Durbanville Hills Newsletter - April 2013

Friday, 26 April, 2013
Durbanville Hills
Early-morning visits to the vineyards during harvest time make you very much aware of the subtle changes taking place around you as the weeks advance.
Suddenly you notice it is becoming light a little later, and almost without thinking you start putting on something warm against the morning chill. And let me tell you, I have more than enough opportunities to observe these changes as picking in our area covers almost a whole season - from the end of January to the middle of April as was again the case this year. 

We have all been taught that the year consists of four seasons each spanning three months, but Nature has her own way of doing things and cares very little about what has been drilled into us at school. Seasons also change from area to area. Here in the Cape, in my book at least, summer is from November to March. Then follows autumn-in-a-hurry in April and May; in a hurry for winter is breathing icily down its neck. Already we have had the first two cold spells signalling that this year winter is already waiting in the wings although I have pencilled it in to arrive only in June. Then the vines will be put to rest and stay until August. By my calculation, that leaves just September and October for spring, before the cycle starts again. This uneven distribution of seasons gives us a wonderfully long ripening period up here in the hills which is magic for flavour development in the new crop. 

It ain’t over till the fat lady sings… 

There are quite a few explanations for this saying, but I particularly like the version where towards the end of the opera, the older of two brothers stops the younger from applauding prematurely saying: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” (By the way, it is generally accepted this refers to the end of Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung where the usually rotund heroine, Brünhilde, carries on for 20 minutes before giving up the ghost so it's quite easy to understand the young man’s impatience!)