Grafting

This week we started grafting some shoots.

Grafting or graftage (just sounds like the kind of word that needs to be in italics) is a horticultural technique whereby tissues of plants are joined so as to continue their growth together. We have joined Chenin Blanc, Palomino and Ugni Blanc scions onto an old Red Globe root systems. These grapes will in future be used for brandy wine production…

Ugni Blanc? At first my phone corrected it to Agri Blanc – so I had to read up more.

And no surprise I hadn’t heard of the varietal also known as Trebbiano before; Wikipedia (that wonderful deep well of knowledge) lists synonyms for it as “Albano, Albana secco, Biancone, Blanc Auba, Blanc De Cadillac, Blancoun, Bobiano, Bonebeou, Branquinha, Brocanico, Bubbiano, Buriano, Buzzetto, Cadillac, Cadillate, Castelli, Castelli Romani, Castillone, Chator, Clairette D’Afrique, Clairette De Vence, Clairette Ronde, Engana Rapazes, Espadeiro branco, Falanchina, Greco, Gredelin, Hermitage White, Juni Blan, Lugana, Malvasia Fina, Muscadet Aigre, Padeiro branco, Perugino, Procanico, Procanico Dell Isola D Elba, Procanico Portoferraio, Queue De Renard, Romani, Rossan De Nice, Rossetto, Rossola, Rossula, Roussan, Roussea, Rusciola, Saint Emilion, Saint Emilion Des Charentes, Santoro, Shiraz White, Spoletino, Talia, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Trebbiano Della Fiamma, Trebbiano Di Cesene, Trebbiano Di Empoli, Trebbiano Di Lucca, Trebbiano Di Tortona, Trebbiano Fiorentino, Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbianone, Tribbiano, Tribbiano Forte, Turbiano, Ugni blanc, Bouan, Beau, Thalia, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Romagnolo, Trebbiano Gallo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Trebbiano shares at least three synonyms with the Spanish wine grape Viura including Queue de Renard, Rossan, Ugni blanc and the similarly spelled Gredelín/Gredelin.”

Yup! In short – it is an Italian wine grape, one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world. It gives good yields, but tends to yield undistinguished wine. Its high acidity makes it important in Cognac productions. En van daar die brannewyn planne.

And so, hopefully, you learn something new every day! Stay tuned for more informative updates, we’re excited to watch this develop.

#convivium2018

It has been a very hot, dry and BUSY start to the year on Kalmoesfontein.

Not only has the usual chaos of harvest ensued, but we’ve been hacking at agave, cooking piña and making mezcal while setting up and hosting Convivium 2018.

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What an honour to once again be the venue for this fantastic event. A celebration of conscious people making a real difference in the food and drinks industry in South Africa.

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From top chefs to wheat farmers, barmen and baristas, Convivium is at the forefront of a new (and important) movement in food.

Elle Deco did a nice review after the event (read it here) and there are SO MANY pretty pictures on Instagram (check out #convivium2018 or @conviviumtable) that we hardly need to say anything.

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We would just like to thank Andy Fenner and Wesley Randles (and the Studio_H team) for still entrusting us with hosting this inspirational event and for pushing us into the dry riverbeds and old farm cottages and beyond.

We hope you enjoyed the hot Swartland summer sun as much as we revelled in having you here.

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Convivium is coming (back).

If you haven’t heard (then you don’t pay enough attention to our social media pages)

Convivium will be back for a third instalment on Kalmoesfontein early next year. This popular food event, the brain child of Andy Fenner (of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants) and Wesley Randles (The Shortmarket Club) was first hosted on the farm in 2015.

This morning I took Wes and Louis (Project Manager from Studio_H) on a site visit to scout out a few locations. Exciting things are coming!

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For more info, read this article on EatOut.

For tickets, head over to Quicket.

Hope to see you here in the heat of Feb…

And we’re off!

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After a few weeks of quiet cellar preparations the first grapes have arrived.

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And the winner is:

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Two tons of Palomino came in from the Sout van die Aarde (Afrikaans, meaning Salt of the Earth) vineyard on the West Coast this morning!

