Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Vineyard Hotel & Spa's annual pruning event, in the Vineyard Hotel’s vineyards on the banks of the Liesbeek

As "esteemed friends" of the Vineyard Hotel & Spa, we were invited to the Vineyard's annual pruning event, taking place in the Vineyard Hotel’s own vineyards on the banks of the Liesbeek River on Saturday, 11th of August.
Saturdays are very important working days for us, and Lynne was kind enough to let John join the pruning party while she manned our stand at the Neighbourgoods Market. We were welcomed with glasses of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel and delicious canapés.
The steeply terraced vineyard of 40 Semillon and 60 Sauvignon Blanc vines on the banks of the Liesbeek River is sponsored by Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Simonsig, Warwick and Waterford wine estates. After all the rain, the river was flowing strongly.
The vineyard was planted four years ago. Youth and too much shade from the surrounding trees have not helped the vineyard to produce the desired quality, but the participating winemakers can be expected to contribute their skills for the first vintage next year. One of the biggest trees fell into the river in last week’s storm, which will help.
We were all given blue plastic ponchos to shield us from the rain, and we took advantage of a lull in the downpour to take the secateurs and start cutting.
Roy Davies, the Vineyard's GM welcomed us 
and Simonsig Estate’s viticulturist Francois Malan gave a short demo and explained the art of pruning.
Ginette de Fleuriot, Vina Ballerina

The Square's F&B Duty Manager David Wibberley with some strange looking bubbly
Tweeters: artist Luan Nel
and Matt Dietchmann, The Vineyard Hotel's Food & Beverage Manager
Wine writer Neil Pendock, with secateurs at the ready
Visitors Johan & Wendy Dreyer from Port Elizabeth, who bought a Bid or Buy charity package to be there.
Norma Ratcliffe, the esteemed mistress of Warwick Estate

Wendy Masters, Mrs Petousis and Sheila Banner
Wine and food writer and judge, Greg Landman
GM Roy Davies, getting on with the task
Pruning in full swing, while it lasted
Before all the vines could be pruned, the heavy rain started again and Francois said we should stop. Pruning in the rain can lead to a syndrome winemakers call tandpyn (toothache). He told us that it destroyed the Wellington apricot orchards in the sixties.
So we all rushed back through the gardens, at the foot of Table Mountain, for a celebratory lunch in The Square, hosted by Roy Davies. 
How many other cities are this beautiful?
 Samm and his colleagues brought us more delicious canapés before lunch
Lunch was served with wines from the participating farms

in the upper section of The Square

and introduced by our host, Roy Davies
Starter: Grilled Norwegian salmon with potato vinaigrette, radish and mange tout salad, dill aioli
Main Course: Roasted fillet of chalmar beef with caramelised onion potato cake, balsamic field mushrooms, butternut, veal jus and homemade béarnaise sauce
Cheese Board: A selection of local cheese with savoury biscuits and homemade chutney
 Photographs © John Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2012

1 comment:

GARDEN GAL said...

In my opinion The Vineyard Hotel gardens are the most beautiful in Cape Town, and a few years ago - before the vineyard came into its own - I had the great privilege to work for Chris van Zyl as an intern. And John, your pictures are lovely, as always.
Loraine Kopman-Abel