and that wine became known as “Joshua”. It is a Syrah, and we still have a few bottles in the cellar. We will open one on the 22nd to celebrate, and we have sent one to New York, where he is working, for him to do the same. It’s amazing how, with one shared bottle, we will all be transported back fourteen years, to a time when we knew so little but forged ahead nonetheless. To me, it seems both years ago, and just yesterday.
And that is the thing about wine. It is unique. It can transport us across time in one dimension, and at the same time to another place. It is a time capsule – a snapshot of a time before, another place – sometimes far away. I believe it is always great to have that moment when one takes the first sip!
In March, we are releasing our new vintages. We are excited to share with you the 2020 white wines (Oldenburg Vineyards Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Viognier) as well as the 2018 red wines (Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon). It is always great to be moving from one vintage to the next – the wines have their characteristic ‘golden thread’ that is Oldenburg, combined with their particular signature that is the vintage. We take much pride in introducing them to you.
On the subject of pride – I would like to share some feedback from a group who recently visited the Tasting Room and sent us their reaction:
“…how you navigated the tough lockdown periods. The investment you have made into your staff, Amos being the example, has truly shown and as he spoke about his studies, his time in the cellar, and his love for the wine industry as a whole, in ways that made our whole group take notice. You are an example to the wine industry, and I wish you all the success that will continue to follow. Few wineries deserve it as much as you.”
From a cool but sunny farm in the Banghoek Valley, near Stellenbosch in the beautiful Cape – a tiny slither of the African continent, we will be translating the bounties of nature into time capsules – to be sent all over this planet – to be tasted in time! Next time you take your first sip – think on that!