I was too late and the boys in the cellar too busy (sticky fingers) to get a picture but I have been assured that the grapes are looking beautiful!

Meanwhile, the vintage might change but the rules stay the same:

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While The Guardian proclaimed Grenache the toughest grape in the world and Forbes put the Swartland on their list of the top 12 underrated wine regions to visit in 2017.

We happen to have the oldest Grenache in the Swartland on Kalmoesfontein, so be sure to (make an appointment to!!) come visit us soon (and by soon I mean AFTER the harvest.)

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Here’s to a five-star 2017!

February on the farm

Exciting times:

Our friends Jon came to take areal shots of the farm with is drone – that’s my home!

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99% of the grapes are in for harvest 2016.

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We hosted the International Food and Wine Society for a “mini revolution” complete with Adi, Andrea, Callie and Eben, Where is Callie placemats, a harvest buffet by Judy Badenhorst and an informal SIP tasting. IMG_0183IMG_0192IMG_0196

Caperitif also received some great publicity – keep an eye on its website for more!

New family members

Die Kaapse Dief en die Swaan.
Two products we lovingly nurtured since early 2014.

Today we finally have pack shots for them, and well, they do not only taste great, they are quite pretty too!

For more information on these exciting products, click here.

For orders and deliveries (in Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban) mail Sam at wineadmin dot co dot za…

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And the winner is…

On Sunday we hosted Convivium2015 on Kalmoesfontein. Before the event I reported the manifesto of what Andy Fenner and Wesley Randles, in conjunction with Badenhorst Family Wines, numerous (famous) chefs and local winemakers wanted to achieve, and by golly did we all feel like over-achievers by Sunday night…

I think it is safe to say the event was a roaring success and that only bigger and better things can come from this. If Sunday was the pilot, we are all in for a few Emmys in the future.

If the aim was indeed to, as Andy said “strip out the frills and unnecessary bullshit that sterile cooking environments can lead to, provide a stage for real collaboration, real inspiration and real connection.” and as Wes added “we want to create a feeling of camaraderie amongst local chefs. This is a stage to share ideas and to share the common love of our craft.” then the mission was completed on Sunday.

Real passion, real collaboration, real good results. Enough said.

Pictures by Hein van Tonder.

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Convivium – innovation in food!

We are proud to be hosting this event on our farm next weekend!

The 1st of February sees the inaugural Convivium festival being hosted in South Africa. Drawing on inspiration from MAD Symposium, Cook It Raw, Terra Madre etc. The event is conceptualized by Wesley Randles (head chef at The Pot Luck Club) and Andy Fenner (owner of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants), the event aims to showcase food, chefs and producers in the most primal way possible.

“The way to do this is to close the gap between the end product (a meal) and the starting point (the earth and the animal),” explains Fenner. Together with Randles, the pair have hooked in some of the most celebrated chefs in the country. Luke Dale-Roberts, PJ Vadas, Markus Farbinger, Liam Tomlin and George Jardine are some of the high profile names you can expect to see cooking on the day. But the entire experience is about more than a good meal. Fenner explains that “by stripping out the frills and unnecessary bullshit that sterile cooking environments can lead to, this is a stage for real collaboration, real inspiration and real connection.” Randles adds “we want to create a feeling of camaraderie amongst local chefs. This is a stage to share ideas and to share the common love of our craft.”

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The main theme of the event is to shine light on producers and to get attendees interacting with each other and the participating chefs. The chosen chefs have been curated because of strong, clearly identifiable food philosophies. Being a good chef is not what this day is about. Well…it’s not only what this day is about. This day is about a movement. It is about getting back in touch with what cooking actually means. Common problems and concurs of the industry will be addressed in discussions throughout the day. Along with the participating chefs and producers, Fenner and Randles want to explore various topics in the form of informal interactions. Topics include:

Sustainability

What are we doing to the earth and ourselves? We cannot continue to over-consume the way we are. Serious issues need to be looked at like nutrition, overfishing, battery farming etc. but there is also a creative energy that comes from being outside, in touch with nature and ingredients. Experts need to champion sustainable local ingredients, with a big focus on edible plants and herbs. Wastage and over consumption can be addressed too.

