July – No rest for the wicked
Be careful what you wish for, and when is enough, enough? Sometimes it rains for 8 days straight and even though it is a blessing, it can sometimes create some havoc on the farm. Not only do we now see where the summer weather created some new leaks in the cellar roof, but localised flooding is not uncommon. Moving wine around becomes an exercise in patience and skill, that is if you are able to even get it off the farm.
Suppliers are warned to be patient when expecting payments since internet connectivity is a hit and miss in this weather. Luckily back-up generators are standard practice, so electricity is not a problem.
Water and irrigation are some of the biggest expenses on any farm so when nature decide to lend a hand and send it for free no-one is complaining – except maybe the wife when the water decides to enter the kitchen, and the scullery, and the garage…
On the farm
On sunny days the workers will go into the vineyards and continue the pruning since most of the autumn leaves have now fallen. On rainy days the indoor activities will get some attention. The colder weather also lends itself to long lunches with steaming soup and freshly baked bread.
And in other news
Sticker hunting season is open. Pinotage competition, Chenin competition, Vinis Vinifera, Woman in Wine, Gold awards, Platter etc. All these competitions have a few goals in mind – testing your wines against the market, bragging rights on Facebook and getting those round stickers on the bottles to make your product stand out on the shelves. Closing dates are fast approaching and timing becomes increasingly important. It’s also a balancing act, do you enter the newly bottled wines or stick to last the previous vintage? Do you have enough stock to justify the cost associated just to run out before the competition has even taken place? How many wines do you enter? Who are the judges and what are their preferences? It is not uncommon for a wine to get top accolades in one competition only to fail to even get a mention in the next.
Stickers sell, especially in a market that likes to try new things. A word of warning though, just like most wines stickers also have a shelf life. Just because it got awarded top honours 5 years ago it might not have stood the test of time. So check the dates and trust your own palate.