You know summer is coming in the Cape when the South Easter starts blowing. This iconic summer wind is a convection wind, caused by the differential temperatures on the sea and the land, and the ability of the ground to heat more quickly. When you add the Cape mountains to this mix, the South Easter becomes entirely different, and much more complex. And it necessitates extreme viticulture for effective management.
This month, I took a trip around the farm to peek at the varying viticultural practices we employ to optimise these conditions. As part of a new fitness training program, Vanessa and I have been walking in the mountain valleys surrounding us. In the past few days, we have walked in Jonkershoek (a must-visit nature reserve – outstandingly beautiful) in the parallel valley to where Oldenburg is situated. It is interesting to note that several times we have found ourselves leaning into a strong southeaster as a headwind, only to return to Oldenburg to find it completely calm. The opposite is also often true: wind on the farm, and dead calm elsewhere. I often find that experiences like this show just how idiosyncratic specific sites are, and how they require finely tuned practices as they form the foundation of wine diversity in the Cape.
In September, Nic met with Anne Krebiehl, MW and Editor of Falstaff Magazine. Her depiction of Rondekop as Stellenbosch’s Magic Mountain ties in with what Nic, Christo, and I believe is the core focus of what we are doing: unravelling the mysteries inherent in the vineyards, and constantly working with nature to achieve the best from our site. You can read her article here, and if you are interested in scores, click here to see some excellent results for the soon-to-be-released Rondekop 2020 wines.
In early October, Stefan, Siwe and George competed in Best Young Sommelier of South Africa semi-finals and finals, with George and Stefan achieving 2nd and 3rd place overall. It was great that we had such good representation – and even better to claim two of the three places in the finals! Bravo to all three. Like all overnight success – it has been many hours of determined and committed hard work in the making.
In November, Vanessa and I will conduct a masterclass at 67 Pall Mall in Singapore and launch our wines at a wine pairing dinner at Como at Dempsey with our new agent, Vinum. Having lived in Singapore in the 90s, it is always a pleasure to return to one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities globally.
From the foot of the Magic Mountain on a warm, sunny and still day, where the trees and vines are bathing in the warmth and radiating the bright lime-green leaves of the mid-spring growing season – Magic indeed!