Winter bottling, brrrrr.

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.

Syrah capsules


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.

Shovelling the Sauvignon Blanc grapes out of tank and into the press




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.

I like to call it the “Almost disaster”




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.



The team of girls that made the day go like clockwork

Once the wine is in the bottle the capsules go on and the goodness gets sealed in, YUM!

Wise hands carefully handling the bottled wine.




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.

Me, just keeping an eye on everything, especially the wine.

Riana van der Merwe, Winemaker

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