July 5th 2012 started out much the same way any winters day in South Africa would, cold and dark. The weather however was not enough to keep me in bed, because we had some wines to bottle; namely the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and Un-oaked Chardonnay and 2011 Syrah. I jumped out of bed, ready for the day, the final step, from picking the grapes to pressing and waiting for them to age in either barrel or tank until they were perfect.
The Syrah was picked last year, 2011, in March, during a heat wave, and made the familiar trip to the cellar, where it was crushed and pumped to the tank for fermentation. The 2011 was our second year of making Syrah, the vines were a year older and gave me more structure and balance in the wine. The grapes were pressed and barrelled down to spend the next 13 months in aged French oak.
February 2012 saw the harvest of the Sauvignon Blanc and Unoaked Chardonnay. The first wine Seven Springs made was a Sauvvy and so it holds a special place for me. So after VERY carefully picking grapes of only the best quality, the fruit was transported to the cellar. The Sauvvy was pressed and left to ferment in stainless steel tanks but the Un-Oaked Chardonnay had a much more difficult time leaving the vineyards . Once loaded on the truck it shifted precariously when we tried to drive out of the vineyard and we had to repack everything in the scorching sun.
Thankfully Chardonnay can take a bit more of a beating than Sauvvy and it finally made it to the cellar to enjoy the same love and attention as the Sauvvy, fermenting at cool temperatures and left to age on the lees for 4 months.
Well after all that, you can see why I breathed such a sigh of relief when my babies where finally making it into the bottle where they are safe. On the day of bottling the air was cold and crisp and thankfully clear with no rain. Perfect! A team of great girls came to help with the bottling and they worked with the bottled wine with such respect, I had nothing to worry about.
25,000 bottles and 12 hours later we were tired, but more importantly, we were done and off for a well deserved dinner and a good nights’ sleep.
Riana van der Merwe, Winemaker