Durbanville Hills Newsletter - February 2013

Friday, 1 March, 2013
Durbanville Hills
Dear friend,
We are already fully immersed in the harvest and I’m anxiously planning the flow of the white grapes from bin to tank.
So much so, that I found myself including February 29 and 30 in my planning as well which is why you're only now receiving this month’s news. Why I was keen on gaining extra time is because in March the stream of white grapes is joined by a parallel stream of red grapes. That complicates the planning slightly when it comes to allocating presses, pipes and tanks. Kind of reminds me somewhat of the warmer Agulhas current joining the cold Benguela current to produce a great confluence. The slight difference is that these currents have the wide big ocean to flow in, while our red and white streams have to be funnelled through the narrow entrance of the same cellar.

Friends, Romans, countrymen… Why is February so short?
The Romans obviously felt no sympathy for future New World winemakers when they placed the shortest month of the year right at the start of our harvest – and as far away as possible from their own. I'm digressing now and I know you want to know more about the harvest but let me just say this: Our troubles as winemakers started as far back as the 7th century BC when Numa Pompilius, the second of Rome’s seven traditional kings, added January and February to the city's original lunar calendar. Even then February was shorter than the other months. Six centuries later, Julius Caesar made his own changes to the calendar, this time linked to the sun's journey through the heavens. Did he do anything to restore February to some kind of respectability? No, he didn't. He kept it to 28 days and we have been stuck with it ever since.

Maybe there is after all some truth in Obelix's oft-repeated litany: "These Romans are crazy!".