Durbanvilel Hills News - Are we there yet? - March 2013 Newsletter

Friday, 22 March, 2013
Durbanville Hills Cellar
One of the first things I do on buying a diary for the new year is to check on which days the next Easter weekend falls, always in the hope that we shall be able to finish the harvest on time so we can all get away for a relaxing break.
No such luck. I can’t remember when last we were able to crush the last grapes before the start of the long weekend. This year will be no exception for among these cool hills of ours we start picking two weeks later than in most other areas. We have become used to the disappointment and accept while others can get away, we'll be doing regular checks on fermenting tanks, racking the odd wine and making sure everything is running smoothly.

Over the years your ears become attuned to the sounds of the cellar. You recognise the noises made by the fans of the heat exchangers, by the cooling compressors and the air compressor; you hear the cold water circulating in the cooling jackets and gurgling in the pipes. They all combine in a gentle cacophony of sound signifying that everything is running as it should. On stopping at the cellar for a routine check at night or over the weekend, you immediately know if one of the instruments in the “orchestra” had gone quiet or, more alarmingly, if a new one had joined in. A silent instrument might take up the “music” again on flipping a tripped switch, but a new one that has joined in, from a burst pipe to bearings that have lost their way, mostly require the maintenance cavalry to be called in.

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