Heritage

Continuing the idea of exploring fynbos and herbs, we need to explore various techniques on how to best utilise them. By looking backwards we can look forwards and develop as chefs and producers. There are various ingredients, meat prep techniques and cuts that have been forgotten that need to be re-introduced. We need to celebrate South African produce and culture by drawing a clear line in the sand of how we want to prepare food. And how we want to serve and eat it.

Collaboration

There are no airs and graces at Convivium. This is a day for chefs to share knowledge, as much as they share food. And wine. Kitchens have a way of becoming isolated environments, working as closed entities. But we need to look around. We need to feed off each other’s ideas sometimes. Chefs who say they aren’t bothered with what other chefs are cooking are a dying breed. There is nothing wrong with learning from one another and taking ideas TO MAKE THEM YOUR OWN. Inspiration is everywhere if you know where to look – this day just makes it that much easier to see.

Celebration

Let’s not overlook this. The day promises to be a whole lot of fun. This is a time to open a great bottle of wine and raise a glass to each other. This day builds the community by bringing farmers, butchers, fishermen, chefs, winemakers, brewers and bakers together. This can be a brutal industry, but we have all chosen it. And we have all done that because we love it. Let’s recognise each other’s efforts. By first recognising each other.

The day’s events include:

8.00:    Pick up from Franky Fenner Meat Merchants, Church Street, Cape Town

9.15:    Arrival at Badenhorst Family Wines, Kalmoesfontein

9.30:    Meet & Greet

Coffee & pastries from Jasons, Espresso Lab and Rosetta

Cured meats from Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants

10.30:  Jorgensen’s Distillery gin tasting

Caperitif tasting

12.00:  Spending time interacting with chefs and producers while they prepare for the banquette

14.00:  Chefs, producers & guests sit down together to enjoy the feast – with Swartland wines!

17.30:  Pick up from Kalmoesfontein

18.45:  Return to Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants

Chefs Involved:

Luke Dale-Roberts, George Jardine, Franck Dangereux, Liam Tomlin. These chefs will oversee a lot of the cooking and will cook dishes to compliment pre-planned courses. These are dishes created off the cuff, and will be done by arriving and drawing inspiration from the “pantry”. Tables of herbs, baskets of fruit, Adi’s vegetable garden, a side of pork, a whole forequarter, sausage casings and grinders, fresh oysters, edible plants etc. to be displayed for chefs to make use of.

Vanessa Marx & Kobus Van Der Merwe. Team one.

Markus Farbinger, Liezie Mulder & PJ Vadas. Team two.

Jason Lilley & Ivor Jones. Team 3.

Producers Involved:

Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants

Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella

Honest Chocolate

Rosetta Roastery

Jorgensen’s Distillery

Badenhorst Wines

Swartland Independent Wine Producers

Werner Karg (farmer at Oak Valley)

Espresso Lab

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The day, including transport (optional), food and drinks is R1500 per head

Please RSVP and send proof of payment to wesley@thepotluckclub.co.za by Wednesday the 21st of January in order to secure your place. There are only 7 seats still available.

Die oes skop af

The second week of January had just kicked off, most of us had barely unpacked our holiday bags and the first Syrah grapes were ready to be picked. No easing into this year, it is all systems go and harvest 2015 is here.

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on Monday the heat (and drought, hardly any rain since September) got too much, even for a die hard no-irrigation-prophet like Adi, and all the farm’s water got redirected to the vineyard. Meanwhile the temperatures rise and the pool is empty. Priorities.. 10393849_882913958409894_7596585208665548182_n

On Tuesday Samuel, Ana and their cousins Richard, Hardy and Jan Hendrik (from Stellenbosch!) stomped the first Syrah.

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That concludes our first harvest update for 2015. Now for some featured fun.

Adi’s mom’s 70th, hosted on Kalmoesfontein late last year, is in the February issue of House and Garden Gourmet

IMG_4469while the 2014 Swartland Revolution occupies 8 pages in the Food and Home from the same month. Included amongst the feedback on the weekend, recipes of some of the delicious food and mentions of the world class wines, THREE CAPERITIF COCKTAILS!

Now we just need the go ahead to get the stuff moving…

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