Durbanville Hills News - August 2013

Friday, 30 August, 2013
Durbanville Hills Cellar
August is the month when we normally finish pruning just as winter starts to leave our shores and the days start to get warmer.
Before I left on a week-long visit to Auckland, New Zealand, I thought the farmers were over-eager already cutting away excess growth as a precursor to a second visit during which the select shoots are cut to the desired length.
However, on my return I found fruit trees in full blossom and some un-pruned Chardonnay vines already budding on the ends - we call these “flags” for obvious reasons. The warm spell did not last long and my hope that spring had truly arrived was soon doused by torrential rains in the weeks that followed... 
Wine… another medical breakthrough

It’s been known for a while that the alcohol as well as some of the anti-oxidants present in wine may help to prevent heart disease by increasing the so-called good cholesterol and protecting against damage to arteries. We learned some years ago that the skins of red grapes contain 3,5,4'-trihydroxy-trans-stilbene (OK, let’s just call it resveratrol) which ends up in the wine through its contact with the skins. It was found in experiments involving rats and mice that resveratrol helps protect against cancer, diabetes and inflammation. Reason enough to fill the glass, I’d say!

Now some clever guys in white jackets at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus have provided us further reason to drink red wine...

It’s all in the mind

I’m often confronted by “wine experts” making statements based on what they claim they read somewhere or heard somewhere. At a wine show recently a visitor was most derogatory about the fact that some of our red wines for export had screw caps instead of corks “which are so much more beneficial for the wine”. However, on offering our critic a comparative tasting he backed off saying he didn't drink red wine!

Marketers have been trying to understand for years what makes consumers pick a particular wine off the shelf and whether...

What’s up in the cellar?

Preparing wines for bottling takes up most of our time as we stock up for the end-of-year rush. The 2013 Sauvignon blanc and Merlot Rosé have already received much positive feedback from the market. More bottles of these blends will soon be finding their way to the shelves, while the first bottling of 2013 Durbanville Hills Chardonnay will soon follow suit. Keep an eye out for this one for I believe 2013 will be remembered as a Chardonnay vintage of note...

It’s a jungle out there

My recent visit to the Kruger National Park seemingly put the animals around the cellar at their ease. Our resident Cape eagle owl is back on her spot in the wild fig tree behind the cellar but will only start nesting in November. Among our regular visitors are small antelopes, black weasels, porcupines, guinea fowl, various other bird species and a snake now and then. This week we were first surprised by the appearance of a wild peacock and then by a caracal who scared the wits out of one of our security guards. Another rare visitor was a huge secretary bird, a member of the eagle family, spotted striding along close to the road on a neighbouring farm.
There’s never a dull moment here at the cellar so come for a game walk!...

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